I’ve come to believe that in order to live the kind of life we desire, we must choose to create it. It’s a concept that sounds good on paper, yet making it happen can be harder. We humans tend to look at things from a lens of the big picture concept side and though they say that the devil is in the details, we rush past the smallest of details. We look for big signs that we are succeeding and hope that huge leaps will result fast and life changing results.
The truth is that if we want our creative lives to be sustainable, we need to learn to subsist on tiny sips of inspiration and see the infinitesimal moments of beauty and perfection as our building blocks.
What will save us, therefore, isn’t grand gestures or sweeping changes, but the small moments. A perfect cup of coffee, a ten-day old bouquet of grocery store flowers, the way the flame on a candle flickers as it reaches the end of the wick.
Yesterday, we lost electricity for several hours. My plan for the Saturday was to write and edit. And I needed to be doing that in WordPress. Without electricity or internet, I was at a loss as to what to do now that my plan had been changed.
Rather than worry about finishing this column. Or editing a blog post for work. I moved back into the bedroom and got a change of perspective. This past summer, John’s mother sold her house and some of her furniture came back to Ohio to live with us.
A part of that furniture is a peach colored wing back chair nestled into a corner by the windows. On John’s side of the bed. I never sit their, and honestly wasn’t thrilled about the addition of that chair. And a side table. And a lamp.
It’s been growing on me, though. And for the first time since it’s been in our bedroom, the loss of electricity led me to sit there. With what little natural light was available on a rainy day, I found comfort there. Nestled in a chair that had held dozens of O’Connors over the last twenty-five years.
Rather than fret about this column. Or those blog posts I meant to finish editing today. I wrote a letter. I wrote in my journal. I sat and listened to the sound of the rain pelting against the windows.
To feed my creative life, I need to allow myself to experience these kinds of moment.
One day last week, I walked outside to place a Netflix video in the mailbox. My phone was in my pocket and a cup of coffee in my hand. I paused to watch the changing sky as the rising sun colored my view with tinges of pink and shots of gold against midnight blue sky. Then I gazed to my left to see the shimmer of raindrops shimmered against the deep green leaves of my roses. And the way the drops on a spider web made it glimmer
Such stark beauty was all around me, and if I had hurried just a little, I would have missed it.
We tend to believe that when we talk about “making”, it must be something done with from a high art perspective: writing, drawing, making music, etc.
Yet, my core truth is that we are always making. Each moment of living is a choice in creative living. We just have to notice them.
It’s watching John load the car in the mornings: first he walks to the back of his bright red car. He waves his foot under the trunk, the car beeps, and the lid begins to rise. He places his lunch box and briefcase in his trunk. And then drapes his suit jacket across his briefcase so it doesn’t wrinkle. After closing the trunk, he opens the driver’s door, leans in and puts his coffee cup in the holder.
Only then does he climb into the car, push the button to start the engine, and buckles his seat belt.
Sometimes I can hear his morning radio choices: The Beatles or Pop Rocks on SiriusFM. He hits the hazard lights, waves one more time, and backs out of the garage.
If I am going to continue to stay devoted to living a creative life. And allowing it to inform and nourish my life. Then, I must continue to notice those infinitesimal moments that add a layer of richness to my world.
Like noticing the ways raw sugar plinks as it hits the coffee in my cup. And then watch the bloom of dairy goodness as I splash in some cream. And that first sip, how the bitterness of the coffee is tempered with the richness of the cream and the sweetness of the sprinkled in sugar.
It’s sharing a joke with the butcher as he packages up a pork loin. And then some ground chicken.. And noticing how he comes alive and smiles a little deeper. Grateful to be seen and acknowledged.
It’s the quick kiss I get as John walks in the door and the scent of him against hours old starched shirt, faded Old Spice, and the workday.
It’s gazing in the mirror and seeing my own inner light as I fasten a necklace. It’s the shift in light as the day is swallowed up by night.
No matter how busy we get, there must be moments of coming back to center. To notice our own life. To see the tiny moments that create my own existence. And the life of those I love. To honor the way creative living plays into my everyday life.
For this is what the core of making is to me: making a life.
About the Author: Debra Smouse
Debra Smouse is a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle, life coach, and author of Clearing Brain Clutter: Discovering Your Heart’s Desire and Clearing Soul Clutter: Creating Your Vision. When she’s not vacuuming her couch, you’ll find her reading or plotting when she can play her next round of golf. She’s the Editor in Chief here at Modern Creative Life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.