Creativity is not something you wait for. It is something that waits for you. You must decide to be creative, not wait to be. You must challenge yourself. Pick up the brush. Grab hold of the camera. Turn on the computer. Start cooking the meal. Get to the workplace early. Propose the solution. Advance the idea. Become the answer…be the inspiration...Neale Donald Walsch
I’ve been writing here for more than a year and a half and I’m often asked where I get my ideas for the blog articles I write. At first it was difficult. Like everything new it was outside my comfort zone and I was a bit nervous about the results. Would there be enough material to write about?
Today I see the ideas everywhere. A year and a half ago I made a decision to write two articles a week and since then I have noticed that the process of finding inspiration gets easier as I write more articles. I find topics because my mind is more attuned to pick out what might be the inspiration for an article. It’s not that I am any brighter or gifted or creative than others. It’s because this is what I pursue.
Writing has become a very important part of my life, along with working to discover more about spirituality and myself. The two go hand in hand. I also belong to a local writers’ group and research writing. If I wish to be a writer, I have to write.
Every one of us has desires and talents that we don’t explore. We tell ourselves that we won’t be good enough or that is just a silly dream. I know, because that’s what kept me away from writing for many years although I was always drawn to it.
If you want to be a painter, then paint. If you want to drive a motorcycle then learn how to drive a motorcycle. You will never skydive from your living room sofa. Nor will you build that cabin in the woods by watching YouTube videos.
If I want to change my life, be creative, learn to enjoy life more, then I have to start ‘doing’. A painter gets better at his art by painting. A driver improves his skills by driving I can’t think about stuff alone; I must get up off of my duff and do. Only then can I put into practice and improve, becoming my ‘answer’, my own inspiration.
When I first got to recovery I was told not try to do everything at once. This was a process that would take time and I needed time to heal. There was a lot to learn and to assimilate into my life. I wanted to my life to change but I didn’t have to do the whole program at once: there was no schedule and no test at the end. “Easy Does It,” was often said at meetings. But really what I heard was ‘do it later’.
I have always fluctuated between going at full speed or full stop. ‘Get ‘er done!’ or ‘I’ll get it later.” As time went on, I gradually slipped more into putting things off, telling myself that things would look after themselves. I got lazy, I put it off. Tomorrow would be a better day to do it. I just don’t have the energy to do that now I would say and I would pass my spare time with little accomplished.
I have always had a tendency to procrastination, of letting things be and let the ship sail where the wind might blow. Of course I complained bitterly when I didn’t arrive where I wanted to go, but ‘whatcha gonna do?’ Life is like this I thought: a series of lousy crap and something nice once in a while.
I carried these beliefs into recovery with me. I thought that my life was over and I would never enjoy life again. I didn’t understand that I needed some action in life in order to balance my inertia. I learned that not doing anything was really a decision to let happen to me whatever came along. I was abdicating my ability to make decisions about my life. Coming into the rooms was a first step in changing the direction of my life but I had to do the work. I might not be able to control the wind but I could still steer by adjusting my sails.
I need balance in my life. I still have to fight against procrastination. I know that when I’m not doing something I need to do it’s because I fear things not turning our as I want them, not turning out perfect, of me falling short of what should be done. I know it’s all traceable back to my ego and things not going my way. So I am learning to push forward and do what I fear. Do what is beyond my comfort zone. Do it because the results will be more to my liking than if it just happens on its own. At the same time, I don’t have to do it all at once. Slow and steady is fine. I need to put one foot ahead of the other.
Easy does it Tim, but ‘do’ it!
“The great part about recovery is that you can feel again. The lousy part of recovery is that you can feel again.”
My goal, when I was still in my disease, was to numb the feelings that flowed through my head. I wanted to escape how I felt about myself, about others and about situations. I couldn’t deal with how I was feeling so I tried to eliminate them completely. Loneliness, depression, fear, anger and resentment were some of the stronger feelings I felt more or less at any time and often in a combination of two or three. I had only one way to deal with them, and near the end, even that didn’t work. I didn’t know how to live with them. I guess I missed that course in life: Dealing with Feelings.
For the first three or four months in recovery I was on the proverbial ‘pink cloud’ where everything was wonderful. Then it hit me. I had started to work on Step Four and I was realizing all of my defects of character. As the saying goes, a sober horse thief is still a horse thief. I might have been in recovery, but I was now a ball of emotions and feelings that I had to learn to manage. I had begun to feel again. I remember going on a bit too long at one meeting. Afterward, another member asked me it I had a sponsor. “Of course I do!” I replied somewhat proudly. “Maybe you should use him,” suggested the member.
It was in the heart to heart discussions with my sponsor that I first started to learn that to deal with feelings I first had to accept them. Using examples of his own life, he showed me how he worked through those strong feelings in early recovery, just as I was doing: by working with his sponsor, by talking about them and by discovering their source, the ‘exact nature’ of those feelings. Why was I angry? Who or what was I angry at? Was there threat to me? What can I do to diminish my feelings of anger? I learned how to do the same with other feelings as well.
Analysing my feelings helped to diminish their strength and power. I learned that I needed to acknowledge what I was feeling and where it was taking me. I didn’t have to allow the feeling to take me into depression or loneliness, anger or fear. I had a choice. My feelings didn’t have to dictate my reaction. If I was lonely, I could go meet a friend or pick up the phone and call someone. I didn’t have to wallow in loneliness, allowing it to spiral me downward into deeper and deeper sadness. Often I would just get on my motorcycle and drive and drive and say the Serenity Prayer over and over until I felt peace replacing the strong feelings that threatened my recovery.
My life is manageable today and I lived more in tranquility than chaos. The frequency of those strong feelings is diminished. Strong feelings still do come up but not as often and I know that I can’t avoid them. I have to deal with them. It’s my choice when I do so, but sooner rather than later works for me and frees me to enjoy my life and not be burdened by it. I am grateful.