OMG, I can’t even start stuff. Sometimes the shear thought of not being about to do it perfect keeps me from doing it at all, my friend Molly shared as we sipped our morning coffee. We were sitting on the pontoon having just wrapped up an early morning ride around the lake. Molly continued on to share that she’ll look up all sorts of fun projects to do and then just freeze with paralysis at the thought of creating something sub-par to the picture before her.
I drove home from work yesterday. I had plans to walk around a lake here in town but it was rainy and the wind was so very windy my friend and I decided that the thought of blowing off into the universe was not worth the exercise so we’d reschedule for a sunny day. That’s as close to a legit rain-check as you can get, I think.
Problem is. That’s all I had lined for my night. That was it. And so I was really sad about my evening. I stopped at Walgreens for mini peanut butter cups and Cadbury chocolate coated eggs – For. My. Dinner.
Once home, I made my way through the kitchen and plopped myself into the corner of the couch, my knees underneath me propping me up like a rag-doll. I sat in the quiet of my house and began individually placing candy coated chocolates into my mouth. The shell was a loud crunch with each bite and as the pieces broke inside my mouth, I wondered if one could get any more bored-er-er. I attempted to do be really present and aware. Like maybe life wanted me to really know my chocolate, really taste it’s cocoa and high fructose corn syrup. Ever-so-slowly I chomped my boredrom.
I found myself staring at a list of priorities I had made the other day. I asked if there was anything I could do with that list. But I didn’t have any inspiration, desire or energy. I just sat there.
Then I started doing this thing I do when I feel anxiousy and nervous and like I’m not enough. I spoke my heart out loud – call it a prayer, call it meditation, call it weird: Kaylee, it’s okay. Just be right here. You don’t know what to do. That’s okay. Let’s just be here. Okay.
So I tried. But I didn’t like it. Life was so far from perfect. I missed Bella. I missed making dinner. And I missed my white picket fence.
Thing is, I think I felt like my friend Molly in that moment. That because I couldn’t make perfect, I didn’t know what to do or how to start.
But I remember this summer I shared with a coworker that over the past several months friends had come to discover my deep love for clouds and how in my hardest season of life, friends had been tagging, texting and tossing clouds my way. My coworker replied with a picture of clouds of the big skies of Montana and noted: Interesting to me that the Creator shares this great art with us and then just “throws it away!”
I had never really thought about God like this. How he doesn’t cling is to his artwork. He makes and creates and then throws it out for us to enjoy - quickly moving on to the next art piece.
Life gives us space. Sometimes this space is given to us the hard way, like through loss of a job, loss of family, or loss of a loved one. Other times this space is intentionally sought out by people – it’s called solitude. It can be 5 minutes or 5 months. And It can feel sorta weird because we like to do and there’s no doing in this space. But of all the books I’ve read on creativity this year, this is the very space where new ideas emerge. Space just like this is actually mandatory and necessary for creativity.
Sit here until you know what next to create. Then don’t be scared of it, just create it. I thought.
But sometimes the things I think to create feel sorta worthless or silly. Like who would really want a mini piece of paper with an Irish blessing on it rolled up and stuck into a tiny pot for St. Patricks’ day. But then I think, who wouldn’t want a mini piece of paper with an Irish blessing on it rolled up and stuck into a tiny pot for St. Patricks’ day!!
And I realized, it’s not always about what we create, or how perfect we create it. It’s about bringing something into existence that didn’t exist before. Each one of these big, small or medium-sized works of art becomes a delight to us and to others.
When someone makes something for us – a pie, a card, a scarf, an experience – it’s not usually the “thing” that makes us feel love, it’s the love behind it. How much more art and beauty could we create if we weren’t so worried about the art itself but understood that art passes, but the love remains.
My mom made me so many smoothies when we got home from school. I can’t tell you the taste of each smoothie blended, but I can tell you how cared for I felt. She organized the best birthday parties and I can’t tell you every little detail, but I can tell you how special I felt. My mom rubbed my back each night before bed and I can’t tell you how each touch felt but I can tell you how loved I felt. She made a really beautiful childhood for me and it was through each little thing she created. If she had waited to get the perfect smoothie each day, the perfect Pinterest birthday party, and the perfect back scratch at bedtime idda really missed out. I’m so glad I had a mom that knew love was in the good enough.
Do you have space today? Space that is not filled with any sort of doing so it feels like nothing. That space is something; it’s the space for something to become that wasn’t here before.
So sit in it.
And if something comes to you run with it.
Let’s not be a people so scared of perfect that we miss the magic.
“You've permitted magical to walk on by. Not to mention good enough, amazing and wonderful. Waiting for the thing that cannot be improved keeps us from beginning. Merely begin.”
~ Seth Godin