“What would happen to your life today if you could eliminate everything from it that didn’t ‘ring’ true to who you are and to your deepest convictions and loves?”
Deborah Deford posed the above question in her book The Simpler Life and I was intrigued.
What would happen if I dissolved my time soakers? The things that keep me busy, but don’t fill me with a personal sense of purpose?
Perhaps it is time to find out.
I suffer from creative guilt. I love the creative process, whether it is writing or sewing a new purse or thrift store shopping to find something to tweak to add character to our vacation suite. Like many closet artists, none of my creative processes contribute financially to the household. None.
To compensate, I find myself saying “yes” or signing up for freelance jobs that inflate our chequing account, but deplete my curious energy. I feel like I have enough juice to get through the daily demands but not enough to extend myself to what I want to do. In short, I’m busy but not creative.
I need a change.
You may have heard of Stephen Covey’s (author of First Things First) prioritization system. He stresses the need for us to differentiate the truly important from the merely urgent with a demonstration called “Big Rocks.” In summary, Covey takes out a bucket (which symbolizes our life), a few big rocks (which symbolize our important priorities), and a bunch of small pebbles (which symbolize the urgent, busy tasks that aren’t important). He pours pebbles into a bucket and then asks a volunteer to fit in all the big rocks afterwards. Impossible. Lesson learned.
I’ve lately been evaluating items in my life. Is it a rock? A pebble? Do I want it in my jar? I have started reducing the problematic pebbles.
I can’t be afraid to have time to self-reflect. It’s okay to focus on my creative spirit. It’s okay to be unbusy. In fact, I could do with a bit of boredom; time and energy to give undistracted time and focus on what is in my heart.
It’s an important step in the ever-occurring self-development loop. As we gather new information, we seek ways to merge it into our lives. It’ the first step of a journey that reflects what is important to me. To what I value. It’s not an overnight stay or a weekend away. It’s a complete move to a richer, more intense life.
Put another way, I’m about to embark on a creative journey. I just need to – my bags.