While waiting to meet with one of my children’s teachers, I gazed at three windows that adorned the top of a 15 foot wall of the school foyer. I watched a cloud slowly pass one window, and then another. I impatiently waited for it to pass the third window, and when it did not spread fast enough; I leaned to the right to capture its essence from the second window. Oh, how nice it would have been had I had my 35 mm camera so that I could have captured those few minutes of serenity in a photograph.
Photography allows me to capture images such as these and has become a part of my commitment to living creatively. In fact, photography has become a huge component of my self-care. Yes, self-care, self-care, self- care! We hear about it in our social work programs, licensure supervision and our continuing education training, but do we really know how to practice self-care by living creative lives? For many of us, there is little time within our daily cycle because of the imbalance of being plagued with immediate, instantaneous, “I needed that yesterday” within our technology-driven world. So in these instances, like my three minute wait for the teacher, I relish in the opportunity to have a moment of visual creativity.
Admittedly, I was tempted to pull my camera phone out and take some pictures and to even create a collage. I restrained myself and breathed in the moisture of those curvaceous cotton ball puffs, and I exhaled the vapors of each droplet. I imagined I was seeing the mountains of Mount Rushmore or the bimodal peaks of Blueridge, GA. I fantasized about being a girl again; lying in the soft grass and gazing up into a sky filled with …“Mrs. Glaude?” called the teacher. “Yes.”
My fantasy was quickly interrupted, and I was off to another obligation in the daily maze of “things to do.” It’s because of this maze that I encourage balance and the prioritization of creative self-care. This meeting was just one of many amidst my own part-time work and full-time doctoral studies. So you might wonder how I incorporate time for living a creative life. I have avowed to make creativity a priority. I take time to craft, paint and take photographs about once a month. And when I sign up for something at the kids’ schools, I strategically sign up for tasks like assembling the classroom auction basket because this allows me to use my creativity and have a quiet presence at the school. Yet, there are times when I am not feeling so artistic, and in these instances, I have to be even more creative!
I recently completed my qualifying exam, and near the end, I was stomped, braindead, drained and fatigued. So, I took a leap of courage and went to the city that makes me feel rejuvenated and refreshed – New Orleans. NOLA is where I became engaged and married and this spunky city is also where I completed my MSW, became a mother to my two wonderful kids and survived four major hurricanes! The aroma of the mighty Mississippi gives me life! So, while sitting in my French Quarter hotel room, I typed and typed away at my qualifying exam. I only took breaks to eat. While I continued to mange (French for “eat”) at the local marketplace, I listened to amateur musicians and watched innovative artists of all kinds. This jazz town made me come to life! My three day trip was just what I needed to get my creative juices going again, and yes, I passed my exam!
We exert a great deal of energy – physical and emotional. Accordingly, there is a need to revive, rejuvenate and refresh! Therefore, we must find ways to be creative and to ensure self-care. Whether it’s gazing out the window and creating cloud animals, cooking a new meal, or even capturing images with a 35 mm. In small or big moments, I assert, we must access our creative selves.
To this end, I will suggest a few tasks. First, think of a couple of ways through which you show your creativity. Second, schedule an hour or so, once a month, bi-weekly or weekly to spend time doing one of these activities. Actually schedule an activity on your calendar in your phone! Third, find a “creativity accountability partner” and hold one another accountable to finish a project regularly (i.e. drawing, quilting, cooking, scrap booking, writing, blogging, song-writing, etc.). *Note: This will require you to unplug and put all work and “tech-no-ference” away so that you may experience creativity. I challenge you to rejuvenate and revive your creative self. And, if you’re so inclined to really be daring, gaze out the window and watch the clouds make new shapes while you breathe in confidence, kindness and courage. Seize a moment of serene self-care and take in the creative greatness. “Carpe diem”! beach