Have you ever found yourself a little adrift?
You are going through the motions. You're getting up in the morning. You're getting ready for the day and you're moving along.
But somewhere inside you wonder what is all this for? Are we really meant to muddle through the days, the weeks disappearing in a blur? Or maybe you've experienced a different version of this - time has slowed down. You fill your days somehow, but it's a struggle. You find yourself feeling bored and unenthusiastic. In either case why get excited? Tomorrow will just be a slightly different version of this day after day, week after week.
And you can already see how the years will pile. I believe that humans are the happiest when we feel a sense of meaning and purpose. Of course, we all have things in our lives that drive our actions - families, friends, jobs, sports yards, we need to plant tomatoes, mow the lawn - whatever your version of these daily tasks are.
These anchor points in our lives, they're GOOD. They're all compelling reasons to get up in the morning, but I've found that I actually need a spark of meaning that is personal. That's not for someone else, not undergirded with responsibility or expectation, or even given to us by someone else's expectations, but something that is all ours.
This meaning can be found in many places, including creative work. Consider your entire life as a creative project. Now that I look at my entire life as a grand creative project, I notice how engaged I am. Everything is an adventure. I am insatiably curious. I can't wait to get up in the morning started.
Of course, I still have to carry out mundane tasks, like go to the grocery store. In fact, I'm headed there right after our little chat today. But now my life is interspersed with fascinating things. Now I am more interested and dare I say, I think I'm more interesting. As an example of how this might look in practice:
I work during the day and I find that if I don't put some effort into planning meals for the week, they become haphazard and they're not as healthy or delicious as I would like so I usually do some planning for the week so far. Doesn't sound very creative. Right? In fact, I hear you. You're thinking that sounds pretty darn boring.
I know, I know, but stick with me. I planned my meals and then I compiled the shopping list to carry it out but I sought to do it in a way that was a little imaginative. I added two new meals that I haven't tried before and I'm excited to cook and eat them. A few weeks ago I tried a different version of adding creativity to grocery shopping and meal planning. I rode my bike to the market instead, and then I challenged myself to only buy what would fit in the basket, In the past, I've intentionally gone to different grocery stores, just to switch things up a little. I know these things sound small, but they aggregate over time.
The tiny differences that little changes make really do shake things up. You might have a chance conversation with a stranger that echoes with you for days that you never would've experienced had you gone to the same old grocery store and stuck with the very the same process that you always use. You might see the world - or just a little slice of the world- in an entirely different way, from a different perspective.
And that's incredible. That's a gift. So I've given you an example about grocery shopping, but this idea can be applied to anything in your life. What you read, how you spend your time, how you conduct your professional life, and even your thoughts and your relationships. I do this little experiment pretty often.
I ask myself - why do I think that about a certain belief or idea that comes up for me? And then I challenge myself to find proof or evidence that the idea is valid. Some are perfectly reasonable and stand up to scrutiny but others are flimsy. The point is, when you examine your thoughts like this, you have an opportunity to intentionally modify them.
Instead of operating on autopilot, you can choose to create new thoughts. That's an unbelievably impactful kind of creativity. It affects the way you think and the way you live your life. There is no quicker or easier path to a more meaningful life than to have an active and engaged mind. A different version of this little experiment is to question yourself about responses in conversation or in relationships.
You can do this with your children, with your spouse, with people that you work with, Before you react, do a little experiment and ask yourself, how can I respond in a way that's a little different than what I usually do. Just the act of challenging yourself to do things differently changes things imperceptively and these shifts add up to big results over time.
So we've been talking all this time and I'll bet you've noticed that I haven't yet mentioned the creativity that you've probably expected me to talk about from the get-go - painting, poetry, prose, sculpture, composing music. These creative endeavors 100% and absolutely support and feed the concept of seeking a more meaningful life.
In my opinion, creativity multiplies upon itself. Isn't that incredible? It means you can start in small ways, one tiny change at a time, and build momentum. It means you don't have to do it all or nothing. It means there is no right way to do it. What a gift! It's just yours for the taking! You can choose to seek a more creative life.
Getting started does not require money. It only requires your willingness to start. It doesn't require that you change the way you do everything or that you toss everything out and begin anew. Nope. You can go slowly. You can build confidence and experiment. One sincere warning - it is super addicting. Once you dive in, you will find that in the most wonderful way, nothing looks exactly the way it did before. It's transformative and energizing.
So let's do this together. Shall we start this week? This is my invitation to you. Shake things up in your life a little or a lot, whatever feels comfortable to you. Shift things around just a smidge to loosen something. As always, I would love to hear how this goes for you. You're welcome to drop me a line.
If you're a really brave soul and you want to start a creative project, bravo, sweet friend! Working on art is pure magic. It can connect your head, your heart, and your body. I'm sending love and creative vibes. xoxoxo
Who am I?
I’m a systems engineer and creative coach living in ABQ, NM. I believe that we can intentionally design our lives to align with our deepest dreams and desires.