Wow! Time really is flying by!
We have now reached the middle of August, the kids (in Scotland at least) are back at school and before you can say – “put the heating on”, we will be racing towards Christmas and the dark winter nights.
So don’t forget to take a few moments each day just to appreciate all the great things in your life – something I have been reminded of myself these past few days.
You see, after taking on the challenge of sorting the 24,000 photos on my iPod during lockdown last year, I made a commitment to sort and file on a much more frequent basis.
Now I make time more regularly to move all the photos from a given month into a new folder, and spend a few days sorting, deleting, cropping, and ‘auto improving’ where necessary. Next, I upload them all to Dropbox, sort to folders by event and then ‘cull’ to a maximum of 100 photos per month and upload those to PhotoBox – from which I will select images for my Photobook for the year. Occasionally I may also print some out to put in frames around my home.
This week, I have been working on JULY photos. And what has struck me most in this process is just how easy it is to take things for granted. To ‘forget’ all of the great – often small – things happening in our lives every day and to focus only on the bigger things.
So many of the things I had done or people I met in July had already slipped my mind – and it’s only a few short weeks ago. And I don’t mean I forget because I have a terrible memory (I will admit, it’s not as good as it used to be) but rather, because life moves at such a pace that we – and I am guilty too, barely take a moment to breathe and appreciate the smaller moments.
Yes of course, my visit to Culzean castle stands out, and all the fun day trips with my nephew Logan. But there are so many other special moments and events that (without my photos), would simply have passed me by. Lunch with dear friends where we had a great chat with the waiter and laughed so hard when I bravely tried the oysters (yuk). My solo and spontaneous drive to Stobo Castle. Fish & chips at the beach and so many other small details from the Fife Coastal trip with my friend Elly. Experiencing the sun on my face as I walked the beautiful river walkway in Peebles on a trip to Neidpath Castle. And even starting Italian lessons with 2 of my friends.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘doing’, that we often forget how to BE.
So easy to think about things we want to do in the future, that we overlook all of the amazing things are happening right now. So easy to focus on things we want to buy, or to achieve, that we forget to appreciate what we already have.
I do have a gratitude practice, but as I worked through the photos from July, it brought it home that perhaps I have let the process slip and need to make the time to do so more consistently.
Will you join me?
To take a few moments at the end of each day just to appreciate all that you ARE, that you HAVE, and what you appreciate most about the day almost gone.
As I said before, it’s not simply that my mind is a sieve, and I can’t remember a thing… but rather that we tend to move so quickly on to the ‘next thing’ that we don’t make the time to appreciate the special moments that occur every single day. Thank goodness I DO take photos all the time because it was fabulous to revisit all of those experiences again and to be reminded of just how much JOY there is in my life.
The other thing that has been on my mind recently relates to creativity.
I had made a fresh start on the Artists Way – a 12-week course designed to help reconnect you to your creativity. But only a few chapters in, I stopped. Quit.
I’m not entirely sure why but for certain, guilt played a part. Because I have been ‘away from my desk’ and enjoying so many days out during the summer, I felt guilty about allowing myself any additional time for pleasure when there are still many things to be done at home.
But you know…. You can be creative in anything you do, washing dishes, cooking, doing the housework, interacting with people. Because creativity is an approach to life, an attitude.
As grown-ups, we often neglect our creativity or relegate it to ‘hobby’ status – something we do when everything else one the list is done. But you have the right to claim your own desire to sing, dance, write, build, craft, sew, organize or decorate by simply tapping into this unknown reservoir that we each have inside of us. Suspend all judgement about who or what is supposed to be creative. When you have an idea or inspiration, write it down. If there still juice to move on it a few weeks later, move on it.
Prioritise the things that make you feel alive, joyful, creative, and happy.
It may not be something that makes money or that other people particularly approve of. And that’s OK. This is your gift to yourself. Do it for the love of it. This doesn’t apply only to the arts, but to a new business idea, redecorating your home, travelling to a faraway land, or discovering a new way to be in your personal relationships.
Ask yourself, what your life would be like if you chose to connect with that original joy and freedom you had as a child, by giving yourself permission to create for the sake of creating. Bring that creative energy into your life, allowing yourself to plunge into something you want to do and infuse it with your joy.
Let go of any judgement that you may feel from yourself or others. You don’t need that right now. Expressing your creativity is a gift to yourself.
Here’s a few suggestions for you to try:
1. Look around at your life and see where your creativity needs to be rekindled. Notice where you are operating on ‘auto-pilot’.
Start to think of more creative ways to do things and ask yourself: is there another way to do this that will tap into my creativity?
2. Keep a notepad and pen around you. Start doodling for five minutes a day; this can open up your creative flow and help you get out of your head.
3. Visit a bookshop, a gallery, or any other place that is filled with creativity and take time to browse. Immerse yourself in the creativity of all that surrounds you. Join a creative class in any subject you love and let the group energy inspire you.
4. Make a list of creative pleasures you used to enjoy as a child and open up your imaginary world once again. You are never too old to be creative. Dare to go there!
Take back your crayons.
Relax into your creativity and experience your joy.
x Until next time, sending you love x
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