December is a month that I usually feel the need to prepare myself for. I fiercely resist the pressure of mass consumerism, and as I’m not religious, I have to find my own meaning within this winter festival.
The only way I know to respond to that is to focus on living creatively. For me, that means living from a spirit of experimenting, of making it up as we go along, like kids do when they role-play.
In that space, I’m allowed to not know what comes next, or what ‘works’. I’m free to discover what doesn’t work for me, and to create from those experiences a new path forward.
I simply have to keep receiving the raw materials – the stuff that happens, the emotions I feel, and the practices that support me – and weave them into my own particular tapestry. One which is often messy, or unfinished in places.
Two particular qualities help me to live creatively: surrender and intention.
Or more precisely, finding the space right between the balance of these two practices.
I need to surrender to the process of living moment-to-moment, of not knowing what material I might next be given to work with. And I need to balance this with intent, so that I can spot if my emerging tapestry no longer reflects how I’ve grown and changed.
It’s a pertinent time to reflect on living creatively, in the face of so many restrictions. I read once that some artists deliberately place restrictions on themselves, to help them discover new approaches and perspectives.
I’ve experienced this in daily life recently, finding that creativity has been an empowering response to not being able to do so many things in the usual way. This requires surrender, to the conditions that I cannot control. And it requires the intention to keep learning and growing.
But without falling so much into surrender that I feel defeated, and not gripping so tightly to intention that I’m trying to force a particular outcome. So, residing in the in-between.
Some lovely things have emerged from this space: new routines, new skills, new practices, new interests.
And as for the festive season, I know by now that for me, it always demands a creative response. I can’t control the tidal wave of invitations to consume (to buy endless stuff I mean, I don’t mind the food). But I can divert the energy I would put into resisting consumerism, send it elsewhere, channel it into my own chosen intentions for the month.
Which are to mark the solstice, to sink into a deeply reflective time of year, to draw my loved ones close, and to find the magic in the simple things.