Create. Converse. Contemplate.
Like my morning cereal bits bobbing in milk, those three words keep popping up to the surface of my thoughts.
After what I can only describe as an indescribable weekend, it is those three words that delicately frame the path ahead. It was surreal being present for the opening of my first art show, surreal talking to people who had come to see my art that hung on the wall. It was deeply fulfilling and enjoyable to wake the next morning and work from morning to night, taking photographs of a film-in-progress, of artists skillfully working through their craft.
Me, in front of my exhibit at Patricia's Wellness Arts Cafe in Bloomington, Indiana.
A photo of one of the actresses from this weekend (Jessica Butler).
And now, amidst preparing the children for their return to school and trying to keep the laundry caught up, I find myself wondering : what now?
How do I continue to attract these kind of opportunities, create space for these types of conversations, and integrate these deeply fulfilling practices into what lies ahead?
I realized that the creation, conversations, and contemplations that led to these events and that were part of them, don't need to stop! Practice leads to more opportunies to practice....
So the question now, is how do I integrate these practices outside of the art show and the photography?
I share these with you for you to consider: Do these practices speak to you? What value might you find in including them in your own life?
While this can mean the more traditional "create" as in "create art everyday", as in getting my butt to the studio area whether I feel like it or not, it can also take a much different meaning.
Every moment of my life is one of creation. Preparing breakfast for the kids before school, designing my outfit for the day, even the way I walk from room to room is a creative act.
Instead of letting my mind wander as I do each mundane activity, what if I engage in it as creating?
Each action I take, no matter how new nor how routine, I want to create it. More accurately, I want to be present as I do what I do, since each action is one of creation anyway. I want to consciously create - not unconsciously drift.
While I will continue to make it a priority to get to the studio, I will also continue to practice mindful awareness of each mundane moment. (Practical techniques are too numerous to list here, but feel free to sign up for the Mindfulness Now email to get some in your inbox!) In so doing, I will choose to creatively participate in this beautiful unfolding of each and every moment.
I've always been an introvert, so this one surprises me. After over three hours of talking to people at the art show, followed by 11 hours of on-again, off-again conversations with many people I didn't know at the filming, I figured I would be exhausted. However, I left each situation feeling just as energized as I did when going in.
Thankfully, I've learned ways of being engaged with others that doesn't leave me as drained as I used to find myself. (See more on this in the note below.) Conversation now makes me feel blessed, intrigued by the wonder of each being, fascinated by the lives we lead, and connected with my conversation partner on a new level.
While conversing with others in person is becoming more and more a part of my practice (and an enjoyable one at that), conversation doesn't have to take place in-person nor even in "real time".
Conversing can mean leaving a comment on someone's blog, continuing the conversation they started with their post. Conversing can mean leaving a post on my on Facebook page an inviting others to response. Conversation can happen via a phone call to a friend or family member, or - yes, I'm admitting I do this - out loud with yourself. (I've found that sometimes, journaling just doesn't cut it. Turning on my voice recorder and having a conversation with myself while I walk around the house can bring out the most fascinating ideas!!)
A few tips for fellow introverts for remaining charged during conversations (tried and tested in my own life): Be present. Don't try to be anything other than you are. Don't enter into a conversation assuming you will leave it exhausted - simply listen, respond as needed, and repeat. If you DO get tired, it is ok to admit this and to leave - or you can take a few refreshing breaths during a pause to re-energize. Don't let the thoughts in your head be louder than the words the other person is speaking.
A gorgeous sunset we enjoyed during filming this weekend. Beautiful moments in which to contemplate...
This is an easy practice to slip through the cracks. Between all of the creating and conversing, it is easy to relegate contemplation to those few minutes as I'm falling asleep at night and the time in the shower. However, I've found that excluding this practice from my life leaves me anxious, tired, and admittedly - quite moody. (My husband will attest to this.)
Space to contemplate is crucial for me. Not only does this include formal meditation (which I try to do for at least 10 minutes a day), but space simply to reflect upon those things that stir up my soul to set it at ease. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
This might mean listening to a podcast (Good Life Project, Buddhist Geeks, The Interdependence Project, and On Being are a few of my favorites), it might mean going for a long walk, run, or drive, it might mean reading one of the many books piled on my floor, or it might mean simply sitting on the couch and looking out the window.
Continuing these practices of creation, conversation, and contemplation both excites me and taps into a deep sense of purpose and ease.
I'm curious - do these practices resonate with you as well? Leave a comment below - let's converse!!