Between the Lines

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life. — Jean Shinoda Bolen

During troublesome times, it’s especially important to discover or reconnect to what keeps you in balance, reduces your anxiety and helps you look forward to another day. The pandemic has reshuffled and turned our lives upside down. No better time to take back some control on everyday living. But how can you reclaim yourself and return to a feeling of balance?

Play is important to our wellbeing. We knew this as kids, but creative free-thinking diminishes as we push it aside for responsibilities. It is time to reconnect with your creative spirit. Dig deep and rediscover who you are and what is important to you. Make lists or freewrite until you have a page full of ideas. Circle what resonates with you. For me it’s running (I do daily), designing and crafting stained glass and jewelry (haven’t done either in a while), and writing (off and on — these days mostly off). Once you discover what brings you joy, set aside some time to do it. Be realistic about setting up time — this focus is meant to give you more balance, not pile on one more task you can’t do. Making an appointment for just an hour a week will help bring you back into balance. Be specific. Choose the day and time and show up for yourself. 

Prompts for Discovery: If you had nothing to do for 24 hours, what would you do? If you had all the time in the world and no responsibilities, how would you spend that time? What makes you happy to get out of bed in the morning? What brings you joy? What is your guilty pleasure? What do you look forward to doing? If this were your last week on earth, how would you spend it? What would you like to leave behind to your loved ones? 

Rediscover Your Creativity: Is there something you used to love to do that has gone by the wayside? What is it? Why did you love it? What if you reengaged with this activity? List 10 activities you have let slide that you loved to do. When you were young, what were your dreams? Make a list. Choose one and do it.

What have you always wanted to learn? I want to make stepping stones for my garden that include mosaic and poetry. I began researching and suddenly my desire expanded into sculpture. I’ve begun researching the various forms garden sculptures can take — wood, glass, cement, hypertufa. Now I have three theme-gardens in mind, all including some type of sculpture. To put dreams into action, I’m designing a small stepping stone as my first step (no pun intended). Even though I haven’t started the physical projects, planning my gardens and sculptures is a creative process that makes my soul happy. If you knew how, what have you always wanted to do? Research it. What would be a good first action step? Do it. Capture some creative joy — it’s right around the corner.

Kathy Steffen is an award-winning novelist and author of the “Spirit of the River Series:” “First, There is a River,” “Jasper Mountain,” and “Theater of Illusion.” She is grateful to write from her safe-at-home in Spring Green that she shares with her husband and cats. Find out more at www.kathysteffen.com.