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Empty Your Bucket Before You Kick It

Note to my loyal readers: This posted was originally posted more than 2 years ago but is still relevant today. Please enjoy it again.

 

Live your creative life (c) Can Stock Photo

Live your creative life
<ahref=”http://www.canstockphoto.com”>(c) Can Stock Photo

In the 1980s when my children were young, I was executing a life plan of sorts, without realizing it. It wasn’t a formal, written-in-ink, kind of plan. It was simply the way I chose to live. I was a stay-at-home mom with a daughter and a son, six years apart in age. Like most parents, I was continually in flux moving from toddler adventures to early grade curiosities; elementary lessons to junior high hormonal changes, high-school independence surges to college age know-it-all stages. I’d switch my focus spontaneously from making Play-Doh figures to helping the other one learn lines in a play; from practicing the math “Times Table” to memorizing the chemistry Table of Elements; from cheering for karate school accomplishments to monitoring teen parties.

 

I loved every minute of it.  It was the most memorable and most creative time of my life. Not only was I shaping the lives of my children and enriching mine, I was being creative and involved for their sake. Planning wild and vibrant birthday parties with new games and unique hand made decorations; teaching my Brownie Troop to make dioramas, making cross-stitch plaques for teacher gifts; making my daughter’s clothing til she was 6, helping my son create his ‘Indiana Jones’ costume, and teaching them how simple, homemade games can be as much fun as video games.

 

My creativity even spilled over into working within the household budget, cooking, entertaining friends, decorating my home. Everyone’s life holds creative opportunity and there are ways to tap into that creative juice at the moment you need it. Everyday I emptied my creative bucket and felt satisfied. While mind and body slept, I was replenished and proceeded to empty all my creativity, love and passions onto my family and crafts again the next day.

 

I recently read a guest post on Michael Hyatt’s blog by Todd Henry, author of Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice. In his post, Why I Hope to Die Empty, he writes about emptying himself on a daily basis of all that he has to give, rather than dying one day having unfulfilled dreams.

Please watch:

The Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice from Accidental Creative on Vimeo.

This is his belief, “My only job—each and every day—is to empty myself, to do my daily work, and to try as much as possible to leave nothing unspoken, uncreated, unwritten.

I made a commitment that if any given day were my last, I wanted to die empty, having completely divested myself of whatever insight or work was in me to share on that day. As I began to apply this principle to relationships, art and work, I felt a measure of peace even in the midst of busy times. Once I realized that I only have influence over the work that’s in front of me, I stopped trying to control things that were beyond my grasp.

I still have long-term goals, and I think they’re essential. (I just checked one off my list by publishing my first book!) But long-term goals can become paralyzing if we fail to realize that we accomplish them one day at a time, or more precisely one decision at a time, as we choose to engage in the work in front of us. Novels, businesses, and masterpieces are nothing more than a collection of choices someone made to empty themselves each and every day. The creative process is a daily assault on the beachhead of apathy.”

 

 

I believe this is the way to live also, though it takes time to develop the habit of remembering to let it all go…release the feeling you must control everything in your power and allow yourself to just give of yourself. These days I give all I can to my grandchildren and children, I take the time to write and empty all my ideas onto the page, I show my husband just how I appreciate him and how I enjoy the time we carve out for each other.

 

If I were to die today,  it would be with peace of mind knowing that, at the end of the day-the end of my life, I have emptied myself upon my loved ones and my craft. I find that living in a creative way gives me a feeling of fulfillment and purpose. It’s sweet freedom from the anxiety of living with an endless to-do list that can make me feel as if I failed at the end of the day, since I couldn’t complete every task.

 

Oh, I still abide by my Life List and my daily goals, but living to “Die Empty”, or my version-’Empty the Bucket Before You Kick It’,  is an alternative to the self-inflicted pressure that having those lists can create. It will open the door to becoming my own image of creative genius.

 

Have you been living this way, maybe without thinking about it in these terms?

Or maybe you have been running in circles trying to get to a point where you feel you can just breathe?

How would you enrich your creative pursuits?

Are you able to access your creativity when you need it?

 

Please do leave a comment. I love it when you tell me what you think!

Marcia Richards, sexy, smart and strong

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Discussion

  1. Patricia Sands  September 23, 2013

    Thank you for the vitally important reminder, Marcia. We can never hear this message enough! It’s so easy to get caught up in the flotsam and jetsam of daily life and simply neglect what should be most obvious: live a full life with no regrets.
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    • Marcia Richards  September 26, 2013

      Yes, ‘no regrets’ is definitely my goal. You are another of my friends who is definitely a great example in living fully. Thanks, Patricia.
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  2. Susan Troccolo  September 23, 2013

    This was a wonderful post Marcia, thank you. Ironically my last post was about “childless by choice”, so clearly it is not the specifics in our lives, but the way we are able to live in the present that matters. As for your question, I can’t seem to get by without a half hour or more of meditation each day. I can feel the difference when I don’t make time for it–I’m crankier, more anxious, more likely to be judgmental of my efforts to write. Somebody told me that meditation is for making us less reactive and that has proven to be true for me….which really helps me as a writer. Love to you Marcia.

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    • Marcia Richards  September 26, 2013

      You know yourself well, Susie. We do have to find what works for us. Living in the moment, if we can master it, saves a lot of anxiety, too. We can’t be perfect at any technique to enrich our lives but, we can remind ourselves frequently to stop and remember what’s important. Sending love your way, too! Hope you’re doing well.
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  3. Susan Mayberry  September 23, 2013

    This would be especially good for those of us who have trouble turning off the brain to go to sleep.

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    • Marcia Richards  September 26, 2013

      OMG, Sue, that is SO me! I can take forever! Or I wake in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep no matter what i do! I have to work harder at my own advice. LOL
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  4. Helen  September 23, 2013

    Fantastic article to remind us to live life daily – actually live it, not exist. You’re a great writer and full of much wisdom. Love you!

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  5. Gloria Richard Author  September 23, 2013

    I LOVE THIS, Marcia.

    Sometimes, I run away from my creativity, and tackle the simple, no-brainer, non-gleeful tasks on my list first.

    How’s that for self-defeating behavior for a writer? Perhaps it’s because the one thing I enjoy doing most, is also one where the quality of the days output can’t be “scored” or “graded” or “checked off.”

    Word count? Sure. But, my writing paradigm focuses more on time spent writing — especially when I’m working through a difficult spot. Thanks for the booster shot. Off to write.

    I will NOT miss GOLDEN HEART this year. No. Way.
    Gloria Richard Author recently posted..COME PLAY WITH THE DARK HUNTSMAN…Cover Reveal & GiveawayMy Profile

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    • Marcia Richards  September 26, 2013

      Oh, Gloria, I have everything crossed that you enter and place well in the Golden Heart this year!! Frankly I have many days where the easiest of tasks are the only ones I complete! So good to see you!
      Marcia Richards recently posted..How To Power Up Your PinningMy Profile

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