It doesn't have to be all about the twinkling lights, bundles of gifts or mountains of food. Editor, Kali Anthony, reminds us that remembering the small pleasures in life can make all the difference, and recharge your creative batteries.
I'm a firm believer that the creative process requires an element of joy. It also requires a large dash of masochism and a healthy dose of persistence but in the end joy is at its heart or we wouldn't keep going.
The ultimate question is how to keep that joy, when the rest of life feels like a drudge?
We're in the throes of the holiday season, which whilst it's supposed to be celebratory contains (lets be frank) a mountain load of stress. Getting the house ready, stringing lights, preparing food, negotiating with family, considering gifts etc. can suck the happiness right out of the season, just when you should be singing "Deck the Halls" and "Joy to the World" (or some other suitably festive ditty, from whichever is your tradition at this time of year).
A while back, I was mired in what was a fairly joyless existence. Everything seemed like work. Everyone appeared to be more successful than me, with better stuff and having a WAY better time. There didn't seem to be any fun, any more.
In truth, that wasn't reality but how I percieved it, and perception is everything. It meant going back to the drawing board. I read an interesting self help article (I don't read many, and tend to discount most that I do). The piece talked about writing down what you were thankful for, and also listing what made you happy. What did I have to lose? Nothing, so I got cracking on the job with pen in hand.
I had plenty to be thankful for; my health, my family, a roof over my head, food on the table. More than a significant proportion of the human poulation, so in that regard I was blessed.
As to what gave me joy? It came to me when I was gardening, tilling the soil. Healthy earth, all black and damp and full of worms. My garden gave me flowers and vegetables. The scent of roses filled my house. I could cook what we grew.
In the garden amongst the dirt and mulch and bugs I was happy. THAT gave me joy.
I recognised that the small joys, the ones with true meaning, had been lost. Swamped by all of that adult responsibility. Obvious now - the love of my family, my pets, writing, painting and digging amongst the dirt. Picking flowers, talking to my neighbours over the fence about what I grew. In the garden is where I had some of my best creative ideas.
I got back to basics. Being present in each tiny moment. Walking the dog and watching her tail wag. Lying down to read with the cat curled up, purring on my stomach. Taking the kids to the park and hearing them squeal as they played in the creek catching frogs and fish. Looking at worms in the earth. These were the moments that replenished the soul. And the soul is where my ideas took root and flourished.
In the end I discovered it's easy. Take time out for the little things. The simple things we all forget.
In this festive season if your creative well is diminished, replenish it with the small joys.
As for me, when it gets too much this December I'll smell the roses, dig in the dirt and think of what dawned on me those years ago. 'There are worms in my garden, all is right with the world.'
So, Merry Christmas or happy holidays to you and yours. Enjoy the little things and may your creative well fill to overflowing, ripe and ready for the new year!
What are the small things you love? How do you replenish your creative well? Tell us in the comments or on Social Media to join the #PHS readers conversation on this topic.We'd love to hear from you.