While sitting in church this morning, I realized my true appreciation for the yellow Play-Doh stashed in my purse. This moldable fun has helped my son endure doctor's appointments, lunch dates, plane rides and pretty much any activity requiring a toddler to sit for more than two minutes.
What could have been an hour rummage through my purse (and let's be honest, the woman's purse next to me) turned into a calm and peaceful service. In fact, I can even tell you what the sermon was about which is proof yellow Play-Doh can do wonders for focus!
Focus, I am learning, is a precious and elusive gift for moms with young ones. When our attention is not being summoned by our child/children, our own minds serve as a constant reminder of all we want or need to do. Yet, just as I begin to let my mind get sidetracked, an eager fist reaches over and hands me some yellow dough with a simple request to roll a "Ba.""
And snap I am back...living in the moment as I roll that yellow ball and hand it over to my little sidekick. Suddenly it hits me, that yellow Play-Doh is just as important for me as it is for him because it forces me to live creatively in the moment and focus on the work at hand, a creative habit I am constantly trying to foster amidst the myriad of distractions vying for my limited energy and attention.
To my fellow creative mamas, may you find your "Yellow Play-Doh" this week and live creatively in the moment. When tempted to give in to the pressures of the day, simply take a deep breath and focus
on the work at hand. If your lucky, you may just create your next masterpiece or at the very least, a well rounded "Ba" and hopefully, a well rounded "Ma" in the process!
Trivia for the Day:
What does this Creative Habitat blogger have in common with Michealangelo and Dr. Seuss?
A Creative Habitat!
It's true! I have lived and created in the same cities and even resided on the same street as one of these renaissance men, different century, but I like to think there was still a touch of inspiration in the air. I'm referring to Casa Buonarroti, a property owned by Michealangelo on Via Ghibellina, the same street I lived on while studying abroad in Florence, Italy.
I'd take a deep breath each time I'd pass his prominant marble bust carved distinctly above the large wooden door of his florentine flat, hoping, maybe just maybe, to absorb some of his creative genius.
Fast forward 8 years and I now find myself living and working in Dr. Seuss's hometown where he created many of the fun characters and stories we cherish today. Similiar to my practice when walking by Casa Buonarroti, I breath in the creative inspiration while walking on the UCSD campus (where I used to work) which is home to the Geisel Library. This library houses the largest collection of original Dr. Seuss drawings, sketches, manuscript drafts, and photographs documenting the full range of Dr. Seuss's creative achievements from 1919 to 1991.
I am encouraged to know I have worked within walking distance of both of these creative geniuses authentic drawings and sketches reflecting their raw talent and creative process. I have received a touch of inspiration from both as a result!
In Big Magic, the book I am currently reading, Elizabeth Gilbert conveys her belief that creative ideas are living amongst us waiting to find their human collaborator to bring the creative vision to fruition. Just as there are billions of people inhabitating the planet, these ideas inhabit us through a touch of inspiration, but the chosen collaborator must be willing.
Michelangelo was willing. Dr. Seuss was willing. As creative beings we must ask ourselves, "Am I willing?"
Even as a busy mom of a toddler, I can attest a willing spirit yields creative gifts. No matter how crazy and overwhelming life may seem, there is always a touch of inspiration waiting for a willing collaborator.
Wishing you creative and willing days ahead!
In an effort to create space for new creative habits to take root as I embrace this new chapter of full time motherhood and mompreneurship, my son and I escaped to Colorado Springs (where I grew up) for a two week quest in creative problem solving. We are starting Week 2 of this very important time of reprieve and regrouping before returning to San Diego where our "New Chapter" officially begins.
Points of exploration on this quest include:
1) Praying for energy to match a toddler's energy on a daily basis.
2) Planning a new weekly schedule that will meet the development needs of my son and allow me to carve out time to pursue my own creative habits.
3) Strategizing a way to "batch" weekly responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, etc.) so we can make the most of our quality time.
Most importantly, this time is dedicated to embracing courage in the quest for creative time and space, knowing life will always swirl with the to-do's of today and unknown priorities of tomorrow. To live fully, I must learn how to embrace the delicate balance of letting go and holding on...letting go of my desire to control and holding on to my desire to create. Both require intention and courage from which I believe true creative genius stems.
Elizabeth Gilbert, authour of popular novel, Eat, Pray, Love, recently published a book called, Big Magic where she discusses the creative genius hidden within each of us if we have the courage to live beyond fear. Given creativity is the pursuit and exploration of the unknown, one must overcome the implicit fear associated with such a daring act...to create original work with confidence!
Big Magic is the novel I felt lead to read during this two week hiatus in Colorado. Ironically when I found it during a recent Barnes and Noble date with my son, he grabbed my hand and walked me directly to the Dr. Seuss section. There before us were many examples of one man's creative genius on display. Surely it took courage to write each of those colorful, silly books! Surely Dr. Seuss overcame some level of fear to dare to write books with made up words when he originally intended to get his Ph.D in English Literature. Imagine if he had not chosen to live creatively beyond fear?
I have only just begun reading Big Magic, but it's no surprise the first chapter is titled, "Courage" because courage is the first step in any creative endeavor. The author recounts a profound quote by the late poet and English Professor, Jack Gilbert, who once asked one of his students, "Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say "Yes" (Gilbert, Big Magic, pg.7).
This is a question we all must ask ourselves when we are on the brink of uncovering our Creative Genius. Fortunatley, creative geniuses like Dr. Seuss answered, "Yes!"
Wishing you courage in your creative quest as I embrace courage in mine, admitting each Creative Habitat blog post is just that, a courageous step towards creative living without fear!
Check Out Elizabeth Gilbert's "Your Elusive Creative Genius" TED Talk on the Creative Habitat Creative Leaders link found HERE.
Freedom. What a gift. What a sacrifice. We are free because many gave all to defend the freedom we celebrate on this Independence Day. As I reflect on the significance of 4th of July, I can't help but wonder how many Americans truly live with the conviction our forefathers intended for America, "Home of the free and land of the brave."
We live in the land of opportunity, yet many Americans are trapped in depression, addiction, and isolation, serving as a constant reminder we must continue to defend the freedom we value by making a conscious choice to embrace and appreciate the freedoms we so often take for granted.
Freedom of speech. Freedom to worship. Freedom to vote. Freedom to pursue life, liberty, and justice. This is truly profound when you consider the many other countries where many only dream of freedom yet we have the freedom to dream.
As a seasoned dreamer, I feel so blessed to live in a country where I can dare to dream and dare to be different and make a difference. It is my hope, Creative Habitat will make a difference by encouraging women in their freedom and call to create.
After several months of feeling called to focus more attention on my son, our family and the development of Creative Habitat, I finally put in my notice at my professional job (July 1st was my last day in the office). This was a big decision for me because I have worked since I was 16 years old. Professional development has always been a freedom I have valued.
I am pleased to share the new freedom I have experienced in stepping away from my job to step into my calling. I know this was a "freedom decision" because it required sacrifice...sacrificing the known for the unknown, and yet, the unknown is where I feel called to explore!
I look forward to dedicating myself more fully to embracing the freedom to develop the creative gifts I've been blessed with including my son (as shown in the photo above), his sibling on the way (Spoiler Alert: I just finished my first trimester with #2), and developing Creative Habitat resources to encourage my fellow creative mamas to embrace their creative gifts as well!
This Independence Day, I am daring to live and dream more fully. Will you, Creative Mama, dare to live and dream more fully with me? This is afterall, home of the free and land of the brave. Let's be brave and claim the creative gifts we've been given to use and serve with greater intention!