Change your life in just 5 minutes with this daily practice.
Life is draining, the days are long, and the last thing any of us likely wants to do is drag out the arts & crafts box from the spare closet and do more work.
But it isn’t about doing work for work’s sake, or to satisfy some bragging right that you’ve quilted, painted, or written your ‘magnum opus’ (that’s ‘great work’ in Latin, my friends). The point of this exercise is to validate yourself! Finding just 5 minutes to do something creative every day can reset your mind, calm it even, and allow for an outlet to the craziness we all face each day.
“How can you do anything meaningful in just 5 minutes?”
Well, that would probably require redefining your definition of ‘meaningful’. Who said that meaningful had to equal complicated, involved, or nuanced? Meaningful is anything that benefits you, no matter its scale or complexity.
So, what does doing 1 creative thing every day look like? And how can I finish it in 5 minutes? Simple. First, as long as it’s soothing to you, it’s meaningful. And finish it? No one imposed that requirement on you but YOU.
There was a time a few years back where I felt stuck at the end of each day. I spent every ounce of my brain reserves working for other people, for their purpose. I had nothing left each night but to run the routine of dinner, tv, bed, repeat again next day.
I knew I needed to exercise the creative corners of my brain, because only then did I feel any semblance of happiness, but diving into a new practice seemed so difficult. So, I joined a local group that met weekly at a nearby coffee house, a “creative alliance” of people who gathered every week with a new great-work to share. I signed up and showed up, ready to learn, ready to listen, maybe even to participate.
I was completely overwhelmed . . .
The members of this “creative alliance” brought writings, stories, essays, paintings, hand-forged jewelry, drawings, musical instruments, the works.
I showed up like a dolt with note pad and pen. This wasn’t my group. And these certainly weren’t my people. I felt punched in the gut, lungs completely deflated, and an emptiness I could only describe as being a failure to produce anything of worth.
Approaching the group’s leader afterwards, I thanked her for allowing me to attend, but expressed that I probably would not be back because I didn’t have the time, energy, inspiration, or as I then felt, the talent to contribute to a group like this, especially on a weekly basis!
But what she said to me that night changed the way I approached creativity forever. She leaned in, put her arm around me in the parking lot as we were departing the coffee house, and said, “Hun, you are the one who decides what is creative. If I were running an art show, none of that crap people brought tonight would be featured!”
My head tilted slightly. I was part shocked at her claim, and also partly trying not to burst into laughter. The lesson she was trying to convey was that some people are artists (or think they are artists), but creativity isn’t art; it’s not painting, the written word, or any other medium or form. Creativity is you making something meaningful to YOU.
It can be a sketch pad that sits on your night stand that you doodle in just before resting your head on your pillow. It can be planting a flower in a pot on the porch, or taking a photo with your smart phone and editing it in a some free app. Creativity can be making dinner without a recipe, pretending your random pantry of ingredients is your Food Network Chopped basket in Kitchen Stadium. Creativity is making up a story to tell your kid at bedtime of kings & queens in far-off lands. It’s taking 5 minutes to journal about your day and your feelings. It's even writing a blog post!
Creativity is entirely up to you, and its meaningfulness need only be validated by your commitment to focusing 5 minutes of time on the thing we so often neglect . . . ourselves and our well-being.
Take 5 minutes right now, do something to create anything! And honor yourself with that special gesture of discovering and nurturing your inner creative.