Pandemic Creativity

I like to look on the bright side, it helps me get through life. I’ve always been well aware of the suffering in the world, so I consciously choose to find and focus on all the good things that bring joy and happiness. Recently,I’ve had plenty of time to do that, and I discovered something new that makes me happy.

August was a month of laying around my apartment in recovery from dental procedures and drugs. But I wont go into that. I needed a distraction from my mouth’s misery, and I wanted to feel productive.

Having a lot of time is not as luxurious or wonderful as you might think. I actually miss working, having projects with priorities, schedules, and deadlines. I have my own projects I’m working on at home, but I miss working collaboratively on projects with a potentially larger impact.

I realized recently that my former work and family life used to give me a lot of purpose, structure, focus and even discipline. Now being an empty-nester, a recent widow, retired by circumstance, and currently the pandemic, has sort of dismantled my life’s structure. Sure, I keep myself busy – that’s not hard – but the purpose, focus and discipline have been slowly slipping away. And that’s a little scary.

So, I decided to try something different while recovering from the dental work. I felt I needed to challenge myself to be creative in a very focused and disciplined way. And there’s a book that’s been sitting on my shelf staring at me for the past two years that provided the perfect format for this challenge. It’s a book of Zentangle practices and prompts, sort of a guide for developing the skills and inspiring creativity.

To my great surprise, this new practice of learning daily “Tangles” and creating my own art with them has turned out to be very meditative, relaxing, and even joyful! My mind becomes totally focused and present to what I’m creating. I feel interested and curious to see what I will come up with each time. I never expected that it would be so enjoyable and provide endless possibilities.

It’s also given me a lot of insight into myself, and a boost to my self-confidence. It’s made me realize that creative activity is a great healer. It’s not just a nice way to spend time while recuperating, but it’s a way to process mental and emotional trauma. And one of the best things about it is that there’s no performance or perfection pressure, it doesn’t matter if they’re good or not, because doing it is adding value to my life.

So, I’m thinking that we should spread creativity like a virus. Maybe a creative pandemic is the next path for healing the world.

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