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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

The joy of creativity


I was so tired today.  Work was exceptionally tedious – truly the IT equivalent of bricklaying all day (minus the heavy lifting and hot sun parts – yeah, I know that even my crummy work is fairly privileged).  BORING!  TIRED!

Dragged myself to Trader Joe’s to pick up some provisions. 

Tomorrow is a going away lunch for my team. 3 of us who have worked together and the primary client we have served.  We’ve been on a wild ride these last five months and now it’s  getting on time to say goodbye.

I had picked up some wee trinkets on Saturday to give my friends but I wanted to get something more.  I had a few ideas, but two of them seemed sort of obscure.  All 3 things were available at Barnes & Noble, which is conveniently located next to Trader Joe’s.  Man I was tired, but I dragged my weary self into the store.  I searched for the most obscure item first – when the guy said they had it I felt a little surge of energy – oh, good!  I think LeAnne will like this!  Then I looked for what I had in mind for Mark.  Wow – they had only one of those, but they had it!  My energy level started to lift. Debated on two different things for Kiran – found one I liked.

Came home, still tired, made a bite to eat.  Then it was time to make cards for my friends. 

That’s when everything changed.  I fired up Microsoft Publisher and then began crafting cards – picking out the right images, the right theme, the words that went with the little gifts.  It was fun to think about my friends – what I really enjoy about each of them, the odd little bits I know about their lives – and then translate that into personalized cards to go with the hopefully unique-for-them little gifts I picked out.

I think it was the combination of  creativity and getting the focus on others that made it such a delightful evening.

How about you?  What little things do you like to do that revive you?  That make the time fly by?  That bring you joy and delight?

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That’s what the poster in my bedroom said when I was a teenager. 

And my friend Mary Lou made me a plate with the same saying on it.

I’ve been thinking about that, and about my friend Candace’s question .  Because it seems I ***am*** clearing a space.

In my home, for sure – I’ve been on the hunt for what can be given away, thrown away or somehow repurposed.  definitely making room.  And while I wish I were making MORE room in my body, the 10 pounds that have evaporated (seriously where DO those pounds go?) seem part of the same process.

My job ends a week from Friday – and that makes room in my calendar and will perhaps clear our some of my savings as I await the Next Big Thing.

One of my big campaigns this whole year has been about being more conscious about the people with whom I choose to spend time.  The Universe made it abundantly clear that being more judicious was in order with a few back to back boundary-crossing ‘friends’ making it clear that it was time, as Nancy Reagan counselled, to “just say no”.

The cliché is that nature abhors a vacuum and some of the open space rather quickly got filled – I took two photography classes over the winter, started blogging and have spent more time with people who are delightful.

But it does seem that there is a confluence of things going that are creating quite the open bough.

And I’m curious as to what singing bird(s) will alight.

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I’m noticing that several streams are coming together for me and, like people at my parties, they are all ending up in the kitchen!

– Localvorism:  buying local foods both for environmental reasons and to move away from being part of the machine (hey I KNOW Farmer Nick, Eggland? Not so much….)

– Slow Food movement – cooking my own dinner, not being part of the 51% of American meals that are eaten outside the home.  Though I must say “guilty as charged” for plenty of lunches and dinners, alas 😦

– Creativity – as long as I’m going to trouble myself to cook, I have been actually (Gasp) cooking – not just microwaving what someone else made me for dinner or lunch.  This has led to a lot of odd little mustgo meals (everything that Must Go — from my brother-in-law Tom’s days working in an Eating club when he was at Princeton) which are frugal (using up those mustgo leftovers), healthy and quite delicious.  tonight’s odd offering – leeks, asparagus, Trader Joe’s apple-chicken sausage and because the apples seemed a good idea, 1/2 an apple, plus garlic and pepper jack cheese.  Sound odd?  Make some – it’s delish!

Simple living – cooking for oneself – indeed, doing anything for oneself – is frugal, conscious, and I believe innately satisfying.

Social activism/cultural change – by taking charge of my own life, especially when it involves food I’ve bought directly from the farmers growing it, I’m saying NO to corporate personhood and The Machine.  I’m also in a sidebar way (but in my opinion, just as importantly) saying no to “Health” “Care” –whomever pays for it, a lot of mainstream medical care is fixing what we broke by what we did or didn’t eat.  Me?  I’d rather spend my money and time on food than drugs.  Just not into drugs, thanks very much.

Making dinner is so much more than making dinner.  I’m glad I thought of that.  And glad I thought of throwing in that apple – I think it’s what made the dish!

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I promised more from The Great Reset by Richard Florida, and this is a part I found quite intriguing, from page 111:  “At the hear t of the current crisis is a fundamental confusion about the nature of wealth,’ writes the Economist.  ‘Were an extraterrestrial to be shown a room full of gold ingots, a stack of twenty dollar bills or a row of numbers on a computer screen, he might be puzzled as to their function.  Our reverence for these objects might seem as bizarre to him as the behavior of the male bowerbird (which decorates its nest with shiny objects to attract a mate) seems to us.’  Real wealth is based on the  goods and products we wish to consume or of things (factories, machinery, an educated workforce) that give us the ability to produce more such goods and services.’  Finacial assets, on the other hand ‘arise from the desire to postpone consumption so that money can be saved, either for precautionary reasons or to invest so that more goods and services can be consumed in the future.’ ”

He goes on to say “It’s time we stop confusing the practice of moving money around with generating real wealth.  If we want to prosper again, we’ll need to move the economy away from finance capitalism and back toward the aptly dubbed real economy – investing once again in technology and human capital along with the new infrastructure that can make long-term economic growth possible.”

I heard a joke/story once about a rich guy who goes to some latin American country and is impressed with the cab driver.  He excitedly tells the cab driver that he could help him build his own taxi business – he could have other guys working for him – he’d be rich!  He goes on to tell him that once he’s rich he can do whatever he wants! But the cab driver tells him “what I want is to be with my wife and my children and to be able to take my little boy fishing.  And—- I do that now.”

We work more and more at jobs we like less and less – and even if we don’t then buy stupid stuff to make us feel better – we are often postponing joy.  I didn’t work from 20 November til 1 March – and while I DID go to Pennsylvania to visit part of my family for New Year’s I could have also gone to LA to visit my brother .  Or even taken up the generous offer from some Irish friends and headed over to Cork – Chris & Mark said if I supplied the plane ticket they’d supply everything else.  But I didn’t want to touch my savings, being a frugal type and all….

One of the blogs I read, which I mention here is Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” and it reminds me that life is short and to be here now.  To seize the day.

wealth, I believe is, in many ways a state of mind.  One of my heroes is Peace Pilgrim.  She didn’t have money or stuff, but I think she was pretty rich.

I’m very rich in what matters – health, family, friends, a dear wee cat, work I mostly enjoy, LOTS of creative pursuits lately.  Oh my happiness bank book could use a girlfriend/partner – but even if Ms. Right never stumbles into my life I’d have to say I’ve got a good thing going.  The happy part is knowing that.

Maybe this “great reset” as Richard Florida says will wake more people up to what matters.  “life is short” is a fact, not a bumper sticker. We truly have to seize the day. 

I always think of how people who spend lots of money on useless crap are missing the point, but writing this post helps me to realize that in situations such as I was in this winter – not travelling to see family or friends because i was unemployed (even though I had a year of living expenses socked away) I’m being just as nutsy, but on the other end of the scale.

Maybe the Great Reset (the event)/ or Uranus entering Aries (I keep promising I’ll write an astrology post soon…) are just clarion calls.  Inviting us all to ‘dream another dream.’ 

My favorite novel of all time is Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse. It’s the story of Siddhartha Gautama whom we call Buddha.  Every time I read that book the ending just blows me away.  Siddhartha, having been a prince, a mendicant monk, a rich merchant becomes a ferryman (if it were in the current era he’d be a taxi driver…).  The joy and completeness he gets from “Being Here Now” (as Ram Dass wrote, back in the day) is exquisite.

So when you read the doom and gloom crowd who seem to be echoing Bruce Springsteen’s “My Home Town” in their cries of “these jobs are going boys, and they ain’t coming back…” remember, real wealth is something different.  And nature abhors a vacuum – I do believe that’s true.  So there’s something else coming.  And if Richard Florida is right, what follows a Big Depression is a period of rampant creativity.  I’m in!

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