Maybe I can’t do everything, but I can do something!

Sep 14, 2015

Maybe I can’t do everything, but I can do something!

Category | Choosing Pleasure,

Years ago I remember a naked summer swim in a large, beautiful, and very private lake in the wilds of Quebec, with a couple of friends.  I don’t remember what inspired my outburst, but I do remember feeling very expansive and shouting into the wide, open sky above, with great fervor and gusto “I want to have it all”.  I often have a really good chuckle with my younger self, because back then I truly believed that was possible!  For years I would expend great amounts of energy trying to have it all and do it all. But I’ve learned that as enjoyable as those expansive sentiments can be, pleasure and fulfillment don’t necessarily come with volume.

And here it is end of week three of the 100 day creative commitment and I notice even now how my exuberant spirit chafes at the invitation in this creativity challenge to confine one’s self to one simple creative focus.  My friend Anne seems perfectly content and motivated to paint a peach a day for 100 days – albeit different mediums - but the same old peach.  Another woman is exploring the theme of groundedness – for 100 days!! And another exploring patterns daily.  Just one thing – hum. 

My commitment and exploration is to meditate each day and open to the call of my creative spirit and allow that call to support me to live my life more creatively; and most days to confine my creative expression to writing.  Its assessment time, since one of the hoped for outcomes from this commitment is to establish a regular writing practice, and to be able to legitimately call myself a writer! 

What I observe is that the daily meditation that is no problem.  Even hearing the call of spirit and responding – quite well.  What I’m noticing is that I’m enjoying my day-to-day life A LOT more.  There’s way more flow, which to me means I’m in the creative zone.  There’s a greater ease to incorporating the things I really like to do in the day, versus what I tell myself I “have to do”.  In life there just are some “have to dos” and its interesting, from this 100 days commitment, I not experiencing the usual struggle between the two. Some how time is stretching out? In my experience it’s another indicator of being in the creative zone.  Can there literally be more hours in the day?

And I’m enjoying reflecting and writing about the process as it unfolds.  I love the random spontaneous impulses that present themselves, regularly punctuated throughout the day.  And I’m following them.  AND I’m also noticing how I can get distracted by all that, and how it’s harder for me to, dare I say discipline myself, to sit and capture what’s happening in writing. 

The phrase you can’t do everything but you can do something keeps popping into my head.  I’m also reminded of a snippet of a poem from Mary Oliver’s When Death Comes – When its over I don’t want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular and real. 

I talk to my exuberant younger self and patiently tell her – “to make something particular and real you do have to bring a focus and some times its more satisfying to actually do something, than frantically trying to do everything, and perhaps to risk not enjoying any of it.”  She’s quietly listening. 

So what are the lessons learned from creativity that support pleasure?  Less can be more and slow often gets me to where I want to be faster, or at least in a more pleasurable fashion!  Pleasure comes from being in the moment, being in the flow, when time stretches out and each aspect can be savored.  This is the practice in this 100-day commitment. 

Please share what you have learned from creativity, that supports pleasure? 

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“Forefront Psychotherapy ​had Madeline ​p​resent a morning workshop called ​​ Unlock ​Pleasure for our counselling centre’s open house. Her presentation was innovative and captivating. She brought forward the information in a way that appealed to new and seasoned therapists alike. Her presentation style put the audience at ease and she ​kept each one of us captivated for the duration of her talk. We would highly recommend Madeline to any group looking for a speaker.”

Forefront Psychotherapy, Ottawa, Canada - Fall 2014