creating time for creativity

it's been over a month since my last post, and i am finding myself swimming in babies.  from postpartum work, to impending births, prenatal yoga classes and birthing workshops, the baby season is in full bloom.
the work i do is very full and intense, and for me to find continuous balance, i must offer myself plenty of self care.  self care includes anything from quality family time, to yoga, to breathing in some fresh ocean air.  what is at the top of my list these days is creativity.  the more i create, the more i feel connected to my core.

i used to consider myself an artist, first and foremost.  since living in los angeles, i have tried on other titles and hats.  regardless of which hat i am wearing, i find myself always at the source of my own creativity.  i recently attended a lecture at birth and beyond in santa monica, ca.  the guest lecturer was the gifted laura uplinger, who shared an abundance of fresh and raw birthing information to roomful of doulas and birth advocates.  my greatest take away from her lecture is that pregnant women need creativity more than anything else.

knowledge and information only take you so far in life, and birth.  at the end of the day, a woman gives birth with her body, not her mind.  the heart and body connection will get you through any adversity.  and creativity is at the root of this.  and at the root of creativity is celebration.


how might you invoke more celebration in your life?

how might you invite creativity to become a daily part of your existence?

how might you mentor your children to create on a daily basis?

how does deepening your creative process bring you into connection with self?

if this discussion has sparked your interest, i suggest you read on. . .

The following article was written by Anne Lamott and appeared in the April
2010 issue of Sunset Magazine. She explores the idea of why it is important
to tend to one¹s creative life.
I sometimes teach classes on writing, during which I tell my students every
single thing I know about the craft and habit. This takes approximately 45
minutes. I begin with my core belief, and the foundation of almost all wisdom
traditions, that there is nothing you can buy, achieve, own, or rent that can
fill up that hunger inside for a sense of fulfillment and wonder. But the
good news is that creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing,
bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or
she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the
incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.

Then I bring up the bad news: You have to make time to do this.

This means you have to grasp that your manic forms of connectivity‹cell
phone, email, text, Twitter‹steal most chances of lasting connection or
amazement. That multitasking can argue a wasted life. That a close
friendship is worth more than material success.

Needless to say, this is very distressing for my writing students. They
start to explain that they have two kids at home, or five, a stable of
horses or a hive of bees, and 40-hour workweeks. Or, on the other hand,
sometimes they are climbing the walls with boredom, own nearly nothing, and
are looking for work full-time, which is why they can't make time now to
pursue their hearts' desires. They often add that as soon as they retire, or
their last child moves out, or they move to the country, or to the city, or
sell the horses, they will. They are absolutely sincere, and they are

I often remember the story from India of a beggar who sat outside a temple,
begging for just enough every day to keep body and soul alive, until the
temple elders convinced him to move across the street and sit under a tree.
Years of begging and bare subsistence followed until he died. The temple
elders decided to bury him beneath his cherished tree, where, after
shoveling away a couple of feet of earth, they found a stash of gold coins
that he had unknowingly sat on, all those hand-to-mouth years.

You already have the gold coins beneath you, of presence, creativity,
intimacy, time for wonder, and nature, and life. Oh, yeah, you say? And
where would those rascally coins be?

This is what I say: First of all, no one needs to watch the news every
night, unless one is married to the anchor. Otherwise, you are mostly going
to learn more than you need to know about where the local fires are, and how
rainy it has been: so rainy! That is half an hour, a few days a week, I tell
my students. You could commit to writing one page a night, which, over a
year, is most of a book.

If they have to get up early for work and can't stay up late, I ask them if
they are willing NOT to do one thing every day, that otherwise they were
going to try and cram into their schedule.

They may explain that they have to go to the gym four days a week or they
get crazy, to which I reply that that's fine‹no one else really cares if
anyone else finally starts to write or volunteers with marine mammals. But
how can they not care and let life slip away? Can't they give up the gym
once a week and buy two hours' worth of fresh, delectable moments? (Here
they glance at my butt.)

Can they commit to meeting one close friend for two hours every week, in
bookstores, to compare notes? Or at an Audubon sanctuary? Or a winery?

They look at me bitterly now--they don't think I understand. But I do; I know
how addictive busyness and mania are. But I ask them whether, if their
children grow up to become adults who spend this one precious life in a spin
of multitasking, stress, and achievement, and then work out four times a
week, will they be pleased that their kids also pursued this kind of
whirlwind life?

If not, if they want much more for their kids, lives well spent in hard work
and savoring all that is lovely, why are they living this manic way?

I ask them, is there a eucalyptus grove at the end of their street, or a new
exhibit at the art museum? An upcoming minus tide at the beach where the
agates and tidepools are, or a great poet coming to the library soon? A pond
where you can see so many turtles? A journal to fill?

If so, what manic or compulsive hours will they give up in trade for the
equivalent time to write, or meander? Time is not free; that's why it's so
precious and worth fighting for.

Will they give me one hour of housecleaning in exchange for the poetry
reading? Or wash the car just one time a month, for the turtles? No? I
understand. But at 80, will they be proud that they spent their lives
keeping their houses cleaner than anyone else in the family did, except for
mad Aunt Beth, who had the vapors? Or that they kept their car polished to a
high sheen that made the neighbors quiver with jealousy? Or worked their
fingers to the bone providing a high quality of life, but maybe accidentally
forgot to be deeply and truly present for their kids, and now their

I think it's going to hurt. What fills us is real, sweet, dopey, funny life.

I've heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for
yourself, or your Self, unless you're incredibly busy and stressed, in which
case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to
find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this

-Anne Lamott

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this and calling my attention to that article - I hadn't run across it before; it's a good one.