It’s been a toasty week in Ottawa, which means I’ve been spending many evenings in our backyard patio.
On Wednesday, I found myself sitting on our loungers, whipping together a new page for my website. My clarity comes from putting words on paper (a common trait for any overthinker’s mind) and since I’ve been wanting to refresh my project management services, it became important to put all my ideas and plans into writing. It was only when the darkness set around me that I noticed I had spent the past three hours in what I can only describe as a trance—fully immersed in writing, designing, and building a new webpage. A stealthy operation of getting in, getting shit done, and getting out with a finished product.
It’s similar to how I write these newsletters. Others might drop ideas onto paper and slowly refine, refine, refine. But me? I have ideas swirling in my head all week, but the moment I sit down, they pour out of me as fully formed thoughts and a fully formed newsletter. It’s a double edged sword though, because that’s where my nervousness comes from each Friday morning. What if I sit down and nothing pours out? Then I’m left with an empty page, the curser blinking at me in bored anticipation.
It’s a trust exercise with myself—with my creativity—that when I open a blank page it will be filled by the time I stand up next. Which is why, I know, I must have a strong routine for it. I don’t make demands on my creativity willy-nilly. Even I would hate that. Can you image someone asking you to drop everything and come perform a task for them? Absolutely not my cup of tea. I don’t take last minute demands in my career and I would never dream to impose last minute demands on my creativity, either.
And so, we have an unwritten agreement. Early in the morning, often around 7am, I’ll make a cup of earl grey tea, I’ll light my diffuser, I’ll journal a bit in my online diary, I’ll scroll through the Notes app on my phone (stored with ideas I’ve jotted down over the past week or month) and only at this point do I start to gently invite my creativity to join me.
We’ll simmer on a few topics, see which ones make us flutter with excitement, and then we’ll open the newsletter platform, write the title of the newsletter, and then? I let my creativity take the wheel. She is a fierce lady this creativity of mine. She comes in and performs like the disciplined professional that she is. And when we’re done? When Friday afternoon hits and we press “Send” on the newsletter? She goes back to wherever she normally dwells… which I can only assume is sunbathing in a fabulous resort in Saint-Tropez.
Do you have a moment in the week where you dance with your creativity?
Far away from the responsibilities and obligations of whatever identity you are carrying right now—mother, husband, employee, caretaker, business owner.
Maybe creativity is a friend you’ve lost touch with over the years. Don’t worry, she’ll be happy you called on her! Just don’t fit her into the cracks of your day, an afterthought for when you find time. Schedule a date with her, put on her favourite music or make a cup of her favourite tea. Romance her like you would want to be romanced yourself.
And who knows? You might even fall deeply head-over-heels in love with your own life in the process.
If that feels selfish, don’t worry. It’s not you, it’s the conditioning of our world that moves us away from passion, away from creativity.
The school system we were all raised in? It wasn’t invented to spread enlightenment. It was created to dumb down a population into compliant factory workers, so that “people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand“.
The General Education Board, conceptualized in 1913, states, “We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, editors, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply… The task we set before ourselves is very simple as well as a very beautiful one, to train these people, as we find them, to a perfectly ideal life just where they are…”
In Rockefeller’s own words, “I don’t want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers.”
Doesn’t that rattle your little rebellious heart?
It makes me want to indulge in my creativity more. To philosophize about life’s meaning more. To embrace my inner artist more.
To untrain my mind from believing that productivity and output are all that matter. To start sitting in boredom and empty quietness, so the dust can settle and make space for my creativity to timidly come out.
Let’s be the ones who condition future generations to move towards passion, towards creativity. Taught by example.
It’s why I’m on a life-long journey to be proudly ambitious and multi-passionate. I’m so grateful to have you here with me.