Coffee Chat: Chaos vs. Creativity


Today was an interesting day.  It started off just like any other weekday. In fact, I woke up feeling pretty darn happy.  I saw the Mister Roger’s Documentary last night and woke up this morning still reveling in what a marvelous television program that was, and what a kindhearted creative being that man was.   I was feeling inspired.

I was up early enough, so I headed to one of my favorite morning Kundalini Yoga classes.  The class was great, I left feeling peaceful, abundant, and energized, and then I headed to get my car’s oil change.

My car lease, which I first wrote about for MITB, in relation to (negotiating skills), is nearing the end, and I decided to pop into the sales office to get further information on the end of lease process.  This is my first lease, having owned five cars previously; three with bank loans, and two with cash purchases.  I opted for a lease this time around, as it enabled me to get the pricier mid-size SUV I wanted while keeping my payments within a range I could afford.  All has been well. Until today.

I was blind-sided with the news that the option I was betting on (re-financing my current vehicle into a purchase, and lowering my monthly payments), was no longer available to me. Instead, I was presented with what at this moment looks like a lose/lose situation.  I paid for my oil change, took my keys, and left.  I have three weeks to figure it out before my lease ends.

As I’m driving home, doing my best to remain calm about this unexpected development, and formulating various plan Bs, Cs, and Ds… I get a text from a friend, uninviting me to a BBQ tomorrow.   Yes, you read that right – uninvited me.  Apparently, she had forgotten to tell the hostess (also a friend), that she had invited me, and long-story-short, there’s some anonymous person attending who the hostess thinks would be uncomfortable with me there (or maybe even protested my presence, I’m not exactly sure), so I’m un-invited / unwelcome.

I am sitting here in disbelief that this text message conversation – that resembles an episode of “mean girls” – just came to my phone from two grown women, with children.  Ladies, high school ended two decades ago, for all of us.

So, here I sit at the end of the day, with whiplash from these two events occurring almost simultaneously and what I felt compelled to share with you is the vital importance of knowing how to steady yourself – when things like this come up – whether personal, like the un-invitation, or financially, like the car lease.

As creatives, our art is often emotionally-driven.   And if in the chaos around us, we let ourselves be drained of those inspired feelings we started off the day with, well, then our creativity for the day fizzles out like a deflated balloon.  Our channel is no longer open and flowing, as we are now “busy” fixing some problem or another.  If we are constantly living a stressed filled life, trying to play catch up on our financial obligations, or spending time with people that bring drama our way, our creative work will suffer.

So, what can we do, when we have a day like the one I just described?

For one thing, we can look at the lessons that are being presented to us. Usually, chaos doesn’t just enter our life out of nowhere. There are steps we’ve taken or neglected to take that plants the seeds for the chaos to spring forth, in some shape or form.  Typically, there’s a lesson to be learned, if we’re open enough to recognize it.

Additionally, having healthy go-to activities like yoga, meditation, or just giving yourself a time-out to step away from your electronic devices and just be still, can make all the difference. Likewise, don’t let the chaos consume you, similar in vibe to “don’t take it personally.”

But wait, didn’t you just say that we are in some way responsible for the chaos that shows up?   Yes, I did.  That doesn’t mean you obsess over the obstacles that have risen, or decide you’re a worthless person because someone un-invited you to their BBQ.  It means you step back, you take a deep breath, and you look for logical steps or options that might help tackle what appears to be a big issue.  Or it means, you step back, and get real honest about the people in your life, and whether they are really on par with the qualities that you admire and respect in your friendships, without beating yourself up about it.

A chaos consumed mind, cannot be a creative mind.  And an artist that’s consumed with anything other than creativity ceases to create.

Which reminds me of how my day started today, basking in the glow of the story of the wonderfully creative Mr. Fred Rogers.  Here was an artist, who made it his mission, to be a shining force of positivity, support, education, and compassion at the advent of children’s programming on television.  He channeled the chaos he felt internally from unresolved childhood traumas, as well as the chaos of the world – into a positively wonderful creation that lasted over thirty years, and refused to let anyone or anything stop him, even and including himself!

What do you do when chaos shows up on your doorstep?  Do you look for the lessons?  Have you ever felt so stressed out that your creativity suffered?  What are your tried and true methods for dissolving the stress factor?  Tweet me, and let’s discuss!