Never Forget How Good It Feels

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You love your writing/drawing/painting/dancing/acting/singing/collaging work.

You know you love it. I mean, that’s why you do it, right?

But you find that it slips down to the bottom of your to-do list. Other things are just more important. You don’t love grocery shopping, but if you don’t do it, you don’t eat. You don’t really want to clean that bathroom, but the alternative is just…eww.

Before you know it, days, weeks, even months have gone by and you haven’t done the work you love. You haven’t drawn anything other than that doodle from the staff meeting two weeks ago. You haven’t thought about your characters in so long that they’re no longer speaking to you. You’re pretty sure your legs have forgotten those awesome dance moves you’d finally mastered.

Over time, it all feels more and more distant. More and more hypothetical, even. You recall your creativity as this thing of fond remembrance from a long time ago—and you feel this nagging pull, and even a little guilt and a pang of sadness, because it’s not quite so real anymore.

And then, one day, you say, “I don’t care about the rest of it. I need to feel that paint brush in my hand, the keyboard under my fingers, the music coming out of me.” And you do it. Even if it’s just for five minutes, you do it.

As soon as you go back to your creativity, it all comes flooding back. Your muscles do remember. The synapses do fire—and you fire with them.

Never forget why you love it

In that moment, even if it’s just for a few minutes, you are filled from your head to your toes with that glorious sensation of how right it feels. How much you really do love it, right here, right now, and it’s as if you’ve come home, and you don’t ever want to leave again. The whole world is in color.

In fact, you wonder, how did you let yourself leave in the first place? How did this tragedy happen? If you weren’t feeling so good, you’d mourn all that lost time. But you’re too happy to feel sad.

Then life intrudes, and the groceries call, and the kids have soccer practice, and the colored pencils sit untouched, the music unsung, and life fades toward black and white again.

You know what I’m talking about. You’re nodding your head and saying, “Yes, yes. I understand. I’ve been there. How do I stay in that wonderful moment?”

That answer varies from person to person, because our resistance manifests in different ways. But I’m going to suggest one idea that can thwart that resistance no matter how it happens to look for you, for me, for anyone else:

Never forget how much you love your creative work. Hang on to that feeling for dear life. I’ll bet it came back to you when you read this post, so you haven’t really forgotten—you just haven’t actively remembered it. If you discover in a few days, a week, a month that it’s grown distant, close your eyes for 30 seconds and feel it with every sense you have so you don’t lose it.

And then, the next time you have even five minutes, make it real again.

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