Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Lower level living

It's been one of those days that has been a bit over-
whelming. It's easy to get out of the habit of a regular work day, especially when it's already the slow season for my industry. The fun stuff, like taking home made cookies to my business network, has come to an end for the season. It's time to lay the groundwork to hit 2007 running. It felt more like diving into the shallow end of a cold swimming pool, and I can still feel the impression of the telephone on my ear.

About midway through my day and after dealing with one of the biggest, rudest jerks I have ever had the misfortune of hearing on the other end of a telephone, I found myself drifting away. Okay, it was time for lunch. I felt entitled. Low blood sugar makes your attention drop. A quick reverie before nuking my low cal frozen sandwich wasn't too bad of an indulgence. It would make me more productive ... really. What I found myself wondering is where my creative life seems to have gone.

I thought about my recent blog entries. Most have had sloppy grammar, enough misspellings to make me wince, a rather vague and syrupy tone and general what I've done content. That stuff is for the offline journal. My readership may barely reach the charts, but I still want the content to be a good, engaging read. I haven't done any work on my ongoing long story, novella, novel -- whatever it turns out to be, in far too long. I haven't written any poems. Heck, other than the traditional consumption of A Christmas Carol, I haven't read any good books in too long. Not only have I not been exercising my creativity, I haven't fed it either. Not good. Not good at all.

I may have to be fairly driven, focused and anal retentive about details to do my job well, but in order to live well with some sense of personal fulfillment and mission, I have to give time and passion to writing creatively. That's when it hit me. I've been living on the bottom levels of Maslow's pyramid. Heck, I can't even think any deeper than Psychology 101. Those basic life needs take tremendous energy, and they are absolutely essential. If my crumbling memory serves me correctly, Maslow thought it was impossible to move to the next level of the pyramid until those needs were met. I know there's more though. I've experienced more, and I've learned enough to know that I have to push myself to go beyond basic survival.

My sense of belonging, my self-image and my self-esteem, and my sense of self- actualization, becoming who I'm meant to be are intricately and inseparably bound to using creativity in my life. It's time to reach for more. That J part of my INFJ personality and my left brain would love for life to be a linear progression up the pyramid. I would love to be able to always take the lower levels for granted because I was there once. It's just not that simple. My life is more like Chutes and Ladders. I go up and down with dismaying frequency, but when I relinquish trying to be creative, I stay down longer. I seem to have forgotten that for awhile, and I'm determined to get that back.

I don't do New Year's resolutions, but I do like developing goals and strategies. Once again, writing well has to be a goal that I write down and keep in front of me. My left brain won't unleash the right unless it senses a sense of order and structure, so I have to please both parts of me. The right brain holds the dream, and the left brain figures out how to make it work in the chaos of my daily life. I got that lesson today, so those talkative phone hours and my little mental escape held some value. That's a good enough place to begin again.



Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Oh Cynthia, the holidays are just too damn hard on everybody. Even when Christmas seems to go well, we don't understand how much pressure has been on us. Sometimes it's really hard to detox from the Ho-ho-ho. I'm really sorry about the rude person you had to deal with. That stuff just twists in my stomach. And you are being too hard on yourself about the blog. It's yours, remember? You aren't writing it to entertain, you're writing it to tell the truth. If you aren't telling the truth, that's a problem: otherwise, you're okay. I read your blog because you make me think about things and because I enjoy tracing your life journey. I hope you write more fiction in the coming year.

December 26, 2006 11:16 PM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

I blame the blahs on the season. Even though I look forward to it, love it when it in full swing, I am relieved when it is over.

December 27, 2006 4:34 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I haven't seen a lack of creativity in your blog. In fact, I'm continually amazed that you have the time to write such thoughtful entries AND do all the other things you have to do in your life. I can't even think about resolving to write WELL right now. Just writing is the best I can do.

I love the "chutes and ladders" analogy. That is exactly what my life has been for just a little over a half-century...

December 27, 2006 11:35 AM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

It was so interesting to read this today, seeing you go from a negative tone to the "up and at 'em" ending. That's life for us in a nutshell. Figure out what it is, and go about getting it done. Sounds simple in writing, but you're right, the day-to-day chaos we live through sure can stifle creativity.

But I like that place you're beginning from again! Good luck and see you soon


December 27, 2006 2:47 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

You want to spur creative thoughts and regain your self-esteem all at the same time? Get Nathanial Branden's book "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem" and do the 26 week sentence stem excercises in the back of the book.

You can find examples of the ones I did last year in my blog, just search it for "sentence stems".

I learned a lot about myself and it also made me think about all sorts of things.


December 27, 2006 3:43 PM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

Your blog writing has seemed incredibly productive to me lately. Creative, thoughtful, honest, exploratory. All such good things!

December 27, 2006 9:28 PM  

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