Hello there, friend,
Have you ever watched Elizabeth Gilbert's TedTalk on creativity? (I'm sure you have!) In it, she describes how the poet Ruth Stone, who worked in the fields on rural Virgina, would hear a poem come rushing toward her and race to grab a paper and pen to record it before it passed her by. That picture of Stone racing to grab hold of a poem has been on my mind a lot lately. When I talk about striving and art and authenticity and learning to just be, this is what I think about: There are poems out there waiting for me to catch them! They may be actual poems, or they might be photographs, essays, drawings, any other creative thing.
But here's the thing: Stone just kept to herself and did her work in the field until she felt that rush that meant a poem was coming. She kept her head down and went about her business, but stayed open to that creative spirit that might seize her at any moment. And I think, for me, for now, this is the key. Stop striving, but stay open!
As I embrace this idea, the poems have come to find me: my daughter standing at the sink doing dishes, a girl in a field of sunflowers, the sky lit on fire at sunset, my son pressed against the front window. I've held each of these with gratitude, and I can't wait to see what else is coming.
PS. Here's an essay I wrote about Gilbert's TedTalk six years ago, about showing up and doing the work (it's one of my favorites I've ever written!).