I have stopped and started several versions of my November 2016 Sunday Sanctuary. My original intention for this month was to share a deeply personal experience in my creative life as we were on the edges of shifting our theme from “Wisdom” to “Mystic or Magic”. That isn’t what you’re getting today.
Modern Creative Life is about honoring the pursuit of joyful creation and celebrating what it means to live creatively. From before our inception, it was important to me as the Editor in Chief to make this a safe space – free from political discourse. I believe that each and every person, no matter how entrenched in the issues facing the world, needs a place to escape both the vitriol and the intelligent dialogue.
We all need respite and what better respite than poetry, stories, and beauty?
That’s why I’m writing to you two weeks early.
I switched places with another editor so that she could have more time to process what’s happening in the outside world. Part of the responsibility as Editor in Chief to is to step in when others have challenges and take the brunt of the burden. Even if that means discomfort for me.
Especially when it calls for me to dig into my own creative well when I am feeling parched one moment and drowning in ideas the next moment. As I shared with you in September, I am in evolutionary waters. I am adrift in a vast ocean of those ideas, but like being at sea, I can’t drink the salty water and have my thirst quenched. Evolution is beautiful once you emerge from the cocoon and your new wings are ready to soar. But this part? The middle part? It isn’t very pretty to observe.
That story that I long to share with you is about a pinnacle moment in every evolution, but it needs more time to incubate. So that draft is squirreled away until next month when it’s had it’s incubation time…and when I’ve had the time to get a little more support from my friends. I’ve told two by voice, one by email, but only just confessed the moment in a letter, which wasn’t mailed until yesterday.
It was back to the drawing board yesterday.
I wrote about the late arrival of autumn here in Ohio. No matter how I tweaked it, that story was boring, especially in light of the most recent Sunday Salon.
Our chipmunk experience is a story I’ve been wanting to share here as it’s the trifecta of perfection for what I want to write about as a part of Sunday Sanctuary. Charlie, our resident chipmunk, antagonizes John and he now identifies with Donald Duck. I downloaded a few screen shots of Chip, Dale, and Donald. But I don’t have the flair for humor you get to witness in Sunday Brunch and knew that that story will have to wait until I have time for it to be edited by another before I polish and share it.
I have at least three other drafts here inside the circuits of my computer and none of them are ready, either.
I went to bed last night hoping that by morning, I could breathe a bit more life into one of the pieces sitting in the limbo of creativity: draft mode. I woke at 1:30 this morning and was sorely tempted to come downstairs to my office and take another stab, but instead laid in bed and read The Little Paris Bookshop until I was sleepy again.
For the first time since we launched Modern Creative Life, I missed my deadline. That’s not my norm and I promise you it won’t become my norm here.
As I made banana pancakes for breakfast, I pulled at my own threads of wisdom. Though he doesn’t quite understand my creative brain, I was able to share my challenges with John over those banana pancakes, topped with more bananas and walnuts and maple syrup. As I cleaned my kitchen, I made the decision to come back to the page and share some straightforward advice as my last column in the Wisdom issue.
As a creative being, you have a sacred responsibility to your creativity.
I have spent many years giving up creative endeavors due to the influences of the outside world: ballet, singing, crafting, and acting to name a few.
I have witnessed multiple times that when creative souls don’t create, they wither and become dry and brittle.
In her research on what it took to live a wholehearted, authentic life, Brene Brown discovered that the opposite of creativity is depression. So, when we feel depressed, we have a responsibility to ourselves to create.
When you are too distraught to paint, you need to paint. When you are too angry to write, you need to write. When you believe the world is an ugly place, you need to make your immediate surroundings as beautiful as possible.
This does not mean that what you paint or write or sculpt or play is ready for public consumption, but the process of creating will always be healing for the person creating.
Even when it feels hard and even when, like me, you feel as if you are dying of thirst, surrounded by water that you are unable to drink.
You may not be able to change what is happening in the world, but what you can control is how you use your creativity to enhance your daily life. You can bring flowers into your home, create a delectable meal for people you love, and be kind to strangers in the grocery store. You have the power to cultivate rituals to nourish yourself and your own creativity. You can choose to turn away from vitriol and anger and deepen your understanding of your own gifts.
As the great Leonard Cohen, may he rest in peace, wrote in his song Anthem
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Everyone, no matter what side of the aisle they are on, feels as if the world is full of cracks. That’s why you must honor your responsibility to your creativity.
What you create in the coming weeks will likely not be a perfect offering, but by creating it, you will allow the light into your own soul.
About the Author: Debra Smouse
Debra Smouse is a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle, life coach, and author of Clearing Soul Clutter: Creating Your Vision. She resides in Dayton, Ohio where she practices the art of living with the Man of Her Dreams. When she’s not cleaning the shower drain as a way to avoid writing, you’ll find her reading or enjoying the antics of her neighboring chipmunk. She’s the Editor in Chief here at Modern Creative Life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.