One blog dies and a new one is born. The year turns, the seasons change, and the power of life and renewal amazes us again. Everything on earth is straining to create; all things change and mature and take on new forms; death facilitates new life. Such is the creative power of the universe, always regenerating with endless abundance and love. And creative power is in all of us too.
WELCOME TO MY BLOG!
This blog will cover a number of different subjects, including wildlife, outdoor adventures, camping, gardening, growing food, cooking, natural living, intentional living, bullet journalling, writing, creativity and environmental issues. But contact with creation is the thread that links them all. Contact with creation, or connection with nature and creativity, is the meaning behind everything I know that feels worth knowing, and the motivation behind everything I do that feels worth doing.
And it’s what I want to share with you, because in this mad, busy world, we all need a bit more of it; a bit more joy, a bit more peace, a bit more grounding and reminding of how awesome and generous the universe is.
And I’m not sure contact with creation is really just a set of activities – I think it’s an attitude too. It’s noticing the details; it’s openness to awe and wonder; it’s thankfulness and appreciation. It’s knowing that it is not the big goals and successes in life that bring happiness, but the little things that you choose to enjoy every day.
HOW TO LIVE IN CONTACT WITH CREATION
Because there’s always a whole lot more going on out there than indoors, and so much to discover; nature is full of wonders. The natural world inspires and begets everything in the man-made world. The materials that fill our homes have their origins there, every food and drink and medicine that sustains us was born there, the laws of physics that govern our technologies were happening out there first. Nature is cleverer than any of us, and has so much to teach us!
You don’t have to go far. Your own garden and your local woodlands, rivers and nature reserves hold more secrets than you could learn in a lifetime, if you take the time to look and enjoy.
We have come to think of nature as somehow separate from ourselves, and we could go through life with no connection to nature at all if we were not careful, but we are part of nature, and it is part of us. Exposure to natural environments has been shown to enhance creativity, performance, generosity, memory, healing, interpersonal bonding, mood, mental and physical health, and much more.
Just think, when we lived outdoors or spent our days hunting and gathering, all those ‘benefits’ were just how we were all the time. Now they are something we need to put in an effort to regain!
I expect I’ll write a whole post soon about getting closer to nature, but Rewild Yourself, by Simon Barnes, is a great resource for beginners to start taking a deeper interest in nature. It had a few new tips for this seasoned nature-lover too!
We’re accustomed to distraction – perhaps we’re even addicted to it. As if our to-do lists weren’t enough already, nor all the material stuff we fill our lives with, but we also have notifications constantly pinging on the phones in our pockets, TV and computer screens begging for attention, adverts everywhere we look… And if we happen to accidentally find ourselves NOT distracted for a moment, we’ll often turn to our screens anyway to see what we’ve missed or just to fill the gap.
STOP! It’s enough to melt your poor mind, and we can rarely receive input and provide meaningful output at the same time. Cancel, unsubscribe, silence and switch off whatever doesn’t bring you true value or joy. Seek stillness daily, engage your senses, and in the words of Eckhart Tolle, “Wherever you are, be totally there.”
We take so much for granted, but by looking closer at everyday things and things which are new to us, we open ourselves to whole new worlds of understanding and appreciation.
Personally, I often find the tiniest things are some of the most fascinating, such as the amazing lives of insects and other invertebrates going on unnoticed right under our noses. Their alien-like forms and strange life cycles are so vastly different to our own that they never cease to amaze me, and at the very bottom of the food chain, we rarely think about how much life on earth depends on them. But don’t worry, you don’t have to fall in love with creepy crawlies (though I recommend it!) to take a more careful look at ordinary things and consider anew their hidden detail, complexity and meaning.
As children we were amazed by everything, but as adults we often forget just how amazing the world around us is. We’re so accustomed to being so goshdarn clever and having advanced technologies and endless information at the tips of our fingers, that sometimes we think we know everything, or else we feel we’re above thinking about anything that’s not on our busy agendas. Sometimes, we’re so in love with science and rationality that we fail to see any magic!
Yet this loss of capacity for wonder – this taking for granted – reduces our capacity for joy, for stimulation, for exploration, and for deep understanding. To be amazed is to glimpse something bigger than yourself; to rise above worries and negativity; to open your awareness and your heart.
Ask questions. Digest the answers fully. Say “Wow”! Did you know that mushrooms and insects are both made from the same structural material, called chitin? Wow! Amazing! Or that there’s a type of cicada which only appears every 17 years? Wow! Amazing! Or that a rainbow always appears at exactly 42 degrees from the viewer? Wow! Amazing!
Gratitude is fundamental for happiness. In fact, if you think on it, you’ll see that anytime you feel unhappy it’s because you’re focused on something you don’t have – whether it’s a thing or a way of life or a person or a state of being. Choose to be grateful instead, and unhappiness stops in its tracks! And luckily for us there is so much to be thankful for. A life in contact with creation is certainly a life lived in gratitude.
No matter where you’re starting from, you can build your gratitude muscles with a simple practice such as gratitude journalling (write down three to five things you’re grateful for, every day) or a daily prayer of thanks.
Love is everything; the meaning and purpose of the universe and the meaning and purpose of life. Contact with other people is contact with creation, and our connections with others are often the most significant and rewarding experiences of our lives.
So always be kind, always accept others exactly as they are, and always be openly, honestly yourself. That takes courage sometimes, but it invites more openness from those around you and means that you will naturally attract the people who matter most. If we are anything less than open and honest, then our relationships are based on ego, which gets in the way of true connection and love.
Giving of your time or resources to others is important too, and increases your connection. Consider volunteering with people who need your help, or on a project which improves your community, or giving in other ways. I volunteer at a community garden in my town, and there is little else that makes me feel so positive and such a sense of connection and contribution as working with the other volunteers, beautifying the place where I live, and talking to the visitors who enjoy the garden.
All humans are creative – it is part of our nature. We make dinner, we make decisions, we make friends, we make plans, we make people laugh, we make our house a home, we make love. We solve problems, we fight for our desires. We play.
We are capable of much more than we know, and our creativity can always be mined for more. Some people never acknowledge their creativity, and some people never use it. Fear, self-pity or simple distraction are common obstacles. But I suggest that a more creative life is also more rich, more joyful, and more fulfilling.
When you create, you explore and exercise the potential of your human nature. When you create, you participate in the universe; you add your one-of-a-kind personal contribution, formed from your own unique blend of perceptions and experiences and thoughts and feelings and ideas and beliefs. In her terrific book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert writes “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them,” and I think she’s spot on.
Notice when you create, and notice how it feels. See the inspiration that is all around you. Stretch your creative muscles by indulging your curiosity and expanding your learning. Make having ideas a habit and exploring them a form of play. Follow your passion. Make time to practice.
A brilliant tool for getting to know your inner artist is morning pages, as described in Julia Cameron’s wonderful book The Artist’s Way. She suggests free-writing for three full pages every morning before you do anything else, making yourself write even when it feels like there is nothing to say, and not reading the pages back until several weeks have passed. It can feel awkward at first, and take some getting used to. But it’s a great way to clear junk out of your head, get to grips with thoughts and feelings you might be ignoring, and stimulate new thoughts and ideas.
Too many people spend their lives waiting to be happy; waiting for their conditions to be right for happiness. The truth is, the big things they’re waiting for – perhaps slaving for – cannot be relied upon: the promotion may never come, the dream house may fall through, your true love might let you down.
But by learning to find joy in the little things – the everyday details of life – happiness can be available to us all the time. And by loosening our grip on our egocentric preferences and attachments and accepting what we can’t change or control, we can realise that it is usually only our negative thoughts about a situation that causes bad feelings such as unhappiness, and our thoughts are entirely under our control.
By paying more attention, seeking stillness, participating in love and creation, and making small changes towards a day-to-day life that gives you opportunities for gratitude, however small, you can choose joy every single day.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
As I set out on this new blogging journey, I invite you to live in closer contact with creation too, and if you’ve stumbled upon this, my very first blog post, I’d love to hear from you. What does contact with creation mean to you? How are you living it today?
If you’d like to join me on my journey and try my ’40 Days To Get In Contact With Creation’ challenge, please enter your email below! You’ll receive a printable pdf right away, and monthly updates from me with the latest from the blog and some exclusive content just for subscribers.