We made hundreds of decisions every single day. When bad things happen we look back on all those little decisions and wonder, “did I cause this? or was this my fault?” Logically we understand there are something in life that are just out of our control, but we still want to blame ourselves. Here’s my story of finding forgiveness after the stillbirth of my daughter.
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When was the last time you sat down and listed everything you’ve accomplished or experienced in the last year or five years? A few weeks ago I did just that and I was shocked. Take a peek at what happened when I decided to write it all down and consider what might happen if you did the same.
Have you ever looked at the pathway ahead of you and felt overwhelmed? I haven’t written for publication in a long while. I was afraid and let my fears hold me back. Anyone else have that problem? Well here’s how I’m overcoming those fears.
Creativity to Release Stress
Have you ever seen an article or study suggesting a link between physical exertion and stress relief? One of the primary reasons so many people workout, I believe, is indeed stress relief. Did you know, however, that creative outlets can also be helpful to relieve stress? James Clear summarizes this well in his article Make More Art: The Health Benefits of Creativity. Indeed, I’ve experienced stress relief through a variety of creative outlets myself.
So if we know something is good for us why wouldn’t we do more of it?
What holds us back?
- Fear of failure - Maybe it’s the first time we’ve picked up a paintbrush since 3rd grade. The first thing that goes through our minds is “I’m not the artistic type” or “This is going to turn out horribly." Creativity is much like exercise: you wouldn’t run a marathon without first training nor will you be able to execute a perfect painting (if there even is such a thing) the first time. We are rarely good at things the first time we do them. Is that a reason not to try?
- Fear of judgement - We often self-criticize and worry what others will think of our work. The cool thing about creative outlets for stress is that you never have to show your work to another soul if you don’t want. I wrote in a journal for 20 years of my life and never showed any of it to anyone. It was mine and mine alone. Being creative to find connection with your heart only requires that you do it, not share it.
- Not enough time - We’ve all used this rationale for so many things. Indeed, there will never be more time for creativity... unless we value the experience and understand the benefit. Try it. Experiment to see what you feel while you’re being creative. Do you feel a release? Did you discover something new about yourself?
When was the last time you let your imagination wonder? You know, like you did when you were a kid. No boundaries. No restrictions. Just freedom to explore.
As adults, our ability to think creatively becomes stagnate as we allow our fears to place the restrictions upon ourselves.
I wouldn’t describe myself as the “creative” type either.
I would describe myself as a person who seeks creative outlets to release my fears and to discover my heart. Here are some avenues I’ve been drawn to throughout the years.
- Writing: I’ve mentioned writing repeatedly because it has been present in some form or fashion for nearly all of my life. I’ve only just decided in the last year to begin sharing it with all of you.
- Coloring: Sometimes you just need to soothe your mind with the repetition of a pencil or crayon. (See below.)
- Photography: I’ve shared my love of photography with you too. I’m enjoying discovering the world from new angles and new perspectives. With just the shift of a camera angle, my whole world can change.
- Organizing: Organization may not seem "creative" and may sound ridiculous to some, but I get so much joy from finding creative ways to live in small places and still maintain functionality. It stimulates my brain and makes me think outside the box of transitional methods.
- Candle making: I’m getting adventurous over the holidays and have decided to make soy candles. First time, so I’ll have to let you know how it goes!
What piques your interests and creative side? What have you been wanting to try something new but haven’t yet taken the plunge? Is there something that’s been calling to you for release and exploration? Go, my friends, and do. Express yourself, find a release, and you might be surprised to find a whole lot more while you’re there.
We have all been handed that one crappy card (or maybe multiple crappy cards). You know the ones: those cards that make our hand seem unrecoverable and we don’t see any other choice than to fold. Discover the power that lies within, the power of choice.
Many times we know we need to spend time with our heart and yet we avoid. Either we don’t know how or we’re scared. Today, I'll give you a starting place for the how. I'll ask that you bring your courage.
Last week we discussed how to recognize when your heart needs a little attention. What happens when you're family members, co-workers, or friends starts behaving differently? How do you recognize when others are hurting, and what can you do to support them during their time of need?
This past week was a difficult one. I’ve spent this evening trying to understand why this week hurt so much. Here’s what I discovered.
Forgiveness is never easy. Why is it important to focus on forgiveness even when no one person has done anything wrong? When life hits us with unimaginable circumstances sometimes there's no one to blame, but there is still forgiveness to be embraced.
Grit and resiliency: those are some heavy words! When using those words in relation to my grief journey, I'm finding their literal definitions fall short of my experience.
It's ironic that the greatest loss of my life also provided me with the greatest gift. The day we lost Adeline was, of course, the absolute worst day of my life. The days since I last held her have been excruciating. They have also been the most liberating days of my life.
I have a dream, a dream I hold so close to my heart that I'm a little unsure about sharing it. I'll share it with you today because I imagine I'm not the only one in this world who's ever had their dreams fall apart, just when they thought they were within reach.