“Don’t wait for the perfect moment;
take the moment and make it perfect.”
— Author Unknown
It’s minutes shy of 6:00 am.
The morning sun begins to dance in golden streams across my floor, and I savor the stillness as I settle in to start my day. Cupping a perfectly foamed latte, I sit down to my desk ready to pour the idea in my head out onto my keyboard, when a loud crash breaks the blissful silence.
I investigate to find my son has scaled the kitchen counters to treat himself to a morning bowl of cereal. He’d done a fine job until it came time to pour the milk in. A full carton too heavy for his little hands, he’d lost his grip and the bowl, its sugary contents, and the entire gallon of milk now coat everything within a 6-foot radius.
And just like that, my writing plans are foiled again.
Selfishly, my heart sinks a little. I’m really not sure when I’ll find another window of time to write.
With a five and seven-year-old, a million little messes like this happen on any given day, and I do my best to respond with patience and love. To remind myself that the way I react will teach them how to respond to their own upsets in life.
I have to confess, however, on days where I haven’t accomplished something for myself, I sometimes find it difficult to respond compassionately to anyone. It’s like the frustration (at myself, at a difficult situation, at everything!) bubble up in my body like a pressure cooker, and it just needs somewhere to go.
Rationally, I can process that raising small humans is important work. But logic doesn’t speak the same language as repressed emotion and the feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing in a day, in a week, in a month. Parenting efforts often feel invisible and all my energy absorbed into the abyss of daily demands and a large portion of “my work,” goes unnoticed and uncompensated.
As a young mother, I came across this quote from Brené Brown, and the truth of it came crashing down on me so profoundly, it brought me to tears.
Unused creativity is not benign–it metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgement, sorrow, shame. We are creative beings. We are by nature creative. It gets lost along the way. It gets shamed out of us.
It gets shamed out of us.
Let me read that again.
It gets shamed out of us.
Who am I to take this time to write?
To just be?
To do anything just for the joy of it.
There are deadlines to meet. There are dishes to be done. There is laundry to fold. There are conflicts to diffuse. There are kisses to be given on skinned up knees and bedtime stories to be read. There are meetings to attend. Soccer carpooling to coordinate. Reports to write.
The list is endless.
Finding Time for Creativity
How can I find time to indulge my creativity? To play with that poem that’s been bouncing around my head, or reupholster that chair I found at the thrift store, or play with my watercolors just because I love the way the water pools on the paper when I drag my brush across the page?
The truth is I won’t find it. And neither will you. We have to give ourselves permission to make the time. We actually have to create the space just because it’s fun and fills our creative cup.
There’s a simple practice I’ve learned I can access anytime I start to feel the unused or wasted creativity start to bubble up inside me — a journal.
Over the years I’ve evolved the process, adding paint and other mediums, but the key ingredients have always been simple: me, a notebook, a writing instrument and my swirling head.
I list my swirling head separately from “me,” because I truly believe we are not our thoughts. If we don’t separate ourselves from them, they can threaten to consume us.
My journal is the safe place where I can confide my weaknesses and messy humanity. Where I can scream out what I really wanted to say. My journal becomes the place where I have the time and space to reflect and rewrite my story making me the person I aim to be, vs the person I’m capable of being on any given day.
I read once that we can spend all day trying to avoid or deny an emotion, but that if we acknowledge and identify said feeling, it takes a mere 90 seconds for that emotion to move through our body. Done. Honored and released. I like that.
Life is filled with moments where we feel like we’ve failed, or we’ve fallen short. And yet, there’s no time to sit around and mope about how we wish we’d done things. Our loved ones need us, and it’s no secret we’re the rock everyone else leans on, making it imperative we create our our own fortress. For me this is my journal.
“I merely took the energy it took to pout, and wrote some blues.”
What a beautiful reminder that creativity is the magic wand that can help us transform anything into a thing of beauty. Whether it’s pain, sadness, frustration–whatever–it’s all energy and we can shape it into the tonic our soul needs.
Hope and possibility live on the blank pages of my journal.
There’s no pressure to be good, to be right, to be anything other than what I am. It’s for my eyes only. And if there’s something I create in there that seems to good to keep to myself, I gently coax it out to the rest of the world, in my own time.
Below are a few pages from my art journals. Some are beautiful, some are not. And it doesn’t matter, because my journals are for my eyes only. And when I create something in there that’s too good to keep to myself, I gently coax it out into the world in my own time.
Brené’s wisdom (or shall we call it a warning) of unused creativity metastasizing was the permission slip I needed to allow myself to nurture my creative urges, and trust that the time spent will be returned to me in dividends of feel good and joy.
United in the magic and miracles of creativity,
Tiffiney Lozano is a writer, mama, diehard mountain girl, lover of adventure, purveyor of truth, and believer in possibilities. Together with her husband, she runs a boutique videography business and spends her time telling stories that connect us to what it means to be human. She offers creative workshop for women seeking to reconnect with themselves and the world around them.
P.S. Interested in learning more about the power of your stories to create a life of resilience, connection, and meaning? Click here check out my upcoming Write Into Joy workshops to learn how to build resilience and joy through journaling & reflecting.