I currently spend the majority of my time at home with my 6 month old son. This is a blessing and I’m so grateful to be in a position where I get to care for him and spend this time with him. But as most stay at home mothers will admit, life at home can become quite mundane. It’s very easy to get stuck on the treadmill of daily routines and then before you know it, your world feels like it’s shrinking and you’re experiencing “Groundhog Day”.
I believe this is something we can probably all relate to. Even if you’re not at home with kids, it’s very easy to find yourself on the treadmill of work and general life where you just keep doing the ‘same old, same old’ and life starts to look a little ‘beige.’
Recognising when we are in a rut and that life has become mundane is one thing. But knowing what to do to get ourselves out of it is another…..
As luck would have it though, I recently read Elizabeth (Liz) Gilbert’s book, “Big Magic” where she addresses this exact issue. Liz explains that we all need activity that is beyond the mundane and that takes us out of our established and limiting roles in society (roles such as wife, mother, employee, boss etc). She believes that the Universe buries strange jewels deep within all of us and then stands back to see if we can find them (I love that!). When we find ourselves feeling that our lives have become mundane it’s because we’ve stopped searching for the treasure – and having the courage to go on the hunt in the first place is what separates a mundane existence from an enchanted one.
So how do we go about searching for this treasure and living an enchanted existence?
By living creatively.
Many people think of creativity as a word that only applies to someone who is professionally or exclusively devoted to or engaged in the arts. But Liz challenges us to view the idea of creative living in a broader sense. Yes, you could be an artist or a writer but you could also be someone who decides to take up singing lessons or ice skating at the age of 50. Not because you are making it your career or are going to be best in the world at it but simply because it’s something that you have wanted to try or that you do because it brings you joy.
To live a creative life means to live a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than fear. It is essentially about having the courage to follow or try something that you are curious about, regardless of whether you know where it might take you. It may lead you to an ashram in India, or to a new career, or to a hobby that absolutely lights you up. It may also be something that you try a few times and then stop. The key is to keep showing up anyway, to tap into the next whisper or bolt of curiosity that strikes and to enjoy the journey.
It’s important at this point to mention the big old ‘f’ word, FEAR, which is inevitably going to rear it’s head when you embark on any creative endeavour. As soon as you enter into something where there is an uncertain outcome (which is the case with creativity), fear will pop up because it hates uncertainty. Fear will show up as the voice giving you a million reasons not to try something. The one that tells you you’ll make a fool of yourself, that people will laugh, that you won’t be able to do it, that you’re too old, that you’re too young, that it won’t be perfect so why bother, that you won’t have time etc etc.
I am no stranger to the voice of fear. In my current situation where I have a little baby with me most of the time, fear shows up as the voice saying things like ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I can’t do it with the baby’. And as someone who struggles with needing to do things perfectly I often struggle with the voice that tells me not to attempt something where there’s a chance that I might not do it well.
The problem is, that if we continue to listen to the voice of fear, we’ll stay in the mundane. We’ll never go anywhere interesting or do anything interesting and that would be an enormous pity because life is short and you want to do interesting things while you are on this planet.
So if you are feeling like your life has become ‘beige’ or mundane, I challenge you to follow your curiosity. It may be a loud voice inside you that’s been wondering what it would be like to switch careers or move across the country. It may be a voice whispering to you to try pilates or to change your hairstyle or to try a photography class. Whatever it is, no matter how big or small, I challenge you to follow the curiosity and strive to live your own version of a creative life. Because as Liz says:
“A creative life is an amplified life, a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life and one that will be infinitely more interesting than an un-creative one.”