An idea that particularly resonated with me recently was to (I’m paraphrasing): encourage the voice of the creative inner-child residing within the responsible adult. To elaborate, my ‘inner-child’ is a metaphorical representation of the creative side of my being, and the ‘adult’ represents the rational part of my being. I now see that prior to my lay-off, I had been mostly out of touch with and neglecting my inner-child for the majority of my adult life. In an attempt to silence my creative voice, I later learned that I was essentially rejecting the nature of what it meant to just be me.
In the past I was convinced that artistic pursuits were something silly that didn’t apply to the real world. Instead I applied the majority of my focus into more rational pursuits; my studies in university, followed by building a proper career in order to establish financial security. All I needed from there was a partner, kids, a house with a white-picket fence, and healthy investments for my retirement fund to ‘live the dream.’ I remember there being just one small problem with this way of thinking… I didn’t agree with it! I often thought to myself, “surely there has to be more to life than just going to school, working, finding a partner, procreating, and saving for retirement?” The idea of waiting to experience adventure until I could afford the freedom to do so after retirement was truly a horrifying thought to me. There was something inside of me that had a deep sense of longing for the unknown; I wanted to experience adventure while I was young, energetic, and able-bodied, not in some imaginary future where I would have to wait and hope my health and bank account would hold out until I retired one day.
When I got laid off, I realized that my career abandoned me and ‘the dream’ collapsed. All I had left at that point was my health (thankfully), a mind rapidly processing the experience, and a really confused and upset heart. A heart that needed an outlet to express the pain it felt at the time. I found (often alone reflecting) that by carefully listening intently to what my heart was telling me (gut-feeling), I could heal and release my pain through expressive activities. Initially, I began to focus my efforts into my then semi-regular yoga practice and my Latin dance interest further by joining a dance performance team. I also became really interested in discovering new music, learning how to cook, conscious breath-work, exercise, and aromatherapy. I found that the more I could stimulate my senses, the more I was able to connect with my heart, and ultimately help myself slowly heal and stand my ground in the tornado of thoughts and emotions 1 I had at the time.
Over time, my new creative energies led me to a deep passion in writing. From then on, I kept a journal where I frequently wrote anything that came to mind. I would write my thoughts and feelings at any given time, no matter how abstract or weird I thought they were at the time. I tried my best to just let it flow naturally onto the page without over-analyzing how it looked. Instead I focused on the feeling of writing stuff down. Over time, I learned to trust what I was writing into my journal because I knew that when I did, it would feel good no matter what I ended up writing. Writing became a natural extension of my normal life, and when I neglected doing it, I would start to feel off and disconnected. I have now come to realize that writing is a fundamental extension of me. I find tremendous catharsis, clarity, and peace when I write things down. I notice it takes all the information stirring inside of me and gives it a final tangible resting place, so I can “clear my cache,” similar to what I would do for a computer app. Blogging has taken writing a step further for me, where I now feel confident and good in my heart sharing a part of me with the world that I would have never dreamed possible had I not picked up a pen and just wrote something down.
My newest creative pursuit (besides blogging) has become behavioral health coaching. When I first enrolled in the program in September 2016, I had little idea of what I was getting myself into, but I thought the program sounded interesting and I trusted the feeling in my heart. Coincidentally (or maybe not) coaching ended up becoming another passionate pursuit of mine. I am still brand new to coaching and currently studying it in school part-time and definitely have fears associated with the unknown factor of “where will this realistically take me?” However, I thoroughly enjoy it and it makes my heart feel good. I have already integrated many of the lessons learned from the course into my life and I trust that this new adventure will lead me somewhere great, even if I realistically can’t see where that is right now.
Creativity brings me a sense of adventure. It brings me healing, joy, introspection, and ultimately a deeper sense of who I am as a person and what I truly want out of life. I am of the belief that becoming detached from my inner-child was a mistake. I am an adult, so I will always have to think rationally and be responsible for my choices, but I want to experience more from life. I want to experience how it feels to create something artistic and share the expression of my inner-child with others. In the current world we live in, where technology is increasing at an exponential rate, I personally find it really difficult to think rationally/logically about every single thing I experience. My cache gets filled up really quickly and before I know it, I need to express myself creatively to ‘release some of the pressure.’ I believe that keeping myself healthy is directly linked to my ability to express myself when ‘I’m too full.’ In other words, creativity is an aspect of my life I deem necessary for my survival and overall well-being.
I believe there is a harmonious relationship possible between the inner-child and the adult in my life, and I am forever grateful that I was given the opportunity to explore my inner-child when I was laid off as an engineer. I have developed a much better relationship with myself as a result, and hence a much better relationship with my loved ones. I find I am much more frequently able to feel good about who I am as a person and the about the choices I make on a day to day basis. To me, my creativity is an individual expression of love through my being out into the world.
- Many thanks to my Behavioral Money Coach Evangelos Diavolitsis for teaching me his tornado metaphor ↩