Monday, September 8, 2014

Adding creativity to your life

by Joan

I love when two unrelated incidents strike in a sort of synchronicity. The first happened when my husband sent me an email with the subject line: Awesomeness. It was a link to, a cool site with essays and tips on productivity, communication, lifestyle. I clicked and up popped a chart labeled “The Theory of Awesomeness.”

Reflective pool at the Winspear
A simplistic road map to life, the chart suggested that many people chase the wrong goals, following “Brules” (bullshit rules) and chasing money, instead of practicing “Blissipline” (the discipline of bliss) and working toward end goals. Be happy with where you are, practice gratitude, visualize your future, follow your passion, contribute, explore.

“Your true greatness will come when you focus on building a life, not building a career.” This seemed the perfect advice to share with our son, who in his senior year of college is trying to juggle studying and organizational commitments with recruiting season, and becoming ever anxious about life after graduation.

The second random thing happened last week when I joined my husband for a nighttime photo walk with photographer Trey Ratcliff. A Dallas native, Trey was a techie stuck in a cube, day after day, thinking of what he would do with his hour lunch break or free hour at night. What sandwich would he eat, which article would he read in this limited time? He went in search of a creative outlet and is now a successful photographer, writer, speaker, adventurer and blogger. He’s had numerous showings around the world and has been featured on BBC and CBS, among others, and had the first HDR photo to hang in the Smithsonian. Three years ago he relocated to New Zealand, where he’s in the midst of beauty every day, all day. In Trey's view, no matter what your field, fit some form of creativity into your life, wherever you can.
Reflective man, corner of Flora and Olive

As he spoke, I remembered my first job out of college, where I crunched numbers on a ten-key, recorded figures onto ledger paper and prepared tax returns for high-net-worth clients. My desk held file-folders, mechanical pencils, paper clips and those cool gummy erasers, which, to this day, I find alarmingly satisfying. This was my life, but was it life? I often stopped throughout the day to think about what types of cloud shapes were floating above my Connecticut Avenue building, which leaves were oranging up and twirling to the ground, which birds were charming their mates. On my lunch hour I spent my paycheck on a fleeting, stupidly expensive wardrobe, not realizing then the hours I was wasting, when I could have been hacking out a creative life.

Bell Tower, Guadalupe Cathedral
Whether you see the world through a photographic or a literary lens, whether you record it with a pen or a paintbrush, you are fostering beauty. Trey asked why we share what we write or paint or snap? He suggested that we not seek recognition or affirmation from others, for if we find something beautiful then it is. No, rather we share “to make the world more beautiful and interesting.” To spread creativity. To practice Blissipline. I am grateful for clouds and leaves, for the Dallas art's district, for our philosophical son, for my husband, who sends me links to awesomeness and shares with me his creative side.

Photo credits: Rick Mora

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