Lately, I’ve been feeling less-than-inspired to sit down and write. Though I start each day scribbling into a journal, the ideas haven’t been effortlessly evolving into ideas worthy of being shared. An old acquaintance made a series of poor choices and somehow qualified for state-funded assistance; I am infuriated. My work contract promised a raise after three months and it’s been over eight; I feel disappointed. I felt great on the paleo diet for the first four weeks and now feel terrible; I’m not sure of the next step.
And yet, I know, life is inherently a shift between the pants fitting comfortably and then slowly creeping up into unspeakable crevices. All we can do is adjust and try to be subtle about it.
I’ve always considered myself both highly analytical and deeply creative, and pride myself on aptly blending the two. I’ve not felt creative lately–at all. My journal entries resemble those of a child, simplistic and superficial in nature. I have multiple short story ideas sitting around on sticky notes, some sewing projects I haven’t gotten around to yet and a box of sketching supplies awaiting my attention. Being a creative person, I feel guilty for not actively being creative. Have I failed at being my authentic self? Have I failed at making time for my personal projects? Am I making excuses or prioritizing the wrong things?
Yet, through the vast forest of disappointment, I’ve caught a glimpse of light. Perhaps, creativity evolves across time, taking on different forms to meet our needs at any given stage of life.
Over the last five weeks, my doctors have pointed me down the opposite fork in the road. I’ve transitioned from a near-vegan diet to consuming 75 grams of animal protein per day. Believe it or not, it’s required a level of creativity to discover which meats are most palatable after years without, where to find the most humanely-raised animals and how to prepare dishes that I’ve never made before. As with any other art, my kitchen experiments have included some proud moments, major misses and plenty of lessons learned. Even this seemingly-endless artistic drought is its own season of creativity.
Here in Phoenix, the summer drought is slowly coming to an end as the monsoon storms roll in with their violent micro-bursts and flash floods. When the towering clouds make their retreat and the cooler air takes its place, life will continue on and I will adjust. With each new season, the environment may shift; instinctively, we pack and unpack our boots and our sweaters. Without giving it much thought, we do what we’ve always done–we do what we must to most forward.
Perhaps creativity works in a similar manner, ebbing and flowing in response to our changing environment and circumstances. Creativity may manifest differently in the midst of high-stress than when one is feeling particularly inspired. To be human is to be capable of changing your perspective, breaking routine and taking risks. Just as the local weather fluctuates from month-to-month and year-to-year, the nature of our creativity may also shift. Even in the periods of seemingly endless drought, you are still creating. You are still creative.
If you don’t mind me asking, what does your current season of creativity look like? Are you writing, drawing, baking or researching? Are you focused on self-reflection, schooling or learning how to be a better parent? What are you doing today that may incite a small glimmer of joy, pride or hope?