Finding the Sweet Spot in a Creative Life
I used to be a runner. Then I stopped. As you do when life gets in the way and you start to do other things, like fall in love, go to university, have kids, experience changes in your body that stop you from this motion. I used to find the sweet spot in running, where you went from feeling like your chest might cave in and your legs do not belong to you, to that place where you feel like you are flying, just a few inches off the ground, where you find your flow. Do you know that spot? Trust me when I say that is no mean feat for a person with type 1 diabetes! And yet, I stopped.
I used to be a gym junkie. I used to spend hours stretching and lifting and pushing and dancing and striking yoga poses. I loved the feeling of pushing my body, of making it work, of using my physical energy which feeds into my emotional wellbeing and sense of peace. Then I stopped. As you do when you get injured and you can not longer do the pushing and lifting and you have no desire to do the dancing anymore. Because you are so sad.
I used to write poetry and sing and paint and read like a maniac and create stuff all the time. I used to dance like a mad woman every night with my boys after dinner. And then I stopped. As you do when you decide to do other things and social media takes over and before you know it the day has gone and you have not lifted a paintbrush, or turned a page.
I saw a lot of terrible things in my work that I chose for the first part of my life and it broke my heart. I used to be sad. A lot. And scared. And poetry and painting were often the things that stopped me being sad. Or at least helped me to deal with the sadness and the being scared.
Last year after realising I was unhealthy and needed to change, I found a renewed friendship with the gym and lost a lot of weight. Then I took a step. Then a small jog. Then a run between stobie poles (electricity poles for those outside of South Australia), then a push through the feeling of my lungs bursting out of my chest and my legs feeling like they did not belong to me. Then I began to find that sweet spot where I feel like I am flying, a few inches off the ground.
Now, I can say, I am again a runner and a gym junkie.
This experience with reigniting my relationship with my physical self has also sent me on a creative journey of late, to finding the sweet spot in a creative life. Finding what I want to do with the last half, or the next half, or the rest of, my life (depending on how you want to see it). I know that creativity is at the heart of this. I thought I had lost that somehow. It started about a year ago. Funny that, given this is also when I took those little steps.
Is it a midlife crisis? Maybe. Or, is it a midlife joy? A time of being comfortable with who I am. Of learning to say no. Focus on what matters. Take chances. Have an overview of where I have been and where I am going and how special it is and how lucky I am to have a life on this beautiful planet.
Last year after starting to run, I started this blog. I started to write. I started to read. I started to sing. I danced a little. I enrolled in Interior Design. I withdrew. I started to find my creative space. I enrolled in Interior Design again and now I feel like I am in the sweet spot with my creativity, just like with running, it feels like I am a few inches off the ground. My paints have come out. I am constantly seeing things around me that inspire me to create. I feel connected to what matters, to the meaning of life, for me.
I had the overwhelming urge to write this story today, when I realised as I was out running in the Adelaide foothills bushland, (a 5 minute jog from my house), with the monarch butterflies zipping past me in the golden yellow grasses and the blue green parrots flying by me, as soft rain fell on my face, that I NEVER stopped being creative. That if you are a creative person (and I think most of us are) then you can not stop. It is when running in fact that I get many of my creative ideas, inspirations and thoughts. The physical act of running in the sweet spot, in nature which is my number 1 inspiration, favourite music in my ear and no other person to consider, seems to switch my brain to that creative sweet spot too.
In fact, I realised, I have created in the past 20 years (just a few things):
- 3 sons
- a marriage
- a home and many versions of the interior of that home, constantly changing, rearranging, creating vignette’s, designing, fixing stuff up, painting rooms, finding treasures
- an online diabetes counselling service which is now a charity and funded by the Commonwealth Govt and employs a number of people which I manage (THAT was a very large creation and HUGE risk and chance I took, which I have not seen as a creative pursuit until just this last few days)
- lots of art and poetry (and a term of visual arts degree which I ended up deciding was not right for me and numerous short arts courses)
- sung thousands of songs (and went to singing lessons for a few years and even sang at competition level)
- this blog
- a life.
I realised, as I ran through the butterflies, that for me, there is no life without creativity. That all the steps I have taken and all the things I have done come from and to, my creativity. That all the chances I have taken, the things I have given up, the choices I have made, the things I have experienced (even the sad ones), make up a creative life. That in creating things, I am alive, I am home.
Do you have a sweet spot with your creative side?
You might like to watch this beautiful short film which shows our amazing planet earth and how we are one with it, from the perspective of people who have flown into space above us to get the overview of how fragile it is and how we must make changes and be creative as an entire world of people, to keep it alive.
I love your story, written with such enthusiasm & passion x
thank you that is gorgeous xx
Sometimes when you think you drift away from your dreams or creativity, it is only a break, to refresh and start something you never lost or stopped just rested a while.
Ask me when I was young would I have a family or take my two children on an historic adventure or live to be the creative person that I knew I could be? The answer would be no. (I never thought I would get this far in life full stop.)
At this time in my life I can sit here and say, I have a beautiful family two gorgeous young men (sons) and a priceless adorable husband who loves me and my odd ways. In turn supporting my new adventures of creativity.
My dreams are coming true although scary, but good scary I can honestly say it does help to be positive, it does help to say sorry i’m having a bad day, it does help to stop and look at the worlds around us. They are infinite.
The world of creatures, flowers, animals and the likes we learn,about daily more than we realise. The people we meant along the way are part of that good and bad.
The biggest rewards can come from the smallest and darkest spots in ones life.
Never did I dream I could draw until facing a life threatening time.
Now my artistic ways are surfacing, endless opportunities are forth coming and the avenues I’m taking are amazing.(This site is one of them)
Scary for me because of the unknown, however I live by one rule at this end of my journey and it’s simple, nothing ventured nothing gained if it doesn’t work out or people drift away so be it AT LEAST I DID IT what ever that IT MAY BE. I don’t want to sit there saying I wish I did I would rather sit there saying oh well that was great or that didn’t work what next.
We are so small in this enormous world so simply put don’t sweat the small stuff just get on with the in between stuff and stuff the rest of it.
Live is good even with disabilities seen or unseen, we are here we are doing Why who cares just do it xxxxxxxxxxx
Helen your story is beautiful and touches my heart greatly. This made me think of what really is special to me right now and that is life itself and the journey I am on. Thank you for sharing with us your thoughts and feelings and I’m glad you are the person you are, as we would never have had this wonderful site or, personally, our fabulous connection.
You have been a part of bring out the best in me and my abilities more than you know.
I love this site and your work and think you are really a special person that many of us unknown people really appreciate having in their lives.
Thank You Helen Thank You
Sandra my mum brought me a parcel today. It was a gift from you. Such a beautiful surprise! I am also excited every day about waking up to see what’s next. Thanks for your caring and support and creativity xxxxx