We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own and other’s people’s models, learn to be ourselves and allow our natural channel to open.
~ Shakti Gawain
Living a creative life sounds so good on paper, it’s such a romantic idea of a lifestyle.
But crikey, sometimes it’s hard. Really hard. Some days I just don’t want to be creative. Some days I just want to be normal, wanting what everybody else wants, with normal-seeming wants and needs, and normal-seeming things to do, and normal-seeming day-to-day activities. Which sounds dumb, I know that everyone has tough days, and that nothing is really “normal”. I just get tired some days.
Living life in a zone that lends itself to freedom and creativity and that proverbial “outside of the box” kind of lifestyle takes a certain kind of energy and zest and lust for life. What do I do if I just don’t feel the juice flowing today?
Because I have chosen to build a life that is outside of the corporate world, where we make our income on freelance jobs and gigs and not a regular W-2 kind of job, I have to deal with the stress of where’s the money going to come from if I don’t get a call for a project today? I have swapped the stress of living by some boss’s schedule and demands for the stress of having an ever-changing source of my income. I get to set my own schedule and say no to projects that don’t work for me, and I get to homeschool my children and spend time with my husband while we work together from home. But I also worry about what if a job falls through or the project ends and I don’t have something else lined up?
The lifestyle itself is creative. Creating niches and being open to a myriad of opportunities is a tremendous creative endeavor. And it’s tiring. Not the same kind of tiring that having a corporate manager for a boss takes, of course. But it is tiring and can be overwhelming and scary.
So what do I do on those days where the stress or fear or simple exhaustion seems to be bigger than the good stuff?
What I do is clean the kitchen. Or rearrange my art or school cabinets. Or gesso a bunch of art journal pages. I do something that takes little thought but has a repetitive action and allows me to meditate while still getting something done. Then I feel like I’ve accomplished something, which I need to all of the time when I’m running all of this living…but I get something done without having to think a whole bunch. And I listen to Spotify or Pandora to one of my favorite lists and let my mind wander and daydream while I do whatever task is at hand.
What I cannot afford to do is give up, say that I am stuck, say that I’m not inspired or that I don’t have it in me to live like this. I have done that before, given up, and taken on a job that I hated or that took me away from my life and then when I got depressed and realized that I had made a mistake, I had to almost start all over again. I had to rebuild my creative life and start from way behind. And I had to re-learn to let go and jump into the flowing river of life that passes me by when I hold to tight to a rock on the sidelines.
It takes a certain kind of discipline and courage to have this kind of lifestyle. It takes faith and desire and joy and optimism and practice and steadfastness.
Especially when I’m tired.