For lots of us, the pandemic and the reasons for the current civil unrest have sent us into a tailspin of denial, anger, bargaining, and / or depression. Sound familiar? Those emotions are four of the traditional five stages of grief. We’re mourning all that we’ve lost and are fearful of what’s coming next — the unknown future. For many, our time is filled scrambling to provide for family, put food on the table, keep a roof over your head, and / or demonstrating for change. However, for those of you who have landed in a funk over the pandemic and injustices, perhaps you’re growing tired of being bored and outraged, frustrated and feeling angry and powerless. If so, you’re ready for the fifth stage of grief – acceptance. You may not like this new reality. You may not even be ready to move past the grief of all you’ve lost. However, your emotions are beginning to stabilize. You’re ready to accept that this is your life now, restrictions and all, and to shout: “Enough is enough!” Perhaps you’re even beginning to dream again. If so, I encourage you to turn a dream or two into self-expression, beginning with a goal.
A dream is ethereal and imbued with forces conspiring to grant us our desires. Deliberate creativity goals formed around a dream are outer goals. They’re desires with a plotted plan of action. The ideal goal is a creative desire that excites you and even sets off a flutter of butterflies in your stomach.
Begin with a creativity goal that is within your reach. Don’t be too serious or focus on goals you think you should pursue or ought to do or that everyone else is doing. (If you’ve learned to rely on others for permission to make your own decisions, this may be challenging.) Lean into what calls your name and excites you. Lean into what scares you because it’s just not done or people won’t like it or you’ll lose your position in the community and the respect of friends and family. Focus instead on what you’ll gain, and do it anyway.
Generate as many goals that enliven you to begin as you can come up with. This way you create a fun creative life. Creativity thrives in a vibrant and hopeful spirit. Next, select a creativity milestone that supports your vision and is relevant to reaching your chosen dream. A dream more complex and challenging than you’re capable of achieving all at once split into a sequence of smaller steps and actions. Be intentional. Be specific.
Outer creativity goals focus your actions on completing specific tasks for each forward step. Whether passionate about expressing your creativity through song, drama, weaving, dance, painting, writing, sculpting, filmmaking, fashion design, scrap-booking, writing a musical, animating a webinar, designing your website, or decorating your studio, conjure up just one goal that involves creativity with a sequence of steps you can manage on your own and you’re willing to commit to.
Defined goals like these form an external creativity goal. Begin with something manageable. Divide your chosen dream into the major steps and actions needed to achieve your goal. (Don’t worry if you don’t know all the necessary steps now. You’ll have time later as you learn more about your chosen field of endeavor to fill in what’s missing.) Outer creativity goals focus your actions on completing specific tasks for each forward step.
Dreams into Reality
Everyone has been rehashing and talking about all we see on social media, read in the news, hear from friends. Now, it’s time to quit talking and do something to correct your emotional frustrations and fears. One terrific and satisfying something is to launch into creativity. So, if you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, it is time to dream again. And then, turn those dreams into reality beginning with a goal.
(For more about how to turn dreams into tangible goals, this blog post comes in part from Boundless Creativity: A Spiritual Workbook for Overcoming Self-Doubt, Emotional Traps, and Other Creative Blocks)