Without walking boots and a period of time dedicated to this one achievement with the rest of my life on hold, I am taking a creative walkabout.
My starting point was my everyday humdrum life. My life at that point wasn’t without joy nor happiness, but I was frustrated and left with a sense of emptiness every evening when I went to bed. Pretty much everything was a chore, even reminding myself of 3 things I was grateful for before going to sleep.
1. Roof over my head.
2. Food on the table, chocolate in my belly.
3. My son, my son above everything else.
I was in a bad place, not do to some devastating blow or traumatic event, but I had lulled myself into the dual cities of Inertia and Passivity.
Now, I should warn you. The starting point to my creative walkabout isn’t hopeful; it is more like staring into an abyss. You cannot chart a path and you have no idea where you are going. The first step over the edge is pure faith.
I didn’t go willingly over the edge. I came back to work after New Year’s and almost fainted as I stepped into the office. I was in a very emotional state, I couldn’t control or explain, but I told my boss. That was my step over the edge.
The last couple of months, I’ve read a lot about change and motivation, where the general consensus is, that the first step is your first achievement. And I agree – in hindsight, using binoculars.
That first step of mine was literally over the edge and into the abyss. What followed were a couple of months of pure chaos. The fragile framework of Inertia and Passivity crumbled around me. The positive elements in my life were up in the air, whirling around with all negative elements. It felt like I was stuck in a violent tornado. I had no idea, if I had solid ground beneath my feet, but the only thing I could do, was ride the storm. By riding the storm, I do mean holding on for dear life, not standing at the helm of a ship weathering the storm heroically.
During this chaotic storm, I kept asking myself big questions, none of which I knew the answers to. What is your passion? What do you want to do with your life? Who do you want to be as a person? Every time I answered with “I don’t know!” my frustration and anger became even more pronounced. I was by no means a kind person at this point. I was angry, afraid, exhausted, restless, and a pain for many around me.
I was giving myself an impossible task. You don’t know which direction you are going, when you are thrown around by a tornado. Now, that’s self-evident, but at the time, I expected myself to provide clear answers.
You may think, this next part begins with the second step, but I was a lot further along. I had grappled for my footing a long time. The first time I felt solid ground beneath my feet was throwing clay. I had made a bowl as a young teenager and loved working with clay, but I had never done it since. Now, I signed up for a ceramics class.
This is where the creative walkabout begins in earnest. I followed my curiosity to Creativity. I didn’t know, if I could make another bowl, but in truth that didn’t matter. The first time, I left the class, I was overjoyed. I daydreamed of becoming a potter with my own shop, selling artisan goods. I was inspired and enthusiastic. I love the organic soft feel of the clay in my hands.
I probably don’t need to tell you; I’m not a clay-throwing-genius. My chunky vessels are crude and crooked, but hidden inside was the realization that I love to be creative.
Creativity sustains me. I began to see all the creative endeavors I didn’t have time for or I pushed back because they were only hobbies or for fun. Reading. Writing. Journaling. Decorating. Baking. Cooking. Gardening. Fantasizing. Spending time based on what is fun or what spikes my curiosity instead of regarding everything as a chore.
I began courting myself. I went on dates with myself, doing things I loved. For the first time in years, I went to a café to drink coffee and write. I fantasized and told myself stories, without rationalizing or telling myself that it was a waste of time. I made tablescapes without vacuuming first. And with these dates, I felt inspired and enthusiastic again.
I am writing a little series about my recent creative walkabout. Be sure to stay tuned – or follow my blog, if you want to read the next installment.