Day 27 AM – 300 Steps to Greatness

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Last night I decided what I was going to blog about today. Just before jumping on the WordPress page to post, I saw a tweet from the beloved Shawna Marie. I went over to her Blog Talk Radio Show Page and although she was already 15 minutes into the show – she was speaking about the EXACT subject of my post today at PRECISELY the moment I joined the show.

She then invited me to call in and the ensuing conversation was nothing short of inspiring.  Click here to listen to “Staying The Course”.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron again last week.  The reading for the first week addresses the subject of “monsters” or those things that frighten us, crippling our ability to be creative.

One of the exercises if for us to think back on those people and situations which indelibly printed a message of fear in our minds and hearts.

Since this is my third time reading the book, I’ve always come up with the same stories and after chatting with a fellow writer  (YES, you ARE a writer!) and member of this group, I had an epiphany.

Each time when I previously read the book, I thought of my mother.  She modeled a life for me during my teenage years of self-sacrifice.  However, it wasn’t balanced and self-sacrifice turned upside down is the doorway to abuse.  Self-abuse, by not taking care of your needs, not fulfilling your purpose, not living up to your dreams leads others to believe that you don’t matter, you are not worthy and they will begin to treat you in such a way.  It may not manifest itself as abuse, but, the truth is that Jesus did not call ANY of us to martyrs.  While it is grand and noble to spend every waking moment of our lives in servitude to others, a few hundred years ago, we would have referred to that as slavery, and rightly so.

Previously, I focused on the things I had been told, that crippled me with fear about writing.  This time, I focused on the things that weren’t said, but modeled for me.  I thought more about the experiences that left an imprint and an aversion to fun and making my dreams a reality.

I believe, as Julia Cameron that we are ALL born creative beings.  I know this, because we were created by a God who said “Let there be” and there was.  We were, more importantly, created in his image and his likeness.

Have you ever noticed that babies, often before they can talk start to hum and sing?  Do you remember being a child and drawing pictures so your parent could hang them on the refrigerator?  Perhaps you were a child who loved bedtime stories and even made up a few of your own?

What happened to that inner child?

Some where along the way, you were told or shown that being creative was just for play.  Having fun was not nearly as important as the drudgery of work.  By the time we enter elementary school, our “recess” or play time gets reduced so significantly that our inner child begins to view it as optional and not a necessity.  We move on to having “play dates” only on the weekend and the stage is set.  We understand that work is drudgery and a necessary part of our lives.  We have to learn to make time for play.

Play has been defined as enjoyment of activity.  Why are we taught that in order to make a living we need to pursue activities that we do not enjoy?

Something within us is damaged.  It slowly begins to wilt and wane.

IT’S STILL THERE.  You’ve heard that whisper, you’ve felt that urge.  You haven’t told anyone how excited you REALLY get when you walk into a bookstore.  No one REALLY understands how you can anticipate the next chord or the next lyric to a song you’ve never heard before.  You are ashamed to admit that just walking into the paper section at Staples gets you excited.  The smell of paint and the site of a brush makes you want to escape on canvas.  You keep your mouth shut at times when you have so much more to add to the conversation.

UNLEASH IT. It’s not dead.  Go to a movie ALONE.  Go to a concert ALONE.  Pull out a pen and paper ALONE.  Open up a sketch pad and draw something ALONE.  Whatever it is that is stirring up in you as your read this – take some time TODAY to do it ALONE. DO IT TODAY. Whatever you want to PLAY, I’m giving you permission to do it! (NO TAKE BACKSIES!)

Once you have done it ALONE – then write how you felt.  I know it sounds corny, but, I want you to write how you felt in the moment of HAVING FUN and doing what you wanted to do.  Remember when you were a kid and came in the house after playing with your friends?  You just HAD to tell someone.  No matter how busy your mom was cooking, you felt like you would BURST if you didn’t share your joy with someone else.  Come to momma – even if you need to write it on the blog under a fake name.  It doesn’t matter.

Now, just because you know you need to capture the moment, don’t FORCE the moment.  Don’t set out to write a complete story or finish an entire painting.  Whatever your play activity is – the most important thing is to have FUN – I want you to capture the FUN, not necessarily the activity.

So it doesn’t matter what you do or how much of it you do.  Do it as long as it’s FUN! Even if you only write a paragraph.  Even if you didn’t complete your sketch.  Even if you couldn’t get to a concert, so you just listened to your favorite song on FULL BLAST and sang out loud in the shower while your spouse went out to the store!  Capture that moment!

And then, I want you to make it a habit, for the rest of this week, to read what you wrote.  Reflect back on the moment. EVERY DAY, when you wake up in the morning, go into the bathroom or another private place – READ THE NOTE and look in the mirror.  Feel the smile on your face.  Shed tears if you must.  But, I need for YOU to relive THAT moment as often as possible.  EVERY NIGHT, just before you go to bed, relive the moment.  If you post it here – come back, I promise, if you post it here – I will come back and encourage you daily.  JOY IS CONTAGIOUS!

DON’T SHARE THE MOMENT WITH ANYONE ELSE!  If you MUST share it, come to this blog and share.  But, don’t share it with anyone that you see on a daily basis.

Watch what happens.

Meet me here next Sunday and share the results.   I want to celebrate YOU and celebrate with you. Then we can take the next step together 🙂

Let’s SMASH those monsters together 🙂

Thanks so much to Jeneen for the chat yesterday and for being willing to work with me in monster slaying!

Thanks so much to my sister from another mister, (JESUS!) Shawna Marie for keeping me inspired and focus!

My goal for today is to PLAY!!!

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3 thoughts on “Day 27 AM – 300 Steps to Greatness

  1. Nee Nee

    Wow! I didn’t realize I wrote so much! Oops… this is your blog, right? Not mine. Oh. *heeheehee*

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    • Haha – I love your enthusiasm. Consider your comments here practice for your own blog!

      Yes, our inner child needs to come out and play more. I’m working on that. It’s difficult for me, because I’m blessed to have made my work and play be the same. The lines get blurred for me and even my son sees me on the computer and says I NEVER stop working.

      Your comment has inspired me with new ways. I’m going to make it my goal to pick up a board game, go roller skating and find an indoor go-cart track. I’m going to go to the arcade. And I’m going to have FUN. I’m going to make sure I do something outside of my work that constitutes FUN at least once every month. NO MATTER WHAT. It really is essential. That’s why I’m able to blog about it, because it’s a struggle that I understand.

      HAVE FUN!

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  2. Nee Nee

    Good morning Sunshine! OMG! I am smiling at the thought of being a child and of unadulterated fun. I remember running in the house, out of breath, telling my mom about my “adventures” (I couldn’t even leave the block at that time! LOL!) and her eventual response, “Girl, you smell like outside! Go get washed!” Not until I became a parent did I experience the smell of “outside” but I remember the feeling that came with getting to that statement. I said the same to my son as he was growing up but I appreciated that he also had that experience of fun as a child.

    As time goes on, we have to become responsible adults but, I agree, somewhere in there enjoyment is lost to work. When I would talk to the teenagers I used to work with or to my son and his friends about career choices I would always ask them what they enjoy doing and then we would explore careers in that area. “What could you do for the next 20 years whether you got paid or not?” I do believe we should enjoy what we do.

    I will be the first to admit that my career is not my passion. I had my child early in life so my focus was providing for him. Its okay for me to be a “starving artist” on my own but it was not okay for him to “starve” with me. So I encouraged others. Live your dream! I am, now, working toward living my own.

    I love hanging out with me so hanging out ALONE is not a problem for me… its a problem for everyone else who also wants to hang out with me or needs my time for something for themselves. Many people do not understand ME time or respect others’ need for ME time. FUN is not in the vocabulary of many adults. I suggested that a few co-workers go to the indoor go-kart track or go roller skating and overwhelmingly the response was “I’m too old…”. I’m with you. Have some fun! Release those endorphins so your “work” work will be a bit easier.

    Someone, at work, asked me why I’m always smiling (I was probably telling myself a joke at the time) but I said to him, “Because it keeps me young!” So, have your fun today and write about it. Keep it with you throughout the week, it’ll be like carrying around a smile, because you will surely smile when you recall your Sunday Funday!

    And,TWC, anytime, sis! I will suit up for monster slaying with you any day! I took the words of Ms. Shepherd to heart “Run towards the thing you fear the most.” So, I’m working on that!

    I had some fun last night at my uncle’s party so today there will be chores to do. Other than laundry, my goals for today are:
    1. Review and re-prioritize my goals. (I’m a visual learner so I have to make a big picture to look at daily.)
    2. Read Week 2 of The Artist’s Way
    3. Write a blog/give a writing goal update
    4. Go to the toy section of a store and get a game I saw on a commercial (I think its called Ratuki… and its for ME!)

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