With my birthday just five days after Halloween, it’s probably not a surprise that as a kid I had several Halloween-themed birthday parties.
I remember one birthday party in particular, around kindergarten age, when everyone arrived in costume, and the Big Event was the “parade” we took down the block, in full daylight, me proudly in the lead, while the moms looked on and snapped pics on their Instamatics.
I think that was the year I was a fairy princess, in a store-bought, pink nylon costume, with (very uncomfortable) blue-veined, clear, plastic wings and a matching, star-tipped, silver wand. Oh, and the ultimate in fairy princess footwear, circa early 1970s: white, patent vinyl go-go boots. Yeah, baby!
All the Halloweens before that I dressed as either a tiger or a cat. Later, princesses, or fairies, or fairy princesses, took over.
(Have I mentioned my first career path was to grow up to be a cat? My older brother demanded that my parents tell me I could do no such thing, but mom and dad insisted that I could grow up to be anything I wanted. One of the very few times I won an argument with my bro, and the memory still tastes sweet. Of course, he did have the last laugh in the end…)
Whatever I dressed up as, Halloween was a sparkling opportunity every year to let my creativity and imagination run wild.
An Invitation from the Universe
As kids, it’s like we have an open invitation from the Universe to play and create. Then we grow up, and though that open invitation never really goes away, we think it does. For too many of us, play, and the kind of delight in small things that we had as children, those just go away.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
I’m on a mission to bring play and joy and delight back — into my own life, and the life of anyone else who wants to join me. Sure, I have adult responsibilities now, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still cultivate joy!
Anytime I use my creativity — whether I’m playing at my art table, in my kitchen, in my garden, with my ukulele, or with my iPhone — I can tap into that very same creative spirit that lit up my childhood Halloweens.
There are so many ways to find delight.
The Power of Tiny
Delight doesn’t have to come only from big things, like Halloween. A costume party every day would be a bit much, anyway. Part of what makes Halloween special is that it comes only once year.
Besides, who would have the time?
Thankfully, there are all kinds of ways to cultivate joy and delight in the nooks and crannies of even the busiest life.
One way I do that is by making time to play in the Creative Sandbox — even just a little bit — every day.
Sometimes that means messing around with paint, ink, and paper, making ArtSparks.
Lately, it means messing around with words, filling a 3×5 card to a random prompt every morning.
Seriously, even two minutes of creative play makes a difference.
The Power of Attention
Another way I cultivate joy and delight is by bringing attention and awareness to the details of my day.
When I really pay attention, rather than zombie-walking through my day, I notice countless spaces for fun and silliness, spaces for awe and wonder, spaces for gratitude and appreciation — none of which require extra time on my part, just noticing. When I bring awareness to these spaces, I open up room to be tickled and touched, and joy expands.
Even for a creativity evangelist like me, though, it’s not always easy to keep these things up. Life intervenes. We get busy. We forget…
Personally, I need reminders.
And I need community.
The Power of Community
On my own, it’s easy to let my busy-ness shut out play and delight and joy. But with a tribe of kindred spirits (even a tribe of one other person) to reflect back that yes, fueling my creative fire is important, I’m energized to keep at it, even when it gets hard.
All of this was on my mind a few weeks ago when I thought about my 47th birthday coming up on November 5th. I decided that what I really wanted this year was not a costume party with a parade, but something to help spark creativity and cultivate joy — yours, mine, and anyone’s who wants to be part of our tribe. So I created a month-long e-course to get all of us — me and you — creatively sparked up and joyfully energized.
(I believe that birthdays deserve more than a one-day celebration, after all — it really should be a birthday season, don’t you think?)
As holiday season approaches, we can all use as much energy as we can get! I know from experience (and science has proven) that a tiny investment in my creative spirit pays off in spades: I’m in a better mood, I have more patience and tolerance, I have greater willpower and self-control for everything from irritating calls to tech support to tempting junk food at holiday parties.
My new course, Get Sparked!, is designed to get you creating (just a tiny bit every day) and noticing, without requiring a ton of time that you don’t have.
Whether you want to:
- Explore your creativity for the first time
- Make holiday gifts for your friends and family
- Get back to a lapsed writing or arting practice
- Explore a new mode of creative expression you’ve been intrigued by
- Or just have a safe container to play in and kindred spirits to play with
…this course is for you.
Come spend a month cultivating joy with me.
(Fairy princess costume optional, but not required. ;))
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
Photo by Arwen Abenstern at Flickr