There are things to be done, people, things to be done.
In fact, there is a long, long list of those things.
So long that I can’t even see the end of it. It just stretches out there, into oblivion, and it boggles at my mind.
So long that it cramps my style. Maybe even my life. Like, you know, what I was intended to do kind of stuff.
But that list…golly.
I mean, golly, Jess, why?!
Yes, things to be done.
Like what? You might ask. I mean, I might ask myself too. Because they are my things. My things that get in the way of what I really really want to do.
- the laundry (and before you say leave it–you can’t leave pee soaked sheets just lying around. Well, you could, but it wouldn’t end well for anyone)
- the dishes (that need to be clean for dinner tonight. Why are they always hungry?!)
- the bathroom (is that pee I see on the floor again?! For the love!!!)
- the baby needs a diaper change (put a cork in it dear, I’m done!)
- the making of dinner (see dishes)
- the buying of milk (see the baby needs a diaper change)
- the laundry (again?! see pee on the floor again, baby needs a diaper change, and dinner)
Yep, never ending cycle. When do I get off?
Sometimes I envision the merry-go-round in my head and it makes me dizzy.
Oh, did I mention my husband works out of town? That it’s all me, 24/7?
All day, every day?
Mano a mano?
Yes, me against myself every day of the ever-loving week.
You see, this has been hard for me. My soul longs to create. It’s what I long for. It’s those dreams that drive me. But I find, oh do I ever find, that there’s no where to park this car.
And I really do wonder about this need to create. It’s somewhere in my blood and bones, and not just a thought that I picked up somewhere in outer space. My mom is an artist. My aunt is an artist. My uncle is an artist. My cousins all indulge. My son is an artist. My brothers too. It’s a part of me, just like my heart is.
It’s this inner urge that has been given to me.
But there isn’t much left over to create when the deeds are long and the day is short.
And then, last night, something happened to me. Something glorious and grand. Something that held the key. It held the key to redemption.
Redemption from all of that drudgery I carefully listed above. That long list of cyclical things that are always there, lurking and sneaking, ready to sap all that I have to offer.
While putting the baby to bed, I scrolled through Facebook. As redemption goes, that doesn’t sound so uplifting. But it wasn’t the scrolling that did the trick. It was a message I found there that unlocked my brain and told me a secret.
One of the main reasons I love Facebook and would never give it up, even though I am daily tempted, is the connection it gives me with family that I would otherwise never know. As someone who comes from a family that was torn apart years before I ever came along, it has been a marvel to find, and get to know, relatives that are so abundantly like me, yet so far away.
It is so crazy to find we think and act alike, and value deeply the same things, yet have never even met.
And so it was last night. My long lost cousin shared with me a message so game-changing, so paradigm-shifting, I think it just about blew my mind. (Thank you Lisa Sawitsky, you angel girl, you!)
I’m going to share it with you, because, if you are anything like me, you are stuck in a rat race too, and can’t find the way out. (This Facebook post, the quote and image, was originally posted by Byron Bay Red Tent).
Artist: Helen Frankenthaler circa 1956
“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write… and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectabilty) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés
This says it all.
It speaks right down to my blood and my bones. It sings to my creative heart.
We get so caught up in “shoulds” that we forget about the “needs”.
And I very much stand by that word need. It is my very strong belief that creating something is intrinsic to who we are as humans. Yes, yes, the quote speaks of women and domestic drudgery. But even men fall prey to false notions of loyalty to anyone but themselves.
You see, humans have always been creating. We have been creating since time immemorial. At first, our works of art were needful and helped us to survive. As time passed and our crude works of art improved our lives, our creations allowed us to have better control of our time and space. We could focus on creating for beauty, and not just brawn.
And what glorious art did we create!
We created to celebrate life, fertility, daring, deeds, deity, family, love, and anything under the sun. And even things above the sun.
Every time I stop and remember what others have left behind, I marvel at just how amazing two hands can be. At what our minds can envision.
And that’s what gets me.
What are my two hands supposed to create? What can only my brain envision?
And why, GollyJess, why, haven’t I allowed myself that chance?
This quote, with my own insertions, is perfect in it’s assertion that:
“…A [person] must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectabilty) to steal [one’s] necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. [We] simply must put [our] foot down and say no to half of what [we] believe [we] “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
Don’t get too caught up in the rat race to forget about creation.
Creation allows us to fit ourselves into the fabric of our surroundings.
It leaves a mark.
What we create, we leave behind.
It is my very strong belief that, in our very consumer driven society, our very consumption of things that don’t last masks our very desperate need to create something that does.
Before mass production, if we wanted something, it was left up to us to provide. To this day, archaeologists find the leftovers of loving crafted objects not just used for display, but for life itself. And the thing that gets me every time–everything was created by hand.
It’s obvious I put a lot of weight into hand crafted creations, because that is something that beckons me.
But people, crafting is anything you can create using any tool you can find. And anything can be a tool. Your hands, your body, your brain, instruments, or computer programs.
Crafting can also involve other people. Perhaps your strength is to unite strangers into friends. Maybe you were a born leader. Maybe you are a peacemaker. Whatever it is you do that creates something the lasts, that is what you were put here to do.
And I think mass consumption, and a preoccupation with the perception of perfection (like you know, maybe endless cleaning?), robs us of our determination to create something from nothing.
Yes, creating goes on all day long. And mass production is creation on a vast scale. But what is the driving force behind that creation?
What is the why?!
I urge you to look inward. What is it you do that breathes life into your soul? What is it you would do if it breathed life into your soul? And then, go and do it.
Don’t make it about money.
Make it about you.
The you who was put here to create things that last. Things that don’t cost money.
Because of this I am certain: you cannot buy happiness, you can only create it.
The joy of creating is in the journey. The learning and the becoming something more. Of creating something of yourself that is left behind.
I used to create a lot.
And then I felt like I didn’t have the time.
Because my house wasn’t as clean as I liked it to be.
Over time, I began to feel like a part of me was…gone.
But I think I am beginning to understand now. The spark that gives me life, and you life, and him and her, it’s creating. Creating something from nothing. Organization from chaos.
Without any thought for gain.
Just for the pure joy of going on that creative journey.
And that is where the paradigm shifts for me. I’m glad I took some time from my rat race last night to mindlessly scroll through Facebook. Because it left me with more than wasted time.
Much more in fact–the permission to fill my time with things worth while. Things that last. Things that I need more. Things only I can create.