It was a rough week. I filled in for a resource teacher at my daughter’s high school again this week which meant that I was not only filling the new SEP information (Specialized Education Plan) into the computer systems for the new terms that just started, I could also be pulled out for any emergency supply work in the building.
Part of that included shepherding a group of 14 students down to a conference at a downtown hotel where they were fed lunch and then became test subjects for a new pilot program to help Grade 10 students determine their career paths, their dreams, their goals and their FOCUS.
As someone who has tried to live my focus for 33 years now, I found this both inspiring and incredibly depressing.
Inspiring, because there are so many more choices for young people than there were in my day going through high school and anything that helps them figure out where their gifts, talents and passions lie is a good thing.
Depressing because I have tried to be true to myself throughout my whole career path in all the ways I have juggled Creativity with other work, motherhood and daily tasks... but I watched my income from something I had built up over 16 years crumble to almost nothing thanks to the Internet and people who felt no guilt about scanning in my cross stitch patterns to share illegally with others.
Sometimes, in the darkest moments of the night, I wonder if I have somehow let my family down by not having a “regular” job that would have built up more job security, benefits and pension over the years and just done my art as a “hobby”.
Then I take a deep breath and remember that working from home gave me time with my children that no money could ever buy back. I see the proof of those years in the young women they are becoming.
I exhale and remember that I have had the joy of seeing my name in print in magazines and on bookshelves.
I inhale and realize that I have tried more often than I have failed...
and that is what being Creative every day as a way of life is all about. It is supposed to be as easy as breathing. It is supposed to be something we just do without thinking. It will probably take me the rest of my life to learn how to do this without my own daily worries, frustrations, criticisms or failures getting in the way.
So be Creative in everything you do... even the moments you think of as failures. If you look at them from another angle, you’ll probably discover a new perspective.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Thomas Edison
INHALE: Remember not to judge yourself by the current world standards. I see kids who think that they have to be “discovered”, become as famous as Miley Cyrus or as wealthy as the Olsen Twins before they become adults. They dream of being on television, in movies and of taking You Tube by storm. Adults think that they must live in huge homes, drive flashy vehicles and have all the outward trappings of SUCCESS... in order to prove that they have lived their lives right. They need all the right things and logos in their lives or need to become brands in their own right for the world to stand up and take notice. The recent disaster in Haiti and other world events keep reminding us that we need far less than that to stay alive, far more basic things to truly be happy and that the basic human, creative spirit is a powerful, creative force in its own right. Take a deep breath and just take each day at a time.
EXHALE: Today’s exhalation is in honour of the Olympics underway right now in Vancouver and the overwhelming Creativity displayed last night during the Opening Ceremonies. Find a quiet corner and take some time to think about areas in your life that you are truly satisfied with. Not all successes can be measured in monetary means or by the world’s standards. With Fimo, tinfoil, glitter, ribbon, Photoshop or anything else that inspires you, make a medal or a trophy to celebrate at least one achievement that you are proud of and tuck it into your keepsake box, sketchbook or put it out on display. Be proud of the ways in which you’ve been true to yourself, your beliefs and your Creativity!