I haven't picked up my camera in several months. I purchased a new lens at the beginning of January and just never got around to even trying it out. Usually, I am exhausted with excitement when new crafting materials or equipment arrive and simply can't wait to try them out when I get home. In an act of defiance against winter and March, I opened up my camera bag today to maybe think about trying out the new lens and both of my camera batteries were dead. Of course they were. Nothing lasts forever, including our capacities to create and contribute, if we don't recharge them once in a while.
Thwarted by technology, I broke out the paints, a few magazines and an old journal cover I intended to make new. I've been a fan of vision boarding for several years now and somehow always seem to secret them away once I've made them. Not this one. With scissors and a healthy dose of Mod Podge, I laid out my plans for the future. Simple, broad, but these journal covers will wrap my thoughts for both professional and personal goals and they'll inspire me for a while and encourage me to keep dreaming. I rounded out the project with some subtle paint mixes to fill in the open spaces and one last coat of acrylic to seal the deal.
The sun was shining in through the kitchen window, and I was satisfied that I had done at least something for today. Nothing earth shattering, nothing overly inspiring for the rest of the world, but the act of creativity for my personal benefit was what I needed most. I was resigned to taking a picture of my afternoon with a camera phone, a small sacrifice to make for the jolt that was required to jumpstart me when I had discovered with some shame that I had let my camera languish for so long that it needed a boost as well.
The act of creation. There are two things I come back to when I need to center myself with the world: one is creation through photography or color or textiles and the other is the rhythmic art of running across vast open spaces of the prairie (or of the mind if I am resigned to the basement treadmill). I need them both. I crave them both in different ways. Creation is different, though. There is a gnawing and an aching when I can't use my mind to come up with new ideas that are either things of beauty or things of purpose.
It wells up as anxiety and worry and dread, often sleeplessness and unsettled thoughts. Mostly though, the aching need comes when I have been too consumed with life to take the time to make anything that I hold as beautiful, be it thoughts or physical creations. And so my camera sits idle and the words haven't been flowing as often as they could. A small step today, maybe a bigger one tomorrow.
Creation is not about your artistic abilities. It is about the unique gift that you have to offer to this world. It might be art. It might be stories or poems or other ways to manifest our language. Or maybe it's your ability to craft the perfect conversation with someone that needs to be uplifted or maybe it's just marveling in your heart at the beauty of the day and putting that memory aside to dwell in your headspace for all time. Don't let life get so busy that you forget to contribute your uniqueness in whatever form that might be.