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Let the Steam Escape: Tending the Stove of Creativity

Do you have an item that seemed just an okay gift when you received it, but once you started using it, you realized it was a game-changer? For me, that item is a book called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

I developed a close relationship with my senior high counselor, Jodie Miller, because Beth and I spent hours in her office talking colleges, scholarships, applications, and life. After my parents’ marriage ended the day before my senior prom, I spent even more hours in her office talking through that. She became a very special woman in my life, and as a graduation gift of sorts, she presented me with a copy of Simple Abundance. I loved it then, because I liked the meaning of the gift and the philosophy of the book. But I wasn’t really ready for it until this year.

Simple Abundance is a daily devotional, at least that is the best category for it, I believe. Each month has a theme–simplicity, gratitude, order–and each day, you explore different aspects of that theme. Over the course of a year, the book will, I presume (as I have not yet stuck with it for 365 days) guide you through a transformation if you let it, a transformation that orients you to nurturing your Authentic Self.

As part of my FlyLady before-bed routine, I read Simple Abundance, a book that has collected dust on my nightstand for many well-intentioned years. FlyLady and Simple Abundance are strikingly similar, even though Simple Abundance isn’t focused on de-cluttering your home. Both are all about Finally Loving Yourself, about creating margins in your life during which time you can be your Self. They encourage you to put first things first, to finally realized that you deserve to be surrounded by comfortable cleanliness, by lovely treasures, by nurturing practices.

I just had to write about Simple Abundance today because yesterday’s reading confirmed my feelings about Coffee, Crafties, & Besties, that crocheting, writing, even cooking, all allow for necessary self expression so that you don’t explode from the stress of bottling it up. Here’s the quote from American expressionist painter Lilla Cabot Perry that inspired this post.

Lilla admitted her passion for self-expression reminded her of a “cooking stove which has too much coal in it and it has to have one of the holes open to keep it from becoming red-hot. It did not matter if it was the poetry hole or the painting hole, but the lid had to come off.

I love writing poetry, but it’s a form of self-expression that requires a certain frame of mind that I cannot force, and I haven’t been in that frame of mind for a while. Instead, I seem to be in the middle of a crafting, writing (of the blogging and journaling sort) cycle right now. I have been dumping on myself for not working on my poems, but I realized that it’s okay, as long as I am expressing myself.

What hole have you opened in your creativity stove right now? Or is your stove tightly closed because you are “too busy”? All parts of You are dependant on and affected by the others, so make time. Relieve that stress.


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