I have been incredibly fortunate in where I have landed in the latest rendition of my work life. I work with a group of people that makes the work day a great deal of fun. My co-workers are people who I admire and consider as friends, and I still can’t get over my good fortune at having arrived where I am.
Having so often worked in situations where this was not the case, I find myself constantly watching the group dynamics and the individual interactions to try to discover the secret of what makes this group so different so I can do what I can to make sure the goodness lasts. I think there are several reasons why this group works so well—some that may be unique to this group, some that aren’t.
I tend to be a bit hard on myself. (OK, OK, I tend to be a lot hard on myself, but that’s beside the point for this post.) One of the things that I’ve found myself often criticizing myself for recently is the diversity of creative ideas and projects that I am engaged in.
I write. I make jewelry in an ever-increasing number of styles, techniques, and materials. I crochet several very different kinds of items. I make a number of homemade versions of cleaners and bath and body products. I am re-engaging with woodworking. I’m playing with ideas for re-using and upcycling various materials that would otherwise be waste. I cook in more creative and less recipe-dependent ways all the time. And I’m constantly investigating new possibilities for creative work, like polymer clay, basket weaving, and metal working.
Talk about scattered! How can I ever expect to become any good at any of these if I am dabbling at them all? (At least, that’s what my inner critic keeps saying to me …)
A few years ago, I was going through a difficult time and my world seemed unusually challenging. On top of that, my hard drive failed, and I lost quite of bit of my writing that I had not backed up elsewhere: several years worth of poems, essays, novels-in-progress. I was devastated particularly by the loss of a couple of poems that had been particularly meaningful to me.
I wrote the poem below during this time as a reminder to myself that laughter is best way to brighten my world when all seems gloomy and as reminder that I can always write more poems. I had forgotten all about this one until I found it scribbled on the back of a sheet of paper in a drawer tonight, and it reminded me once again about the need to find more reasons to laugh.
I am finding that the more accepting I am of myself, the more readily I laugh. The more I allow myself to play with my creative side, the easier it is for laughter to bubble to the surface. The more I embrace life, the more joy wells up and overflows as laughter. I am slowly rediscovering laughter, and I love it!
“The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” ~Carl Jung
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creativity and how it works. The initial impetus behind this line of thinking was my efforts at developing writing ideas—both the daily ideas necessary to find something to blog about and the more important task of giving birth to bigger writing projects to focus my efforts on.
So I’ve been reading about creativity in Jonah Lehrer’sImagine: How Creativity Works. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s teaching me a great deal about how to create better conditions for my creativity to thrive. (It’s a thoroughly fascinating book that I highly recommend, by the way. Look for a more in-depth book review soon once I’ve finished reading it.)
But a really odd thing has happened as I’ve been focusing on my creativity the last couple of weeks.