It was a new experience for my wife and I over the last two weeks of August. While we always take vacation during this time of the year (both of our birthdays fall at the end of August, some 5 days apart), it was a bit of a departure for us this time. Firstly, my wife, no longer working in the school system, was relegated to only having a few weeks of vacation to use for the year rather than having the summer off. Secondly, we opted to not take any trips this year for our vacation. This meant that we had two weeks of rest, relaxation and quiet.
I’ve always believed that the Universe provides us signs; that is, if we’re willing to look for them. As I’ve continued on my growth journey these past years, I’ve become more attuned to the messages that are being directed to me. In more recent weeks, I’ve embarked on a self-help program (for lack of better terms) with a view of resetting myself. How fitting then that the program is called Reset?
As part of the program, I am meditating regularly, writing out gratitudes daily, looking for patterns in my behaviour and seeing if I’m activating and following my values. While I’ve always considered myself an observer, I’m being much more heedful of myself and my surroundings as I work through the process. As a result, I’ve started noticing more signs, messages and synchronicities presenting themselves.
Although my grandmother passed away a few years ago now, I feel that she has been very present among her grandchildren in the past few weeks. My cousin, Danika, has been doing some baking recently. This past week, my brother decided to jump into the kitchen and tweak my grandmother’s brownie recipe.
I also decided to get into the kitchen and do a bit of baking last week. I’d had an inkling to bake, and we had a few ripe bananas, so why not make some banana bread?
While walking to work recently, I was catching up as I often do with some of my favourite podcasts. The selection for this walk was an episode of Chris Hardwick’s ID10T podcast, featuring Chris Jericho as the guest. (You can listen to the podcast here.) I would be remiss if I were to say that I truly wasn’t expecting the conversation to become as deep as it did. The portion that struck me the most was when they began discussing what they referred to as “Mental Junk Food”.
Eleven years ago today, Isabelle and I had one of our double header movie nights. We would do this semi-regularly and pick two movies (usually there would be a theme – like Stephen King night). We had only been seeing one another for a couple of months at this point, but this is the night that started the ball rolling to where we are today.
Last week, my wife and I took off on a short
little getaway vacation to Toronto.
Although only a three-night stay, the fact of traveling to another city,
in another province, did a lot of good for both of us. I find that going away
forces your brain to realize, “Hey, I’m not at home. I don’t have to worry about my job, or
laundry, or yard work, or anything else.”
We were in Toronto for a total of 72 hours
(landed at 2:30 on Wednesday, took off at 2:30 on Saturday), and got in a total
of 50 KM of walking over those 72 hours.
Here’s a quick rundown of our DINK Days.
One of the benefits of my current job is that I am often sitting at my desk working away at whatever it is I do. This allows me to pop on some headphones and dive into the world of podcasts. For today’s post, I’ll talk about a couple of my favourites.
In my earlier life, I was quite creative. As a teenager, I’d spend hours going for walks, listening to music and thinking up stories. And while I never wrote most of them down, or even kept most of the ideas, the creativity kept flowing through me. As I grew older, I channeled it a bit more successfully. During my university years, I wrote a few short one-act plays that we then staged and were well-received.
But once I left my university life behind, moved into the “real” world and got a job… it seems my creativity had waned. I think it’s less that it’s waned as it is I’ve let the fire die down. All that remains currently is a faint remnant of the blaze, a few embers, glowing dimly in the ashes. Every so often, a breeze flows through and the embers glow hot, an idea forms in my head and I try to capture it while it’s still there. But I haven’t been able to stoke the fire enough to get it re-lit.
It’s time to rebuild that fire inside of me. I’ve let things lie dormant for far too long. The time is now. I need to recapture that glimmer of creativity and genius that used to flow so easily through me in my youth.
One way that I’ve been doing this is by reading more. I’ve begun reading more fiction again, trying to vary the style of book to broaden my horizons. I’ve recently started reading plays as well. This was something that always spoke to me in the past, so maybe this is where I need to reignite my fire. I just finished reading Paradise Lost by Erin Shields – a great re-imagining of Milton’s Paradise Lost, recasting Satan and a few other angels as a females. It really inspired me.
Another way I’ve approached this is by being more attentive to the things being said around me. I have a notebook on my desk at work where I jot down snippets of conversations that I overhear. Some of it is ripe for being included into a fiction story of some kind. I just need to find the right context to work it in.
The best piece that I’ve written to date was a one-act play called Toboggan. I co-wrote it with my friend Pierre during our time at U de M. It started off with a small bit of a story told by Billy Connolly in one of his comedy specials, and grew into more. I reread it now and I can’t even imagine how we ended up writing what we wrote. Looking back, I like to think that I was just letting the Muses flow through me and I was only the channel. One thing is certain though – we had a lot of fun writing it.
And maybe that’s the challenge now – I am trying to force the task and not allowing myself to have fun. I guess it’s time for a change of approach. While I do need to be more structured and disciplined with writing, I need to stop being so damned strict with myself. A few years ago, Isabelle and I came up with an idea for a story, for which I’ve written some of the opening portion…but I’ve stalled. I keep coming back to it, but when nothing comes, I get frustrated and talk myself out of writing. I need to put that one aside and just let something fresh come through.
It’s time to start watching some of the movies and TV shows that inspire me – comedies. I know that my strengths lie in comedy, so that’s where I’ll put my focus for now.
What are your tricks/habits/processes to spur on your creative side? Do you do certain activities? Do you work better with people? Alone? I’m curious to hear what others have to say. How do you find your muse?
Show of hands – how many of you have that friend, that family member, that co-worker who’s just plain old negative? No matter what’s going on, they’ll find some way to complain and criticize something. I’m guessing that most of you have your hands in the air. (You can put your hand down.) Now, take a step back and wonder if maybe you’re that person in someone else’s life.