The world needs you. Not just any you, but the most you that you can be.
Lessons from my floral mural
That’s right — I’m re-creating my floral mural!
I had a floral mural. Then I had to dismantle it. It was gone forever and that made me sad. Even more sad than I expected. So, I decided to do another one. Another wall, another mural. I ran into a major hurdle when I couldn’t find any of the adhesive flowers I’d used for the original. Not a one. No reasonable substitutes either.
The world is full of adversity
It really is. Sometimes it seems the world conspires to push you into a pigeon hole, or limit your horizons, or corner or even crush you.
Persevere when the odds are against you
I kept on the lookout but couldn’t find the designs I wanted anywhere. After a couple months I was discouraged, then kicked myself for not stocking up. Many more months went by and I tried to stop looking because, why add bad feelings to life?
Then over the holidays — guess what!
Leave no stone unturned
I found a batch of the same product! Yes! But altogether different designs. No! I didn’t like any of them. It didn’t look promising, but I dismantled six shelves of stacked items searching anyway. At the very bottom were three of what was now obviously discontinued stock. One. Two. Three. The clouds parted and I understood what it felt like to score a hat trick.
Floating out of the store, it occurred to me that my degree of happiness might be a bit disproportionate. I was rushing home with a handful of stickers, after all. I don’t claim to understand all the mysteries of the universe, but I learned a thing or two.
“Perseverance is the secret of all triumphs.”
Victor Hugo knew of what he spoke. I bet he would have liked my mural too. Here it is, in progress,
The past is a curious thing
When I started re-creating the original mural, I did it wrong. I realized too late and was really annoyed because I didn’t have enough material to redo it. Why had I taken for granted that I’d reflexively duplicate it just because I loved it? Maybe a topic for another post.
“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
Did Thomas Edison ever run out of material? I don’t think so.
Hmmm. What now? I had two choices: dismantle and replace with something entirely different or push through somehow. How?
Embrace how you’ve changed
Okay. A different time. A different place. A different me? Seems that even small differences have an impact. I can roll with that. Now what to do with too much white space? Deconstruct and reconstruct.
“Life is a lot like jazz, it’s best when you improvise.”
Did George Gershwin have a mural too? I wondered, as I got the scissors. Cutting the flowers felt risky. So did the mixing and reconfiguring. As I put the pieces up, it started feeling like a mistake. Can this piece really go with that? Then, I didn’t like it. I made myself sleep on it before taking it down and tossing it out. Now it’s growing on me. I think I know where I’m going with it.
Then an even more curious thing happened
I was energized! I made a cup of tea, of course. Then, I hung a print I’d recently picked up. I knew where it would go when I first saw it, but for some reason it was still in the packaging, leaning against a dresser. Then, I put up a shelf that I wasn’t sure belonged. Did it belong? Absolutely. It’s perfect in that spot. Then, I went through some clothes and put together items for a couple of friends. How does my number of clothes increase without any action on my part? Another mystery of the universe. Then, I wrote a blog post.
And it clicked
The mural is a creative project. Obviously. But, I hadn’t thought of it in those terms. I just knew it was something I loved. Not that I’m necessarily good at it, but that’s not the point. It makes me happy. Conceptualizing it, doing something I didn’t like and then getting even more creative to make it work somehow, and even looking at it in this incomplete state.
Be the you-est you that only you can be
I hadn’t had time to do anything creative for a while. Feels like a long while. I used to think everyone was creative, but some friends as well as social scientists are saying otherwise. Either way, there’s no doubt that being creative makes me intrinsically happy. I knew this already, but its importance is glaringly obvious with this whole mural episode.
The world needs you
Whatever floats your boat, teases a smile at the corners of your mouth, fills your heart with happiness, or rocks your world — do it. Find a way. As much as possible. If you have to stop, be sure to start again.
There’s only one you, and the world is a better place when you’re your you-est you.
“If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate,
you are sure to wake up somebody.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow