The Power of Downshifting

1956_MGA_Rick_Feibusch_2012When I was a teenager I learned how to drive a stick shift on my father’s vintage 1950’s MGB convertible. He’d bought it from a neighbor for $1.00. Pulling a cord tucked into the inside of the car door, opened the door. I took the solid hard top off to cruise in style to high school and the plastic windows slid side-to-side. To slow the car down, without applying the brakes, I learned how to downshift. Using the clutch and gear shift I changed the manual transition to a lower gear to slow the car down.

This past spring, I metaphorically downshifted,  I slowed my activities down and simplified.  I had an abundance of good things but too little time. I needed to take several volunteer and professional responsibilities off my plate in order to open space for other priorities. You can read more about it in the essay I wrote for the Fairfield Writer’s Blog, A Writer’s Choice: My Seven Steps to Saying Goodbye to Something I Love. Wanting to have more time to be with my high school senior in the college looking and applying process, I felt sad letting all my volunteer work go, but I knew the benefits of a calmer Mom. The hardest activity for me to stop was one that I’d been leading for seven years. It was an on-going Writing Critique Group,

However, the previous winter, my boss asked me to lead a different kind of writing group on the Saturdays that I was already working. Agreeing to it I planned on leading both, totally different writing groups, in two different libraries. Now, as I prepare for the new group starting in September, I’m  reminded that the Universe works in mysterious ways. Last spring I downshifted to ease off and allow space, in doing so I let go of something I deeply enjoyed. Yet, I gained being more available to our son. More time means I can access my humor more often. Now that I’m developing my curriculum for the new Creative Writing Workshop that I’ll be leading on the third Saturday of every month starting September 19, 2015 at Pequot Library, I’m back in my inventive flow again.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Trust that when you let something go, you might be surprised at what the Universe puts in its place.

Making Art Fun: Step 3 – Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

wheelIt’s a perfect shape, with a basic use — to keeping things rolling, that’s the wheel.

In art as well as in life, I strive to follow rule #3. As you recall on New Year’s Day I wrote about how to make art fun. A few weeks later I shared the secret of keeping things simple and, then, how to artistically use what you have on hand.

Today I’m talking about the wheel, and not reinventing it. A few months ago I was asked to create a writing workshop that would be included in a “Beyond the Book Club” program series. The theme for February was Literature: Louisa May Alcott. After a brief brainstorming session with the program director, the flash of inspiration sparked. Influential Women Who Shape and Inspire Our Lives and Our Writing was born.

Over the course of several weeks each time I got a snippet of an idea for the workshop, either while I was doing dishes late at night, or sipping my morning coffee, I wrote it down on a scrap of paper. I’ve written and presented hundreds of classes and programs. I know the format and formula that fits with my style of teaching and what benefits my participants. Eventually I knew those separate pieces would grow into the entire workshop. All I would have to do was open my manilla folder, organize them, type up the workshop outline and I’d be good to go. I didn’t reinvent the wheel, I allowed my spontaneous ideas to bubble up over a period of time.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Enjoy the freedom you feel when you use the back burner approach.