How to Stay Kind (and Creative) When Life Gets Tough

In the aftermath of the events in the Eld-Mathis family earlier this year, I found myself taking the last three months to come back into a sense of normalcy…or rather, to reflect and begin to integrate the lessons and well, LIFE, that happened so hard and fast.

I often find that when life is at its fullest and richest, I have very little to say on the page. Of course, sensational and challenging things like brain tumors and miscarriages are very specific and immediate so they are more accessible and easily described, if not entirely absorbed at the time.

But now, I am facing incredible goodness and joy…soaking in moment after moment of beauty and light and the words just…lie sleeping like a dog on a hot day.

Not being able to paint a scene of my joy in the moment bothered me for many years until I realized that creativity, like breathing, has its cycles. You must LIVE and THEN write instead of expecting yourself to extrapolate an exact representation of the glory you are beholding in that moment.

Of course you can sharpen the saw of your craft anytime, which is recommended to stay honed for capturing the gems that life occasionally hands you. 

Put simply, I can still write, even if it is not about epic revelations of universal proportions. Even if it just a haiku every day, moving your hand across the page keeps the pipes open and the water flowing.

So I have been writing, but not for an audience. And sometimes, it’s a sentence or two in my head if my notebook isn’t lying handy.

Often, the work lies in training my senses to become fully immersed and fine tuned to the nuances of life that make a story come alive. The scent of the sun warmed barley growing in the fields. The vibration of cows lowing across a path as I walk through their midst. Blue chalk sands boiling beneath a chilled pond surface.

Training my brain to register life from a space of calm and relaxation instead of a frantic urgency to capture moments and pin them onto boards for the world to marvel at and admire.

A friend of mine recently wrote about the intersections of all the pressing issues in the world today-gender, politics, economics, race, and religion. As she rightly pointed out, they are all so intertwined, it is impossible to speak of one without referencing the others and this brings me to the point.

Whether it is writing, yoga, health, family, music, travel or philosophy, they are all connected in me, and therefore, can seem intimidating to know which to tackle first or what entry point to secure as I venture into a topic that touches them all.

And yet, there is space. Space to begin SOMEWHERE and start the process of relating, reflecting, 
and refining.

I once said to a partner that they could always edit with me. Meaning, start with what you have and as more wisdom and insight reveals itself, amend, append, and retool your original work.

Know that I support you through your failures, even as I practice stepping into my own failed attempts with grace, humor, and good nature.

A teacher once said, “The real failure is not getting up after you fall.” It doesn’t have to be immediately. Sometimes we need time to catch our breath, check ourselves out, and prepare to re-enter a project.

Getting up after failure doesn’t need to be graceful or with the lesson fully integrated. It just means that you stick with yourself. You abide with your own eternal self and hold her with all the compassion you can.

In neural retraining, they say, “What fires together, wires together.” This means that when we put emotion and thought or experience together, the brain connects them to form a new pathway.

In everyday life, it means that instead of being hard on yourself when the words don’t come out perfectly or when you’re not as healthy, accomplished or beautiful as you think you should be, you take notice of something that lifts your spirit and hold that at the same time as experiencing your disappointment. 

You create pathways of compassion and self-care by aiming your attention on things that elevate you, whilst simultaneously articulating the challenges you face.

Which is why, as I sit here in Denmark, typing away on my keyboard, I am feeling pretty damn good about my radio silence on the blogosphere for the last three months. I have been being kind to myself, letting my cup be filled with the elixir of life in all its glorious adventures and adversities.

And my hope for you is, that you will give yourself permission to do the same for yourself. To rest when you need to rest, to fail when you are learning something new, and to be exquisitely tender with yourself when you are recovering from the wild diversity of being a soul encased in flesh.

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