My Magic Lesson

My life is full of magic. I work hard, play hard, and am surrounded by incredible people.

Buuuuut (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?)... There has been something missing from me.

These days, my sole creative outlet is Powerpoint. [Pause for dramatic effect]. Yep, you heard correctly: Powerpoint. And if that isn't enough of a turnoff, it seems that whenever I finish a new "corporate creation," the slides I tend to be most jazzed about get canned because they're "too visually stimulating." And while I’m being honest like I promised you, my executive reports have often been critiqued because they’re "too illustrative." So I've said, "Thank you for the feedback," accepted the coaching, and adjusted to what the bosses want. And don't get me wrong: the feedback is appreciated so that I can keep progressing in my external corporate environment. But what my internal environment hears is: please leave the right side of your brain at home. 

That's to say: this gap leaves me yearning for some right-brained, creative stimulation, and I've found inspiration in a range of after-work "extracurricular" activities. For the past year, I’ve spent my evenings soaking in blogs, marvelling at the beautiful images and words on my screen, related to a range of topics that span into infinity (my faves are to the right, if you're interested). I’ve become obsessed over making our flat the perfect mix of homey and modern, employing every scrap of interior design I know. And every morning I take more risks in my outfit selection – wearing color (God forbid in London) and not accepting the idea that I should wear a suit every day. I am absorbing creativity wherever I can.

And then a few weeks ago, my friend Trish, one of the most creative people in my circle, sent me an email. She thought I’d really like Liz Gilbert's Magic Lessons podcast, which is about creating a roadmap to harness and put your inherent creativity to use - whatever that means for you. I listened to episode 12 with Brené Brown (btw, if you don't know her, please do - asap), and it was as if everything in my head and heart was out there in the open air ways. Then, Brené wisely summarized the idea of taking creative risks by: "What's worth doing, even if I fail?" Damn, sister.

It was all so clear. My creativity had been lost somewhere on a missing persons milk carton. In fairness, I already knew that. But what I didn’t know was how much I actually needed it. I hadn’t called upon this buried part of myself in way too long. Back in my high school and college nannying days, I created a weekly theme with daily activities for the kids. I had an arts & crafts studio in my parents’ basement. I had binders, overflowing with ideas (dubbed "shitbinders" by my college roommates). Then one day, I arrived at a crossroads where I thought I had to choose: renew my subscription to Martha Stewart or switch to Harvard Business Review? So, I quit the Martha club; I ditched my craft books and picked up Good to Great, the Art of War, Lean In, and the like.

"If you had asked me 5 years ago what creativity meant to me, I would say, 'Oh that's cute... I don't really do a lotta a-r-t 'cause I got a j-o-b, so you go take your paintbrush or your scrapbooking, and you have a great time, but I gotta get shit done.'" -Brené Brown

So for those of you who know me and are wondering what the heck I’m doing here… or if I’m planning to become a career blogger or leave my job (I’m not, for the record)... This blog is a way to invest in my creativity once again; it's simply my Magic Lesson. I am reclaiming the leftover scraps of my creativity and tapping into the deeper layer that I haven’t called to action in quite some time. This is a stop on my creative roadmap, where I hope to share something beautiful and valuable with you. 

 

I'd love to hear: What else is out there? What's your Magic Lesson?

 

Images by Stian Rekdal and Tracey Benjamin 

Posted on November 5, 2015 and filed under Personal.