I’m a big believer that we are more than just money makers in human form. That we aren’t just put on this earth to have a career, make money and take care of responsibilities. I believe we are also here to imagine, create, explore, feel, contemplate, wonder and be inspired.
It is so easy to get bogged down in the responsibilities and care of our day. There are so many things on our “have to” list that sometimes (or maybe, most of the times) we sacrifice the things on our “want to” list. But we aren’t robots. We aren’t one dimensional. Sure, there are plenty of people out there living a one dimensional life, but I believe that is a choice rather than a personality you were given at birth.
For me, this past week was a week full of handling the cares of the world. Of taking care of responsibilities. And now at the end of the week I realize that I feel edgy and restless because I only took care of myself half way. I took care of the physical things that need to happen in a week – paying bills, grocery shopping, making meals, responding to needs of family and friends, etc – but I failed to leave room to be inspired. I failed to stop and be connected to something beyond myself and my current situation.
I think we all need a little imagination and inspiration to our week. We all need to take time to feed our souls, to place ourselves outside of our current surroundings or situation, and to tap into the part of ourselves that creates rather than “does.”
I’ve been doing some research lately on a product called “grounding mats.” (This is related, I promise.) The purpose of these products is to help us reconnect with – quite literally – the ground. Before the industrial revolution, almost everyone had some sort of daily – weekly connection with the earth. We walked on it barefoot, we tilled the soil with our hands to raise crops, and we spent a large majority of our time outside. However, our current culture has us inside, on pavement and fully shoed almost year round.
Think about it. When was the last time you stepped foot outside, on the earth, barefoot?
The problem with this, according to this product’s website, is that we can absorb (and need to absorb) just as much energy from physical contact with the earth as we need Vitamin D from the sun. These products, which plug into your “grounded” portion of your outlets, help you regain some of the energy we use to get simply by being outside. (They also help you sleep better, which is why I’m interested in them. In case you were wondering…)
My head was spinning when I read all this. Spinning, I tell you. This makes so much sense. This is why we become restless, bored and unsatisfied with all our time spent inside, just doing our daily grind. Why just taking care of our to-do list leaves us feeling productive, yet discontent. We are made to connect with something more.
I think we all need to carve out time in our schedules to connect with the parts of us that have nothing to do with responsibilities, making money, or being practical. We need to wiggle our bare toes in the grass. We need to get our hands dirty with a creative project. We need to explore new interests.
Here are a few ways that I like to break out of my rut and feed my creative self:
Reading: For me, reading is one of the best ways to learn about people and places that are different from me, to feel inspired, and to lift my eyes beyond myself.
Photography: I love my 35 mm film Canon that yes, requires film. Photography allows me to stop time as I simply am an observer of my surroundings, looking for the beautiful, the unusual, and the whimsical things that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Yoga: My personal practice helps me get outside of my head and simply do something good for my body.
Getting creative: I recently bought a paint by number set so I could spend time outside being creative. I have zero painting or drawing skills, so this allows me to enjoy my artistic side, talent or no talent.
Getting grounded: It makes sense to me why these grounding products work. A little secret of mine – I’ve struggled with anxiety for years. In the past, when I’m really anxious, I’ve found that it helps to take off my shoes and place my bare feet on the ground. Voila. Instant calmness. I didn’t know why this worked, but now after reading about the grounding products, I realize that this literal connection with the earth matters. We might live in a concrete jungle, but we were made to live in a garden. Something to think about.