That's right. You heard correctly. The other day I was dutifully writing out my 3 pages of Morning Pages (if you signed up for my newsletter I was talking about Julia Cameron's recommendation of MP) and I came upon this realization. Sunsets serve no practical function whatsoever, and admiring them actually TAKES YOUR TIME. But let me back up a bit.
You may have gathered from my blog and my women's retreats that I believe in JOURNALING and CREATIVITY. I believe in using those two processes to dive into, explore, and discover our true wants and desires. Our dreams. What we want to do this year. What we'd like to achieve before we die. But many times people don't realize what CREATIVITY has to do with discovering our deep wants.
At my retreats, I talk about how as women, we've often been trained into caretaking, and OUT OF our own wants and needs. So much so, that as adults we still do not know what our wants and desires are. Needs are slightly easier to know --- but still hard to do. Desires are hard to know and hard to do! CREATIVITY is a way for us to access those desires.
I love the story of the man who runs around at work all day, typing furiously away at his computer. He observes the man in the cubicle next to him, seemingly asleep, in a daydream all day, leaning back in his chair, feet up, arms crossed behind his head.
Dammit, why is Mike always sleeping all day, he thinks. It's so unfair!
Why does he get promoted when obviously he doesn't even work?!
Actually... he is working. He's thinking.
Ever try to think through a problem or try to remember something, get frustrated, only to get up from your computer, and go for a walk, or make a cup of tea, or take a shower--- and then suddenly come up with a great idea? Our minds need the space that comes with relaxation, 'spacing out,' daydreaming, to come up with great thoughts. I often do my best thinking horizontal with my eyes closed. (Just found a book on this exact topic coincidentally browsing Barnes & Noble: Bored & Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self).
However, as you may have noticed, this is generally looked down upon in our society. Daydreaming, sitting around, napping, going for walks with no real purpose, is generally seen as pure laziness. Not brilliant work. While being productive, efficient, 'managing your time,' multi-tasking, are touted to be the ideal, 'hardest' working style. Running around, and squeezing in as much as possible in your day. There are folks who talk about simplifying, decluttering physically, but doing so mentally seems to be less trendy.
And this is what you'll have to go against --- what you already have been going against, perhaps subconsciously -- when you think about pulling out your journal, when you try to make time to do something creative --- it doesn't feel very productive, does it!? You're not cleaning your house, doing your dishes, checking off your to do list, moving your career forward. Nope. You are simply sitting, sipping tea, and writing your thoughts, whims, rants, random thoughts, onto paper. You are slowing your world down; so all that's important is just you, the chair or couch you're on and your pen and paper. That is the hard thing; the courageous thing.
And so no, SUNSETS do not serve any actual PRACTICAL purpose. It is only one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen, even though I see one every 24 hours if I'm lucky. They are all different, yet similar, yet equally fascinating and awe-inspiring. Looking at them makes me feel small, humble, grateful, and open. It brings me back to my self, my core, my true feelings. And that helps lead me down the path to my desires.
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