Tag Archives: Creative

Green is good and other life lessons

Green header

I Walk the Line: five positive life principles I’ve adopted and embraced.

1. Seeing green is good

I read somewhere that psychologically just seeing greenery (grass, shrubs, trees etc.) lifts our moods and does us good emotionally as human beings. As someone who struggles with living in the ‘burbs and with the way we concrete over everything in cities, I try to keep reminding myself to get out into the green and just look at the plants, or sit on the grass.

2. Clean creatively

I hate routines, although I know they often do me good. I classify myself as a ‘project-oriented person’, rather than a ‘maintenance-oriented person’. I like novelty, and new projects and crises and stagnate with routines and the maintaining of daily repetitive tasks. In struggling to maintain household and personal routines, one way for me is to try to keep things creative. I bought some (purple, because it’s my favourite colour) dice and allocated each number a cleaning task. My aim was to throw the dice each day and go with the cleaning task the dice landed on. This worked for me for a little while anyway, as a person who loves variety I’ll just have to keep coming up with creative ways to maintain my house.

3. Let in the sun

This one is a physical and metaphorical challenge. I find if I’m in a bit of downcast mood, I tend to keep more curtains closed in my house and so this mantra is a reminder to let physical light into my house. On another level, ‘let in the sun’ reminds me to remember the things that give me emotional energy and life, and to make time for those things, even in the midst of busyness. For me some of those things are pursuing creative endeavours (art, craft, music), catching up with long-term friends who are easy to be with, listening to live music and walking in natural surroundings (in the bush, on the beach).

4. Learn from the cat

In my busy times, I try to learn from my cat. He can sit for hours on end, seemingly staring at nothing (or everything). He’s pretty content as long as he has food and ready access to someone to sit on, or a bed to cover with his shedding fur. He is a pretty minimal meow-er, only reserving it to ask for essential needs. He is content with little, and easily shows his contentment with a happy rumbling purr.

5. Embrace the absence

A few years ago I got into blogs and books on minimalism and de-cluttering. Having grown up in a hoarding-tendancy household, it’s taken a while for me to appreciate that freedom and a sense of home can be found in not being surrounded by hundreds of possessions. I used to find comfort in sleeping surrounded by bookshelves, wardrobes and craft materials. I have hobbies that tend to involve a lot of ‘stuff’. But I’ve been learning to appreciate physical (and resulting mental) space in the rooms in my house, since doing some de-cluttering. I also appreciate being able to let go of items I don’t use, and find them a new home and use with friends, people in need or in op shops.

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The Good Wife, Alfred Nobel & National Pig Day help me write my obituary

Cross at Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Theresa)

In Loving Memory is the topic of this ‘Daily Prompt’, which I’ve started following, as I submit to the discipline of regular blogging! ‘What would I want someone to write in my obituary’ is something I do think about – what will my legacy be? What will I be remembered for? An older friend with cancer died this week, and we all have the best impression of her character – to say ‘she was a lovely person’ feels like it encapsulates her, or like telling her life story could not add to our already fond and positive feelings for her, which we gained from knowing her personally over years. It sounds completely sappy to say ‘she lives in our hearts’, but it’s true, she’s in my memories, and not necessarily in a specific memory, but as a composite memory summed up as a positive presence who was there in a phase of my life.

Last night I was catching up on Season 5 of ‘The Good Wife’ and (spoilers, if you’re a season behind like me) I got to the episode where Will Gardner dies when his client goes mad with a gun in the courtroom. I had never seen that plot twist coming – I woke up still thinking about it this morning! In the episode that follows Will’s death, everyone is dealing with their grief and several characters say ‘I loved him’. Alicia Florrick is talking to her daughter, who suggests Will is now in heaven, and Alicia says something to the effect that he did some bad things, but he was trying to be, or to bring about, good, by doing the bad things. I believe the impression you’re left with of Will is that he was hard-nosed, passionate and dedicated to his work to the end, but that he was also well loved, although all who loved him had never expressed it to him in those words – a lot had gone unsaid.

Then there is the famous case of Alfred Nobel who one day in 1888 read his own obituary in the paper, where it had been accidentally published instead of his brother’s. Apparently he was horrified to see how he would be remembered as a ‘merchant of death’, having been heavily involved in the business of explosives, and that this was a turning point in his life. Unknown to his family, he left much of his fortune to fund the prizes that became the Nobel prizes. Until I heard this story, I didn’t know anything about Nobel’s involvement with explosives, but only about the peace prize.

I don’t tweet a lot, but recently I noticed it was ‘National Pig Day’ in the USA and I knew I had photos of the pig sculptures in Rundle Mall in Adelaide. So, just for fun, as I love the novelty and variety of having different days of the year dedicated to different people, animals, plants or causes, I tweeted my photo. Well, due to the hashtags I used, my tweet got picked up by City of Adelaide who decided to take up the cause of sending porcine love across the Pacific. I can safely say this is the most mentioned & re-tweeted tweet I have ever made. I’ve probably had my 5 minutes of (extremely minor) social media fame now, and I think it’s a great thing that social media is transient, because I wouldn’t want to think that when I’m gone, I was only known for tweeting about National Pig Day!

Last year I studied a course in visual arts, and at the end of the course we had to write an Artist’s Statement. This was a long and arduous process for someone who is not particularly into self promotion. Reflecting on your own art, and noticing themes, and then reflecting on what you want your art to be about, and bringing it together into a succinct statement is a daunting task. However one thing that aided me, was a job application for a copywriting job I’d put in last year. They asked you to nominate three words that defined you. I would like it if these three words were associated with me when I’m gone: Creative, Compassionate and Concrete. I’d like to be known as someone who not just created works of art, but as someone who also thought creatively. Someone who left a visual legacy behind, but not just a legacy of beauty, a legacy of compassionate advocacy for the marginalised and dispossessed. And I’d like to be remembered as someone who didn’t just create art in a garret, or theorise about justice in a safe place, but be known as a person of action, who got in amongst people and made theory concrete. I’m also a Christian, so I don’t just want to be known as someone who strived to do all this in their own strength, but as someone who lived an authentic life, sharing the compassion that comes from God. And if this is what I want to be known for, it’s a spur for me to get on and be what I want to be known to be.

 

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Filed under A creative life, A deliberate life, A reflective life