A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough. (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
“When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life.” (Brenda Ueland)
I spent yesterday with my sister and her kids. We watched a video on how to make a God’s eye out of yarn and craft sticks. We all laughed, when at the end of the video, the instructor said, “They’re so useful…and beautiful.” Useful, we snorted. What can they do?
I brought mine home, and hung them on display near our dining room table. And retold my husband the story of how the instructor thought the completed God’s eye was useful. We had a good laugh. But this morning, I felt my attitude was a bit contemptuous.
What if, a God’s eye was useful? What if, it’s beauty brought me joy? What if, in the making of it, I felt good. What if, creating something is important, whether it has a use or not? And, if I was going to make fun of this idea, I might need to examine my own love of creativity and art making. Maybe my own pursuit of beauty was useless, if I was going to take such a stance on this project.
My bad attitude followed me like a whiny child. I started thinking that if I was such a good critic of what was useful, then why couldn’t I find purpose in my own devotional life. I started a downward spiral. I started searching for that more, that something else that would expand my soul and soothe my inner angst.
But why do I want more? I want something I can’t describe. So, I search my pile of books, my past journals, my creative practice of discovering “messages” in my collage work, and myriads of sources on the internet.
A question posed recently on one of my quests resonated with me. “What are you hungry for?” I didn’t answer it right away. The question nestled down into my contemplating mind.
This morning, I came to my cozy spot a bit restless. Instead of contemplation, I opened my laptop to scour for inspiration. In my email, I noticed a tidbit about a box of artsy goodies from one of the artists I follow online. I clicked all the way to the buy button, then backed out.
What if, I didn’t buy the box, what would happen? I let that question fade. Next I searched, and found a free online class about photography, and watched some of the videos. I got bored, so I stretched my legs, noticing the gray outside brighten. I decided it was an opportune time to go for a walk.
While walking I thought to myself, that this exercise would clear my mind. Then I could return to the cozy spot to be inspired. As I walked various thoughts tumbled through my head. And the question from last week stretched up into my consciousness, “What are you hungry for?” And a litany of answers followed, “Something new, fresh, different, an aha moment.” I continued to walk my usual route, when I remembered that sometimes it’s good for your brain to take a different turn. So, I turned on the street that was ahead of me. As I made the turn, I thought I’m hungry for inspiration, but I don’t know how to get it. Once I let that thought sink in, the phrase “what if” whispered into my mind.
What if, you didn’t buy the box, because you had enough supplies at home. What is it that appeals to you about the box? I answered myself, “Well, receiving the box is fun, and the surprise of the reveal excites me, and using the stuff in the box challenges me, and…and…I might get inspiration!!!
After my walk, I found an empty box.
I went to my studio, and noticed the wealth of supplies.
I chose items to “send” to myself to celebrate the abundance, to create an inviting array of supplies to inspire my created self. I picked random pieces of paper, pages from old books, tubes of paint and unopened supplies that I bought on clearance. I had fun wondering what I would do with these randomly chosen items. I placed the “found” papers in a recycled paper bag and placed the other items in the box neatly wrapped in tissue paper. I labeled the box with my business logo, and set the box on my table.
And the exciting thing about choosing this “what if” path . . . not only did I not have to spend more money, I did not have to wait for it to come in the mail. I could open it today!
What if, can lead to creative solutions, as well as bring joy.
In another serendipitous turn, while I checked my email later in the day, I came upon two others who were contemplating the phrase “what if” today.
My friend and favorite planner girl, journal keeper and collage lover Dawn Paoletta, posted a photo on Instagram. And my newfound, writer and artist friend, Laurie Klein, discovered how to convert “if onlys” into “what ifs.”
How could “what if” bring you joy and clarity today?
P.S. Just for fun, here’s a video unveiling the contents of my inspiration box.