Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Loving My Actual Life
Bringing the Creativity

I'd never heard of Alexandra Kuykendall when Loving My Actual Life hit my radar screen several weeks ago via Instagram - but I now feel like Alex is a friend!

My One Little Word for 2016 is Yes - and from the moment I saw the cover of this book, I knew that it contained something I needed as I continue to explore that word this year. I was so right!

In the seventh month of her "experiment of relishing the goodness that is here and present" [page 11], Alex specifically addresses one of the concepts behind my decision to choose the word Yes as 2016's word — that is, my need to create. Sometimes my day-to-day life as an accountant is about as creative as the stereotype would suggest. And yet I feel the pull both to prioritize my existing creative outlets and to expand my horizons.

Alex explained this pull by quoting Emily P. Freeman's book A Million Little Ways (which, not so coincidentally, I purchased several months ago):
The first thing we know about God is He made art. What is the first thing we know about people? We were made in the image of God.
As Alex says, "Creativity is woven into the fabric of who we are. ... We were made to create!" [Pages 142 and 144].

I could feel the importance of these statements as I read - but what sunk deep into my heart was this later passage:
I am not a fan of the phase philosophy ... That this is just a phase or a season and there will be time for (fill in the blank) later. Because the truth is, we don't know that there will be a later. ... I can do my best to make plans, but truly, if I was made to do something I must figure out a way to do that something now, even if a little at a time [pages 194-195].

So. What do I do with this truth?

As Alex expressed her own doubts about whether she really should prioritize creative time, she referenced a book that (again, not so coincidentally) I read earlier this year — 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. A primary take-away of that book, as Alex summarizes it, is this:
It's about making the most of our downtime when we have it. Either to be intentional about a creative pursuit or letting our minds wander instead of inputting the mindless junk food we tend to feast on [page 150].
Yes! To quote Alex: "I'm feeling inspired to be a little more intentional here" [page 150]. While I long to initiate an epic experiment in loving my own actual life — and one day (soon) I will — today I have got to start where I am, I have got to start with one small change.

Beginning now, once or twice each week I will schedule time (even if it's just a little time) for writing or photography or Bible journaling. Spending less time on social media will help make this possible. Those little bits of time will add up!

This post is linked up over at Alexandra Kuykendall's blog along with others talking about loving their actual lives through small changes.

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