It has been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to write for my own pleasure and yet a small voice inside calls me to do so every day. I pause for a moment and listen to it, I acknowledge it, I vow to carve out time for it, and then it fleets my mind until the next time. Our burnout culture rewards us for manic workaholism and living with racehorse blinders. It rewards us that is, until we burn out.
Women, in particular, experience resounding difficulty in reconciling time for self. It feels against our grain to award time to engaging in creative activities or meaningful projects without feeling some violation of the mother/daughter/wife/partner-code. We are not wired to lean in to the things that nurture the ‘self’ outside of activities that involve doing so by giving of self or serving others. The woman's inner critic is far harsher on the ego than any pushback or questioning from others in this capacity. Regardless, expectations from self and others exist, persist, and can snuff out the spark of the soul's permission to shine quietly sought from within.
Why is it that? Why is it that our soulful activities are not as valued or rewarded as our material or physical offerings?
Activities that feed the soul are life-giving and in essence invigorate our very essence as humans. It is interesting that during the COVID-19 standstill we all rediscovered the soul-soothing agents that sparked joy and stillfullness which also allowed time to stand still and take our breath away. A bike ride with our children, painting/sketching, puzzling, artful cooking, gardening, making music—all of these seem like “extras” now and yet they were vital to survival and sustenance then.
I did some of my best writing during the pandemic lockdown as my soul opened up and wanted to speak to the world in a new way. I am sure that many of you found yourselves sweeping the dust off of beloved hobbies and interests that were soulful but deemed 'extra' as they were repressed in memories of younger, more innocent times.
The truth is that we all have a part of us that is creative and that part needs to be fed; this is not something reserved for artists, poets, and musicians.
What is creative is at core soulful and losing oneself in a creative activity fuels wonder and youthfulness. What is creative is generative. What is creative is vital.
One of the most important things I learned about my creative self during the global pandemic and continue to discover more with every day is that she helps her family, friends, colleagues, and society more substantially. She functions at a higher, more integrated level.
So friends, time spent generating or creating is never wasted time it-- it is the soul's time. When the soul is allowed to be fed in freeform it is then better able to serve anything and everything that it is called to achieve in this world. It yields a better, more whole version of self.