In our house we like to make things.
It can be a bit frustrating, because scattered all about are bits of paper, pens, half-finished projects, supplies for half-finished projects, balls of yarn and knitting needles, books about making things, little models, lego guys and pieces, more scraps of paper, pieces of paper folded up into accordions (that would be Dan, and these are everywhere), journals, more and more books, and……did I say pens.
It is a love-hate relationship I have with all of this stuff that I shove behind closed doors when people come over,
because on one hand I adore that we can all become lost in our own worlds of what to create and do next, but on the other hand I crave order and I yearn to pair down and simplify.
In the end, I know that ‘making stuff’ wins because it brings us joy and feeds our souls.
And getting lost in a idea or project can often feel invigorating and peaceful all at once.
For many years now, there has been quite a lot of talk about ‘passion’ and finding yours. There is some truth to this pursuit, of course, because who doesn’t want to find, explore and live out their passion for the rest of their days.
But for some, that idea might feel a little unreachable, vague, and confusing.
In her new book, ‘Big Magic’, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this, and I love what she says,
Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living. Curiosity is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Furthermore curiosity is accessible to everyone. Passion can seem intimidatingly out of reach at times – a distant tower of flame, accessible only to geniuses and to those who are specially touched by God. But curiosity is a milder, quieter, more welcoming, and more democratic entity. The stakes of curiosity are also far lower than the stakes of passion.
So… may lego guys, multitudes of colored pens and bits of yarn and paper be welcomed in this house.
A month or two ago, George and I were walking home from school and he said to me,
‘Mom, I was kind of tired and cranky this morning and didn’t feel like going to school but I’m really glad I went. Had I not gone today, I would not have discovered my passion for sloths. I am even going to work at a sloth sanctuary when I grow up.’
He then proceeded to spend the entire rest of the afternoon and evening researching and sharing with us facts about sloths,
as well as intricately and repeatedly folding, until he had created an origami sloth.
Now, to be honest, the whole sloth obsession seemed to run its course fairly quickly. George hasn’t mentioned this sloth sanctuary dream job since that day, and so I feel fairly confident in my statement that I doubt his life will take him in this particular direction of sloth-saving.
But. What a perfectly beautiful dream to have for a day. A dream that completely seized him and carried him away into gentle imaginings of future days spent in peaceful and lush green sanctuaries,
then gently dissipated.
The very dreaming of it, though,
expanded his reality and sense of possibility.
This same kid recently recovered from a two and a half week rather stressful-for-all-of-us bout of painful cornea issues, due to some particularly severe allergies that just exploded due to an early and particularly robust spring. His eyes were unimaginably irritated and sore, and it actually reached the point where I needed to keep him home to stop him from rubbing his eyes to prevent further damage, and administer eye drops every hour.
He missed a lot of school but during his time at home he
taught himself how to make stop motion videos and launched his own you-tube channel,
built a homemade loom to increase the efficiency of his latest knitting project,
and memorized how to solve the rubic’s cube as well as a 5 by 5 cube.
I watched all of this with awe, all the time thinking that it was just beautiful,
all of this creativity that was drawn out by these big stretches of time alone.
From one thing on to the next, without feeling any regret at moving on or having done enough,
just gently following a pull in a new direction.
This is pure play and joyful curiosity.
Feasting on one’s own life.
I wrote this post before the tragic events this week up north. Sending big love and strength to all those affected and facing such tremendous loss and adversity. Events such as this truly require us all to come together as one.