World Creativity and Innovation Week 2016: Wrap Up

4/21 - Try a new creative endeavor that you have been curious about -

I had this deep desire to take all the needles, syringes, and medication bottles from

my failed IVF cycle, an extremely painful process physically and emotionally,

and turn it into something beautiful and powerful, that not only means something to me

but is a powerful message to a world that unfortunately misunderstands so much

about the disease of infertility.

This year I participated in the World Creativity and Innovation Week with my own Create More, Consume Less Retreat. You can read about it here. I felt I was in a big need for having my own little personal retreat away from the noise of consumption through social media, podcasts, and more, and I thought if I was feeling this way, others must be feeling this way too. I hoped others would take part, and I asked them to do so by asking them to turn off this noise of consumption - the social media, the podcasts, the tv, and really anything that can suck your creativity out of you. I wanted people to turn off the messages that they are not enough, to turn off that nagging comparative voice that drives you to consume, consume, consume. And instead, spend time tuning into your nurturing creative side. There are any number of ways that one can do this and I explore many of those ways consistently here on the blog. I suggested the following simple creative activities to help people be involved in small, manageable steps throughout the week.

The itinerary was as follows:

4/15 - Go into nature

4/16 - Make something that you usually buy

4/17 - Write a haiku

4/18 - Do a simple creative activity that you enjoyed as a kid

4/19 - Spend an hour working on your favorite creative endeavor

4/20 - Create a nature mandala from plants in your yard

4/21 - Try a new creative endeavor that you have been curious about

4/15 - Go into nature? Um, yes please. Wildflowers to boot?

Let me get all up in it. Talk about the most "natural" form of inspiration.

4/16 - Make something you usually buy - making handmade lotion is good for the environment,

good for my health, and gives me more appreciation and connection to the product I am using.

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone followed along. Probably something to do with my small social media following. Yada yada yada. The woes of a creative evangelist with very little followers. It's okay, I'll just keep doing me and hope that someday people will get on board. It's really an ironic thing in a way to be using noise (social media, blogging, etc), becoming part of the noise, screaming amongst the noise to STOP THE NOISE. But I hope that one day the noise will subside just for a second so that people will hear my message and it will resonate with those who could truly benefit. You know an Instagram account that I think is doing an amazing job of this is Folk Rebellion. Check them out. They are a breath of fresh air and have awesome tips.

Folk Rebellion's post last Friday 5/6/16. Hilariously accurate as well as a bit sad...

As far as I how I did this week of turning off noise and tuning into creativity, I felt successful and very much enjoyed the projects I completed. One in particular was incredibly powerful and cathartic. And the fact that such simple instructions, such simple projects, could be powerful and cathartic says big things about the power of creativity.

My haiku for 4/17 - Write a Haiku

"Consume" screams the world

My heart whispering "Create"

The essence of life

Here is a picture from my one friend, Rosie of Elemental Jewellery who lives in

New Zealand, that participated. She shared this picture of her day out in nature.

On the other hand, I did find turning off very difficult. I am not immune, AT ALL, to the addiction of social media. And I find it very hard since I run two businesses and even though I could turn off for Soul & Oak, I was unable to do so for the other business. And once you step into the rabbit hole, it's hard not to go further and further down. What I realized is maybe I am one of those people who is an "abstainer" rather than a "moderator". I should already know this based on my addiction to chocolate. If it's in the house, it's gone within a day. Only way not to eat gobs of chocolate is to keep it out of the house. With social media, I can turn it off by erasing Instagram from my phone or end up in the mountains with no internet connection for a week and I will not even feel withdrawals. But the minute I get it back and hop on I feel this comfortable rush. This is something I feel many people deal with, I know I'm not the only one. Unfortunately I feel it will be a dilemma I will face for some time.

4/18 - Do a simple creative activity that you enjoyed as a kid - always

loved me some friendship bracelets as a child. One of the first crafts

I remember making over and over again.

4/19 - Spend an hour working on your favorite creative endeavor - these

super simple and fun wall hangings are a big fave of mine right now.

I didn't necessarily expect this post to turn into a deep philosophical conversation about real life vs virtual life balance. But as I turned off and tuned into my creativity, finding it hard to turn off completely, the realization I made is that there is room for a balance. Just because I was still consuming small amounts, didn't mean I had no room left for my creative life. I can somewhat compare it to my eating habits. I am gluten-free and dairy-free but I do cheat. But I find in keeping with these restrictions and allowing myself to cheat, I still eat way less gluten and dairy than I normally would. It means I only eat it when I can just take a quick bite off my husband's meal or if it is an item so so worth it that I will give myself permission that once. Maybe that is the way to find balance between your real life and virtual life, at least for people like myself. The idea would be to make social media scrolling and consuming a "no no" but give yourself permission to sometimes indulge. Maybe to continue with the comparison to my dietary restrictions, you only indulge when you can make sure you only indulge just a teeny tiny bit or when it is so worth it that the happiness the indulgence will create will far outweigh the power of refraining. Although I do have a deep desire to turn it all off completely, and build my business organically and in real life. And I feel my community where I live may allow me to do that. However, I have also met some great people in my virtual world and have been given great opportunities as well. So we shall see what I will do, and I am sure I will explore this with you more as we think of strategies to feel more connected to our creativity and real life. I would love to hear your insights of how to balance your real world and virtual world.

4/20 - Create a nature mandala from plants in your yard - I love the repetitive,

symmetrical patterns of mandalas. I think it is what makes them so meditative.

#consumeless #createmore #creativity

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