I am freakishly tired today. I don’t know if it’s my seasonal allergies, the nightmares I had last night, or the cyclical issues with my gut, but I feel like I am walking through mud with weights on my arms and legs.
I have bad habits when I am tired. The more tired I feel, the more I tend to escape into Instagram stories or peruse friends’ photos on Facebook. I want to be anywhere but present in my own fatigue and inability to produce.
I made myself set the phone aside and I opened up the book Wired to Create. I love listening to podcasts and reading books about the creative process and how to build rhythms and practices to enhance creative thought and expression. As made in the image of God, we are all creators. The expressions are unique and diverse, but all of us have creative potential.
According to the authors of Wired to Create, we need creative incubation–“a change of scenery from the rest of our everyday lives that’s relatively free of stimulation and distractions”. This is a space when our minds can daydream, make connections, and see things from a different perspective. Our creative juices begin to flow and our inner lives open up to us as we allow our minds to roam free. We are allowing knowledge to simmer as our unconscious mind takes over and engages in playing with and combining ideas.
This is why many of us say that our best ideas come to us in the shower. When we have the hot water + minimal distractions, our mind is free to wander and often a creative solution will seemingly pop into our heads. This also happens when we take long walks (the beloved practice of many writers, actors, and creatives), doodle or clean the house. After disengaging from focused thought and allowing for some creative incubation, we receive a renewed sense of creative energy, solutions to a problem, or a new way to move forward. Disengaging untangles the mental mess.
As a mother, a writer, homemaker, and educator, creativity is the current that keeps this long road of faithfulness filled with beauty, curiosity, and energy.
When I neglect to view this calling as art, then my journey becomes dull, lifeless, and routine. I have forgotten that life in the home is transcendent, purposeful, and foundational for health. It requires an artist who does the tedious, cyclical daily work but also makes room for wonder, connections, and daydreaming so that the lives of her family are inspired, growing, playful and dynamic.
But here’s the thing: when I am working hard + focused in my home and then hit the wall, my mind empty of good ideas, life-giving practices, and wholesome words, instead of making room for creative incubation to renew the life of my soul and home, I scroll my phone.
We intuitively recognize that our minds need a break from teaching, instructing, writing and administrating, but instead of doing life-giving acts that fuel our creativity and energy, we *think* that scrolling social media will give us those things. And very rarely does it deliver. We usually feel more tired, drained, and emotionally vacant.
Social media and phones and the Internet are amazing and I don’t want life without them. As with most things, it’s the *timing* that is so important. My timing is off. As being wired to create, I need to recognize that as a mother, I am an artist. As an artist, I need creative incubation. Time spent staring out the window, wandering a garden, kicking up dirt on roads, showering without a time limit. Piddling.
Creative incubation will give us fresh energy when we get back to work. This is part of the rhythm of daily engagement and retreat that will help us to live richer, more vibrant lives that inspire our families and the energy in our homes. Feed your soul with great books, interesting podcasts, silence, play, walking, showering, daydreaming. Recognize that the fast pace of social media keeps our minds shallow and doesn’t cultivate deeper, soulful, creative thinking.
My body is still tired right now, but my soul feels energized. Taking the time to put my phone down, to read an interesting, thought-provoking book, to sit with the ideas for 30 minutes, and to write my connections down in this blog has not only lifted my emotional energy but also refocused my vision again on the type of life I want to create in my home.
How will you find some “creative incubation” today? In what spaces do you allow your mind to be at rest, and in doing so, find great ideas and ways of moving forward? You are an artist, creating an atmosphere of learning, life and beauty. Make the space to be a thriving one.