Proof of Creativity

Proof of Creativity

There’s something about creativity that begs to be seen. Show me your big idea, let me read your work, play me a song, hang up your art, watch that video project.

And then the masses, they can say, “how nice, how artistic, how talented” you are at that thing. Or, of course, there’s also the risk of a negative response, or even worse, no response or acknowledgement whatsoever, leaving that creativity vulnerable and alone in the world.

But one is never enough. You need a body and collection of work. It can never be stagnant or stale. You think you’re a writer? You call yourself a musician? You want to be a videographer? You consider yourself an actress? You say you’re an artist, a dancer, a dreamer, a poet? Prove it. 

Instead of the love and the passion and the drive that once compelled such creativity, you find hustle and exhaustion and burnout. A world that says, if you don’t keep churning out more you’ll be lost and left behind by all the ones ready to chew you up and take your spot.

It places all of your worth into what you produce or your results. You’re only as good as your latest project, and it better be something recent, otherwise, what have you been doing all this time?

And not only that, but where’s the self-promotion, the curated pieces, the shows and the gigs and the countless fans along the way?

For the average creative, or maybe just for me, it’s too much. The hustle and chase and sacrifice is too great. Maybe that means I’ll never make it or never have my name in lights. I’d like to hope instead that it means that my creativity and my sense of self will still stay intact.

May the thoughts and dreams that excite me stay possibilities and perhaps even one day realities, instead of drowned out by the noise and expectations to keep the same rapid pace of someone else. May my success be simply gratitude for the ability to create and connect with others, instead of an addiction to constant adoration and attention that can never quite be fulfilled. May I find moments for creativity and inspiration but not feel it is my only or greatest legacy.

That’s not to say that hard work, dedication, and motivation have no place here. All of these make their home here, just as I welcome space, grace, rest, and relationships. It’s about finding a balance and enjoyment instead of making chores out of the things I love.

So, for the last few months the blog has been quiet. This time I don’t think I’ll try to promise a revitalization coming soon but just let it happen as it happens. As for creative side projects, our music has been getting more of my energy and effort for the time being. At work, my writing and editing has continued. At home, we’ve chosen to listen to the need for rest when it comes, to celebrate weekend afternoons relaxing on the porch or rolling on the floor with our little one.

Does my work say something? Sure, sometimes. But more importantly, I’d like my life to speak louder. Not through fame or failures, but through my faith, family, and friendships.

 

Putting it into Perspective

Putting it into Perspective

There’s this thing that we use to shape our experiences and thoughts called perspective. It’s the vantage point from which we view life, our attitudes, and opinions. Perspective often helps us see beyond ourselves–to take in more information and look at the big picture or to be sensitive to small details that make a big impact.

But sometimes, we abuse that perspective. We compare bad situations to dire ones and suddenly feel like there is no need for help or improvement. We say things like, “Because this isn’t THAT, it’s fine” or “I’ve had worse” or “His situation is really bad, so I shouldn’t mind mine.”

While usually said with good intentions and can be stated a way to lessen the blow to some bad news or issue…it can also lead to a misrepresentation of the reality in a situation.

Do we need to cry over a stubbed toe like we would for cancer? No. Should we be grateful for what we have? Absolutely. But is there still room for growth and improvement and action? Most likely.

For example, my baby cries when his diaper needs changing (you’d think the world was ending by the way he shrieks, but no, it’s just wet). If I said to him, “Don’t you know you have such a good life and are well taken care of? Not all kids are as lucky as you!“–that would be true, but wouldn’t change the fact that his diaper is dirty and needs to be addressed. Looking only at the good but ignoring the immediate issue doesn’t actually solve anything. Instead, it diminishes his cries for help and perpetuates the problem.

Perhaps, there is reason to be upset or to seek improvement, and we need to be open to that. We need to have a self-awareness about what is happening so we can best address it. Maybe that means acknowledging a loss or celebrating a win. Saying things aren’t where they should be or could be at work or in a relationship. Admitting there are areas in life that need improvement, be it health, organization, motivation, or otherwise. Maybe it means being proactive in realizing that things are good now, but they aren’t to be taken for granted or assumed.

So to put it all in perspective, could things be worse? Sure. Could they be better? Perhaps. Either way, it’s worth being realistic about the present situation in order to best address it.

 

What I Write and What I Want

On the Horizon
It’s been a few weeks, and I’m still not sure how to pick up where I left off. A lot has happened and is happening. A few difficult yet vaguely described months this past fall/winter were followed by some resolve, some redirection, and some utter ridiculousness. In all of that, I question what it is I most want to say.

I have talked a few times about how much I appreciate writing and have been grateful that this blog has been a place for that. It’s been a way to update people, to share my thoughts, and to think through the different things going on in our lives. But it is also a place people come to read those things, which is something I consider very carefully. A handful of people have told me that they read my blog, which is always a flattering compliment, so I have a limited notion of my audience. There are also many people I’ve never met and know nothing about.

To me, the listeners/readers are often just as important as the message. This isn’t a journal, so if I don’t consider my audience, I do a disservice to us both. Lately, with a lot of transition and life going on, I’ve been considering even more carefully what it is that I’m saying and how my words are portrayed to those who are watching and reading. There are times filled with great news or success that I want to shout about and times when I just love the little details in life and want to share them. There are moments of frustration I want to lash out in passive aggression and moments of hurt or fear that I want to describe and sort through.

But the question becomes, what is my purpose? What is it I most want to do through my life and likewise, my writing?

Do I want to have a big platform? Do I want lots of likes and attention? Do I want to promote or sell something? Do I want to woo or impress? Do I want to simply have a creative outlet or a modern-day scrapbook?

Ultimately, none of those are my purpose, and in realizing this, I’ve stepped back. I’ve considered each word and each post and the impact it has. In this time of contemplation I have yet to figure out where to go from here and what I most want to say. But I know I want to keep writing. I want to connect with people. I want to write in a way that encourages, inspires, and relates.

Not only is this my favorite type of writing, but this is the type of writing I most love to read. I have learned and grown so much from reading what others write as they face challenges, celebrate victories, find their faith, and pursue their purpose. Not only that, but these are the lives that carry the greatest impact. Some people have strong voices or get loads of attention, but I’m not after the megaphone moments or a picture perfect type of lifestyle.

I want true authenticity and real relationships; loud joy and quiet success; wisdom over wealth; words filled with grace and also with thanks, and through it all, no matter what, I want to have faith, hope, and love

Plans and Expectations

Calendar photo by Brandon Redfern

Plans and goals–they sound like such good things. Dreams and deadlines mean something has to happen. It tells a story of progress and forward motion toward (hopefully) all of the right things. It is refusing to stand idle while life threatens to pass you by.

But is that all? Is it only the promise of good that can come from such hopes and aspirations?

What about the bitter disappointment that comes when things don’t go “as planned” in life? Or the fits we throw when someone doesn’t live up to our expectations? We lose trust and hold a grudge when things don’t look the way we envisioned, because that’s only fair. This was not what we had in mind, therefore it is practically our right to let the world know.

Honestly, you and I, we are allowed to be disappointed. I will never be the person that says you should only be happy or at least attempting happiness in every moment of life. Emotions come in a wide range and part of life is allowing ourselves to experience the many joys and frustrations that a range of emotions can bring. Go ahead and feel down when you’re sad, elated when you’re happy, conflicted when you’re confused or overwhelmed. This not only makes us human, it also allows us to cope with our situation and better empathize with others.

That said, sometimes I think we set ourselves up for disappointment when we don’t have to. 

We put these high expectations on ourselves to be something and achieve something. Then we go around putting these expectations on the people around us. We make plans as if that will lock in the things we want and then pay no regard to the fact that we only have the slightest bit of control over it. If it’s in the calendar, then it’s bound to happen, right?

Right now, I have no interest in making any plans more than a few weeks away. There’s so much that can happen in a month, three months, eight months, a year. The farther ahead we plan, the farther it feels from something I can count on. I would not be planning based on reality, but on pure speculation and therefore creating more expectations to uphold. Life has too many variables and the vast majority of them are well outside of our control. 

We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, much less a month from now. Tragedy could strike, opportunity could knock, the unexpected could happen. Health-related, weather-related, people-related, work-related, government-related–which of those things can you reasonably control? Sure, you can exercise, bring an umbrella, invest in the lives of others, work hard, vote, and whatever else to contribute to the overall impact (and you should), but don’t fool yourself into believing you’ve therefore earned it and can will things to happen the way you want.

Let’s instead put our hope in the right things. Let’s give grace when expectations aren’t met and think more realistically when it comes to our dreams and deadlines. Let’s be cautious to make plans and realize when we are forming absolutes in our minds. Let’s do our best, but know that most things are beyond our control and therefore let go of our reliance on our own expectations.

Let’s give the same grace and space for in our own lives as we do in the lives of others.

 

Employee of the Month

Employee of the Month | Moving Peaces

I’ve got an announcement: I’m officially the Employee of the Month. Yes, thank you for your applause, kind words, and flowers. This is just such an amazing moment for me. 

Where at, you ask? Oh, uh…my little yellow house. So I guess you could say there wasn’t much competition, BUT the hard work and effort was all there. And no, my husband did not bestow upon me such prestige and glory, it was self-awarded.

Alright, jokes and sarcasm aside, I thought I’d give you a little update on what I do during the day. Frankly, it changes all the time and has been an interesting journey, but I’m really grateful for it.

Some of you know, I have worked in communications and project management for years. That work has allowed me to think creatively, plan strategically, and work with all sorts of awesome clients and businesses. It seemed the most logical step was to do just that and set my schedule and workload around what worked best for me.

So, I’ve been adding new clients who need me to write their blog posts or send their newsletters or help them create a timeline or a process. I have my own LLC and created a simple website to sum it up. I get to decide the clients I take on and have to keep myself accountable for the work. I have continued to have clients coming in and have learned so much in the process. I feel this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now.  

I won’t deny that it has been hard to know where to start or what to do at times. I took on a part-time job for quite awhile to make sure there were consistent paychecks coming in, and I have had to really consider what type of work I want to do. It has been a continual work in progress as I work through different projects and look forward to upcoming clients and assignments.

That is the long and short of it.

If you find yourself saying, “I love her writing, I should hire her!” then please go right ahead. We can talk more about specifics and see if it’s a fit. If you are worried that from now on I will be self-promoting my work in every post here from this point forward, then you are sorely mistaken. I think work and what we do each day is important, but I also think it’s a mere piece of who we are and what life is. I most certainly enjoy my work, but it isn’t all that I am…and I plan to keep it that way.

 

If Only We Were Robots

Off in the Clouds by Steven Hrissis | Moving Peaces

Time would be measured by productivity if we were all robots. We could plow through all of the tasks and chores we have to do with no need to stop and eat or sleep. Distractions and hypothetical rabbit holes would have no place in the world. As robots, we could focus on whatever we were programmed to do.

Just think–if we were robots we could do all the things we now try and fail. There would be no such thing as a bad hair day or a bad boss. Nothing would stop us from achieving our goals, because we wouldn’t have the physical, mental, or emotional obstacles standing in our way. Doubt and fear couldn’t creep in and feelings of inadequacy wouldn’t win. There would be no putting your foot in your mouth or guilt from whatever mistake you made.

Some days, I just want to be a robot. To do everything just so and always know what to do. To work right on through my day, always checking off my to-do list. I want to never make mistakes and go after the things I was meant to do.

While this imaginary robot life might do everything right, it’s void of what makes life the wonderful thing that it is. Those moments where we struggle? That’s where the story comes in. The bad days, bad hair, and bad jobs give us something to relate about and support one another. The need to eat and sleep in turn give us reason to taste and an opportunity to dream. Distractions and thoughtful rabbit holes can lead to creativity, which brings beauty, art, and meaning into the world.

Lately I’ve poured myself into writing–writing for clients, writing for various publications, writing just for me. By the end of it, I’ve spent all of my energy writing down my thoughts and ideas with nothing left over. I look around and see a messy house, a list of to-dos long overdue, and every way that I have failed at something or with someone. I look back on my day and wonder where all the time went and why I can’t seem to get everything in order. So here I am, in the middle of the night, wishing I could be a robot. Thinking, if only I could press on through the night and skip sleep then maybe I could accomplish everything and stop disappointing people, myself included.

But we aren’t robots. 

And when it comes down to it, I don’t really want to be a robot. I want this life as a human…even with the pain and mistakes, because I know it also brings beauty and joy. We get to feel and experience life, hold each other’s hands, and find laughter and grace. That beats productivity any day. 

 

 

What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story?

What's Your Story? | Moving Peaces

Go to any event or get together, and you’ll hear something along the lines of “what’s your story?” Whether it’s asking what your job is, where you’re from, what your relationship status is…whatever. We get the basic questions to start and then as we get to know people better, we get into more of the details. What did you do before that? What do you want to do? Where are you going? What’s your family like? Why don’t you…? When did you decide…? What can’t you eat?! 

Personally, I love hearing a person’s story and think we should all keep sharing with each other. It allows us to connect, relate, and encourage. We learn from others and are inspired. But sometimes, the story stops us. 

We hide from our stories or get stuck on one part of it. Whether it’s a failure or a hardship, we get tired of sharing that story yet feel it’s the only true story to tell. We convince ourselves that we’re lying if we don’t include it, so we either avoid people altogether or share more than we should. Instead of connecting, relating, and encouraging, we drown out the rest of our story with just one part of it. 

So often in our minds we let a section, sentence, or chapter of our lives become THE story.  For example, I could just be the girl who has allergies or the girl who has had a weird string of job troubles (or a number of other unfortunate things). At certain points in my life, that felt like all I would ever be or at least, all I seemed to talk about. Admittedly, those things used to take up a lot of my time and energy and understandably so. During said seasons when I was trying to figure out my health or trying to find a job it was miserable and exhausting. But I couldn’t figure out how to be anything other than that struggle. 

The trick is to learn to tell your story without getting caught up in all of the subplots. I’m not saying you need to run from your story or ignore the parts that weren’t pretty. The hardships do have impact, but they do not have to be the only story we tell with our words or actions. Your story keeps moving if you let it.

Maybe you are in the thick of a subplot or maybe you don’t know what you want your story to be about. We’ve all been damaged, lost, hopeless, and heartbroken. Don’t let that stop you from living out an incredible story. There’s so much more in store–there’s more to the story than just this chapter. You have a bigger story to tell.