Failed Book Clubs & Found Creativity
Hello Friend. I trust you’ve boogied right into the New Year and are enjoying your winter or summer, depending on where you fall in the hemispheres.
As I sit with tea in hand, enjoying California’s first storm of the season, I’d like to share a story about creativity.
It all started a few months back, when a group of girlfriends and I started a bookclub. Mainly, we did it as an excuse to make concrete plans- between our varying schedules, distant locations, and diverse lifestyles, the five of us rarely see each other.
Quite honestly, we should’ve just set a date to catch up. The reason being, I showed up to our first official “meeting” and was the only one to have read Brené Brown’s Gifts of Imperfection in its entirety. (To be frank, it was a little slow- I only finished it because I assumed the other ladies already had. Apparently, no one else had this concern… As a side note, I still haven’t outgrown those nightmares about not turning in my homework.)
Regardless of our book club’s lackluster integrity and accountability (ladies, if you’re reading this, I still love you), lurking in the final pages were some amazing gems. It just took some digging (and lots of foundational definitions) to find them.
Brené’s chapter on creativity alone was worth trudging through her years of research. In fact, this section stopped me in my tracks. Mainly, this quote here:
“The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.”
Whhaaaat? I had to re-read it. And then again. And then I read it like it had periods between each word.
Finally, I got it.
I loved it so much that I read a few extra lines to the students in one of my vinyasa classes:
“It’s so easy to take our eyes off our path to check out what others are doing and if they’re ahead or behind us. Creativity, which is the expression of our originality, helps us stay mindful that what we bring to the world is completely original and cannot be compared. And, without comparison, concepts like ahead or behind or best or worst lose their meaning.”
(Take a moment; let that sink in.) I want to bold that entire paragraph.
I never considered myself a creative person until I started teaching yoga. I had gotten bogged down in the microscopic world of become-a-doctor-or-a-lawyer, I had stopped creative writing altogether, and the only books on my shelf were hideously heavy text books that would have been better used to keep a tent from flying away, rather than for readability or enjoyment.
Things shifted in 2012. I went to an advanced yoga teacher training in New York City, at Laughing Lotus (one of my favorite places on earth). Early in the training, the founder/lead instructor asked who had a home practice. Crickets… I remember her follow up comment clearly: “If you don’t have a home practice, whose practice are you teaching?” I could read between the lines: Fraud.
This was one of the biggest transitions in my life.
When I returned from the Big Apple, I started rolling out my mat every single morning. I began moving- without the expectation of trying to be or move like anyone else. I was unlearning. And I was practicing how to be me.
Still to this day, designing my sequences through pen on paper, and feeling each transition in my body, is what makes me thrive. Every time I show up for class, I am teaching my personal practice in hopes of inspiring a spark of creativity in each student: how will they choose to move, add on, scale back, and honor their body, within this sequence?
Still, there are many more places in my life where I am “teaching other people’s sequences”, so to say. There are innumerable instances where I am following packed footsteps in snow and need to risk sinking into the drift to make my mark. Otherwise, I will forever be deepening the prints left in front of me.
The areas I am currently exploring are my writing and poetry, and even my workouts at the gym. I’m presently trying to unlearn what I’ve understood as the norm, in an effort to find my personal pizzazz.
So? Now it’s your turn. I’d love to know… How are you nurturing your creativity?
Don’t gloss over this and fall prey to a huge misconception: there are creative people and there are non-creative people. This just isn’t the case. Instead, there are people partially or fully expressing their creativity, and then there are those of us who are suffocating our originality with all of the metaphorical textbook-tent-stakes in the world.
Because I know you are an insanely rad person, I took the liberty of jotting down a (fairly random) list that may help ignite your creativity. Note: this is not about being artsy-fartsy, it’s about doing something with your hands or your mind or your body that will force you to step out of that trampled footpath.
If anything, print out this newsletter and make a paper plane- when was the last time you did that?
Let me know how it goes.
Happy creating friends!
P.S. If you are looking for a new book club, because your current group holds you accountable, we have space. ;)
Kacey’s random list of creative things:
1. Start a straightforward journaling practice – pour things that are bouncing around in your head onto paper. Use bullet points, full sentence, or scribbles. This simple act can be a profound way to free up mental space. If it evolves from there, great. If not, that’s great, too.
2. Write a letter to a friend (yes, pen pals are so in!). Give them a recap of 2017 as if you are sitting down and enjoying a cup of tea together. Openly share the ups and downs. You may be surprised how easily thoughts spill onto paper when you’re “talking” to a friend. (If you need somewhere to send this, my mailing address is below!)
3. Pick up that camera, pencil, paintbrush, hammer, instrument, etc. Go do something with it.
4. Revisit a project on one of your Pinterest boards. (Those pallets are calling your name… still…)
5. What offbeat things did you do as a kid? Can you revisit one of those passions to inspire a childlike sense of wonder? (I used to tie flies with my dad prior to fly-fishing trips; I also collected and wore a wide assortment of hats, and sketched Friesian horses.)
6. Sign up for a writing, art, photography, acting, or improv class through your local community. (The latter is something I’ve wanted to do for a while to improve my off-the-cuff public speaking. It’s truly awful…)
7. Write a memoir so future generations will always have a piece of you. (How great would it have been if a family member who recently passed had written down some of the stories that went untold?)
8. Along those same lines, interview a friend or family member and ask them about those stories; capture it on film. (My dad did this with two of my grandparents who are no longer living. They told stories about World War II, growing up on a farm in Ohio, their parents and grandparents, and much more. These mementos will be cherished for many generations to come.)
9. Make random lists… the more outlandish, the better. If you never make space for the wild and extreme, you probably won’t find the extraordinary. Here are a few ideas:
Make a list of 10 things you’d invent if resources weren’t a concern.
Make a list of 10 businesses you’d start.
Make a list of 10 books you’d enjoy writing.
Make a list of 10 classes you’d like to take, whether at an art school, a local university, a community college, or a dance academy.
10. Finally, make up number ten!
Don’t get bogged down by all of these options. They are simply to remind you that ideas are infinite and creativity is an unlimited resource.
Ahhh, yes grasshopper.