The edge of creative evolution can be messy. We straddle a dotted line made up of choices. It feels crude and arbitrary because we reason through every random choice as if each one is as valuable as the last. We react to a set of possibilities an outside force presents to us because we fail to present ourselves with better options. We stumble through a trail of inertia leading to nowhere because we can't quite calibrate our inner compass. It takes little more than a gut instinct to know which choice will evolve you and which will dismantle you, but connecting to that gut instinct is where our nerves go haywire. Ask anyone the harmless question, "What do you want?" and most people will give you stock answers or a dumbfounded look like wanting has nothing to do with having. But this is a lie. Wanting has everything to do with having.
Wanting is the invisible force that re-calibrates our compass. Wanting is the gust of courage that seeps up through our throats and out of our mouths when we finally ask to be taken seriously. Wanting is the lightness of walking away from something heavy. Wanting is the chiropractic alignment of our deepest actions to our deepest truths, it fixes those two together so that we can stand upright on our haunches and expand into the world without collapsing under the pressure of a lie. In other words, wanting is the driver of our evolution.
Taking all of this into consideration, a couple of weeks ago I bought some Post-Its. Stay with me, it'll go somewhere. I took a look at a big blank space on our bedroom wall and felt inspired to fill it. So I took five of those cute little fluorescent sheets of paper, and I wrote five categories:
- Labor of Love
- White Space
- Time Wealth
- State of Being
Labor of Love meant projects I commit to because I believe in them. There is no promise of money, but I'm drawn to them. I enjoy filling my days with them. They make me feel like I'm contributing in a bigger way and I'm more concerned with how I feel when I'm doing them than what tangible profit I might get out of them in the long run.
White Space meant experiences I wanted to have that had nuttin' to do with nuttin'. Dinner parties with friends, more laughter, date night. The things that I wanted to fill up on during those "off" hours.
Time Wealth meant the bigger experiences of life I wanted to have that would require money to pursue. I translated the value of my money into the value of my time. If I wanted to make more money, I wanted to know why I was making it. I wanted to know what my hours of money-making connected to in the larger picture. What would more money allow me in life?
Vitality meant operating at my edge. What did I really want to produce in the world to make the biggest impact? How would I like to be known? Where would I want to push myself out of my own comfort zone? I want to be published, but maybe I also want to make a documentary and write some really good music on my ukulele.
State of Being meant how I wanted to live my life. In everything I do, I want my being to be centered and reflective of my values. This included descriptives like free and loving, and titles like "perpetual student."
I appreciate the irony of the fact I'm writing this all out for you after my last post, but like I said there, take this with a grain of salt. Maybe your creative edge requires ten categories or just one. Maybe you can distill everything down to one feeling or word that canvasses every daily activity and keeps your mind hooked to your heart. But for me, this is what helped. This is what got me into the next iteration of my book that feels much more in tune with what I'm really trying to say.
And if we can get clear on what we want, we can clearly see how to have it.
(I'll follow up with Part 2 tomorrow so you can see where all of this lead.)