Creativity is a huge part of what I do here on my site and also over at Chopped, where we share resources for food bloggers and online creative entrepreneurs. A part of cultivating creativity for me is getting in touch with the more spiritual side of myself. As a result, today I’m sharing these Thursday Thoughts Creativity. My hope is to tell you about what I’m going through as I’m learning about the spiritual side of creativity.
Thursday Thoughts Creativity
Today I’m sharing with you a topic that makes me sound mostly crazy. It’s ok, there actually is a little crazy in my family so it may be entirely possible. But, honestly? I think a little crazy is required in life. It keeps things interesting.
You know that Chinese proverb? May you live in interesting times.
That’s what I’m talking about!
Here’s a truth: we’re socialized early on in life to fit in. I’m beginning to believe the word socialized is code for knocking the ME out of a person. Sure, it’s true that we have evolved and survived thanks to our collaborative abilities and socialization, or group thinking, has been a big part of that. I found a great post by Wait but Why on Why You Should Stop Caring About What Others Think.
It’s great. It’s long. It’s funny. It’s twirl your hair between your fingers interesting (and I don’t even have long hair!).
And what I realized after reading it is that I need to quit listening to the wooly mammoth (aka, inner critic) in my head that likes to say, “Don’t say that! They’ll think you’re crazy!!!!”
My wooly mammoth likes to talk with a lot of exclamation points.
Here’s another truth: Thoughts…I’ve had a few. And I love sharing them. Sure, I also love sharing recipes. (Love!) And I also love talking about our vegan lives and interviewing other people for the podcast who have interesting thoughts on life, diet, and creativity too. So. Every now and then, and mostly only on Thursdays (because I have a thing for alliteration), I’m going to share with you my thoughts on creativity and spirituality.
Connecting With My Inner Me’s
Have you heard of healing your inner child? Me too. And I thought it sounded kind of hokey. But I tried it. I imagined my inner child as a sort of sad, victimized little girl and did my best to mother her.
I can’t say the exercise was a waste of time or anything, but I also can’t say it was extremely helpful either.
However, going through life coaching with Jay Pryor, I learned a lot about myself. And one thing that came to me during this time was that I did, in fact, need to connect with my inner child. But my inner child was not a victim and she wasn’t sad. My inner child was strong!
For example, one time when I was a kid, my friend Rheta and I were hanging out when the local bully started chasing us around on his bike. We were on foot. At one point I got tired (or bored) with running away from him so I turned around and punched him in the nose. He ran home crying. Another time I rode my bike to the nearest town, 10 miles away. I did this on a whim, just cuz.
I wasn’t a hellion or anything. I was oblivious to worries and assured in my ability to take care of things.
So an adult, looking back on myself as a child, I realized I didn’t need heal my inner child. I needed to reconnect…to re-infuse myself with that inner grit and confidence.
I decided to name her, that inner confident, rambunctious, trouble-making, fun-loving child. I couldn’t think of the right name until I remembered an Indian name we picked out in my camp fire girls group. I called her Aluwahneenah. Each syllable had its own meaning and represented something I cared about at the time.
Now I call on Aluwahneenah when I need her. As much as I think I’d like to mother my inner child, it’s more like she daughters me.
Can daughter be a verb? Yes, it can. Just as mothering can be a thing, daughtering can too. I know this because I actually have a daughter and the relationship definitely has a give and take to it, implying both mothering and daughtering.
I was pretty content with connecting with my inner child, until one day I connected with another inner version of myself, my 18-year old self.
I’m lucky to be driving some of the same streets I’ve driven since I could first drive. And one day when I was heading home from my mom’s house, I realized I was on a street that I traveled once when I was 18. And for a split second I remembered exactly how I felt on that road when I was 18. I had the window down and the music up. I was happy. Looking back I don’t understand why I was so happy. I had very little money. My mom and I were living in a small apartment, and my job was menial, I sometimes thought I’d lose my mind. But still, I was happy. The second I was done with work I would head over to a dilapidated building that had a small fitness center. That’s where I would do an aerobics class. I knew how to get deals to stretch my limited income. I had dreams. And something about having dreams and the freedom to move around as I pleased made me happy.
As I was driving home from my mom’s recently, I had a split second vision — where I began to think about my current life from the perspective of my 18-year old self. And I realized how passionate that part of me would be about my life today.
So, let me backtrack a little. The adult version of who I am today sometimes focuses on all the wrong things. I can ruminate on everything I don’d do as well as others. My house isn’t clean enough. My thighs aren’t skinny enough. My shirts are not grey enough. You know, all that important stuff.
I can get stuck in this mindset of how I don’t measure up. Or how many years I have wasted trying to figure all this out. And I feel down.
But my 18-year old? I allowed her a glimpse of my current life and she had one word to say…AWESOME! She is so inspired about who I’ve become. She loves my house, clean or not. She loves my grey shirts (although she totally thinks I should be wearing more bright colors). She is so excited by the work I’m doing, that I’m vegan, and that I’m creating recipes (I’ve always had an affinity for creating recipes, even when I was 18).
My 18-year old version of me needed a name too, but that was easy. She’s Madi. In high school, every girl gets a nickname. Right? For some reason, my friends started calling me Madi. It was different. I liked it. I even had a shirt with Madi on the back.
Now whenever I need a dose of passion and exuberance in my life, I call on Madi. She always delivers.
Embodying my Inner Me’s
If you’ve read the book Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd, she says, “The kind of power women need is not ruthless, controlling, self-serving, dominion-seeking, power — power without benefit of love. It is not staying up by keeping others down. What we need is a potent, forceful power, yes, but one that is also compassionate, that enables others as well.”
That is the sort of power I feel when I enlist the help of my inner me’s. I am not Aluwahneenah. I am not Madi. However, they are both part of who I am today. In the novel Surfacing, by Margaret Atwood, there is a line I really love. One of the characters says, “I lean against a tree. I am a tree, leaning.”
Connecting with my inner me’s is more than an experience, it’s embodiment. It’s the only way it works for me. I not only experience my inner me’s, I truly embody them.
Embodiment means we no longer say I had this experience; we say I am this experience. — Sue Monk Kidd, Dance of the Dissident Daughter
Sometimes I fall into the trap of taking myself too seriously. I’m listening to podcasts on business. I’m reading books on productivity. I’m going to conferences talking about social media. I can be so absorbed with the learning, that I forget to connect with myself.
Learning is so important, but after awhile you can establish this pattern that everything you need is outside of yourself. If I read this book I will learn how to be successful. If I listen to this podcast, they will enlighten me and I will be complete.
Today I am remembering to connect with myself. In that way I am complete.
I’m harboring a fugitive, a defector of a kind, she lives in my soul, drinks of my wine and I’d give my last breath to keep us alive. — Fugitive by the Indigo Girls
It reminds me of playing the guitar. Shawn (and now Adee too) and I will sit together and play guitar. He’s one of the gifted people who can hear just about anything and play it…and play it really well. I’m more of a “memorize the chords” kind of person. And as I’m memorizing the chords and thinking about the strumming pattern, I sometimes get it all wrong. Shawn will remind me to just relax and to feel the music.
I have to remind myself of this in life too. If it’s true that thoughts are reality, then it’s even more important to relax into it and feel it.
Look, life is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s hard. Paving a path for creativity and passion has to be purposeful. Knowing when my spirit is low I can call to Madi to help me with a shot of enthusiasm or that I can call to Aluwahneenah for a boost of toughness and grit, well, it’s all been extremely helpful, especially in the process of owning who I am as a creative being.
That’s it for today’s episode of Thursday Thoughts. I’m sharing this in the hope that it provides some inspiration for you as well. Feel free to join me on this creative/spiritual journey. You can follow along on Instagram or SnapChat (@namelymarly), email me (marly at namely marly dot com), or leave a comment below.
Health + Happiness,