Creativity & Balance

“Every child is an artist.  The challenge is how to remain an artist once you grow up.”  I recently came across this quote supposedly said by Pablo Picasso. It set me to thinking. . .How do we, adults, nurture our creativity?  How do we find, or make, the time in our fast-paced consumer-driven, economically-stressed and spiritually-stressed culture?  How do we balance our daily have-to-do’s with our daily want-to-do’s/need-to-do’s?

As an adult, and a full time parent of two young children, I find it very challenging to make space for my creative energies.  Sometimes I consider myself lucky if I get to enjoy a hot shower, or take a deep breath in my backyard garden.  Getting time to get into the groove of a creative flow with glasswork, writing, painting, drawing or gardening often feels near impossible.  And yet, it does happen.  I find a way, I make a way.  It requires making my needs known to all family members, planning ahead, and committing to doing it at least once or twice a week.  This creative flow time feels truly necessary to my well-being.  It feeds my soul, it helps keep me focused, provides an outlet for me to process life through, and often transforms my energy.  I feel lighter afterward, and more present with myself and others.  There are times when despite my efforts and plans, that the needs of others in my family require me to let go of this time and pick it up again in the future.  Like the month of January that was spent reuniting with family members and celebrating my daughter’s sixth birthday several times, or the recent 2-week respiratory virus that my kids went through and the following two weeks of exhaustion I experienced.  Because I do not want my creative life to drain on my other lives, and I don’t want the others to drain on the creative, I need to be flexible–to know when to push and when to let go.  I also need to know when to ask for my time–and even when to take it.  Sometimes my partner, or my daughter tell me when it’s time to go hang out in my studio for a while, which I most willingly do.

At times I get discouraged if I haven’t completed  a project in a while, but I try to focus more on the process than the product, and to discover the value of being “slow.”  Getting into the flow creatively is meditative, for me, and if there is anything that can not be rushed, it is meditation.  Taking my process slowly, or at its natural pace, helps reduce my stress, puts me in touch with creativity and expands my sense of time.  When I slow down, I discover that I have all the time I need.  Sometimes I even feel completely outside of time itself and that is Blissfull!