[To stay updated on the release of my book, sign up here.] I burned out. Whoops. Here's what went down:
I burned the candle from both ends, as my mama compassionately reminds me is my habit from time to time. This time, the burn out came in the form of a short temper, an unclear weekly strategy and lots of dismantled motivation. Everything I wanted to do last week either ended up pushed to the next day or given up on altogether. In Chapter Nine: Developing Intuition of The First Ten Years, the book offers some thoughts on what to do when you lose your intuition, when you lose your gut sense of how it should all go down. We can meditate, take a walk, reconnect with nature, yadda, yadda, yadda. Those things definitely help us slow down and build our intuitive know-how back up. But one solution I think we neglect to use is: creativity for its own sake.
That's right. Making something, just for the fun of making something.
Didn't we do this all the time as kids? Didn't we play make believe and come up with elaborate stories and games just for the fun of architecting a world we owned?
When I was a wee one, I'd put on some tunes (of the Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Broadway musical, Beach Boys variety) and dance around. My brother had the bigger room, so often times I'd sneak in there during his little league practice, turn up Black or White on his fancy double-deck cassette stereo with speakers the size of my six-year-old torso, and put on my own personal concerts. I'd fling my body around to the music for the sake of the fling. I would let the beat take me away and just dance.
Somewhere along the line, I decided that I wanted to study dance. And get a degree in it. And be a professional. But all of those strivings and accomplishment-driven activities came from one solid foundation: my love of dance parties and the way music makes me feel.
So like I said, last week I burned out. And instead of going through the normal motions of getting more sleep, drinking more water, and "taking it easy" in order to recuperate, I did something different. I created for the sake of creation. I flung my body around to the music for the sake of the fling. I learned how to use iMovie for the first time, because, hey, why not? I created something without any care given to the ever-seared question at the top of my forehead: "Why is this productive?"
Spoiler alert: This was not productive.
And that's why it got me out of my funk. That's why it rested me. Because I snapped off the part of my brain that says I must always contribute in a way that makes logical sense and instead just turned up the music and danced.
Guess what happened? I got my mojo back. I know what I need to do this week and I'm doing it. I have better focus, better clarity and a better sense of ease. Plus, I feel proud of myself that I learned how to use iMovie. FTW.
Whenever you're feeling like you're at your wit's end, I encourage you to jump off the cliff of responsibility and create for no purpose. Screw productivity. Get back to play. Make something for the sake of making something. It feels pretty good.
Oh, and so here's this: