Switching Paths

Have you ever thrown your “To Do” list away?  Ever hidden it from yourself then decided to take a walk in the woods instead? Ever feel like tossing away your goals for a while, along with social media “shoulds,” so you can do whatever your whims present on any given day?

Okay, I admit it. I’ve been playing hooky from writing, avoiding  my keyboard and my novel manuscript for several weeks. The weather’s been gorgeous here during our southern California summer and I’ve been literally craving other activities besides writing. So I said to myself, “Why not?”

Nonetheless, at the start of each week, the negative voices in my head started condemning my lax ways. But finally last week a very positive “AhHa” moment won out. I realized I’d now shifted into a new mode of being this summer. One much more devoid of “have to’s.” This new path has been a little scary, I’ll admit, and it’s created an edge in me along with some fantastic moments of elation. The edge? Well, in the back of my mind I still want to finish my second novel even though I’ve placed it temporarily on hold. Despite that though, I’ve continued to put planning and “shoulds” aside and decided each day to “see what shows up.”

Guess what? In the last six weeks I didn’t die of boredom or feel frantic about what to do next. I simply started moving toward activities I never seem to have time for, things I’ve wanted to do but really didn’t even know it.

'14AugShimmeringCattailsPhotoAs you can see, I resurrected an old hobby, photography, during my morning walks. It’s enhanced my exercise so much and nourishes my soul at the same time! I have no idea where this will lead, but now I have a load of wonderful images to share with others. Who knows? Maybe I’ll link them with many of my poems and. . .Voila! It might become another book!

Another deviation I’ve indulged in is reading biographies. Yes, me. Usually fiction is my perennial pastime, but now I’ve found David McCoullough’s books, JOHN ADAMS, and TRUMAN. To say I’ve become engrossed and fascinated is an understatement.

'14AugJewelryPendantPhotoA lingering desire has always tempted me: to make jewelry. So when, out of the blue, an artist emailed me about her class, I signed up immediately. While selecting beads, colors and charms, I discovered how easy it is to employ the same strategy I use when I write, “Don’t plan very much, just trust in the creative energy within and something magical might happen.” After class I was ecstatic to share the pendant I created–what a joyful lift to my spirits! I definitely plan to go back to design others.

'14AugFamilyRmPhotoAnd finally, I listened to that nagging voice inside that kept telling me how drab and outdated our family room looked, along with the discomfort of its sagging cushions. So I set to work shopping (yes, me, who never shops) for new push-button(!) reclining features in a new couch and loveseat. Then I painted the whole room a bright white to create a high contrast color palette, enhancing the many international artifacts my husband and I have accumulated on trips in the past 15 years. I picked out the special ones and placed them around the room. Now memories reverberate whenever we gaze at them.

Yes, I’ve shifted gears and taken a new path this summer, allowing myself to turn away from social media/marketing “have to’s,” article assignments, and from my next novel too. Instead, I’ve enjoyed “going for” whatever I want to do each day and it’s made all the difference as far as inner peace and joy.

And the fun thing is:  Now I’m finally writing again and enjoying it!

Have you ever shifted to a different path midstream to give yourself a break? Left some “shoulds” behind? If so, I hope you’ll share your experiences here. I’m very eager to read about them.

25 thoughts on “Switching Paths

  1. I love your new path. And I think it has taken great courage to choose to more fully surrender to your intuitive side. It looks like even MORE creativity has beckoned. Congrats!!!


  2. This is awesome — I love that you are letting go of “shoulds” and paying attention to what you want to do. And to me, this is what makes life fun! Love you, Kas — you go, Girl!!

    • Thanks, Barb!
      I had a very memorable dream right before the Dream Tending workshop I attended recently. When I dug into its meaning that weekend, I realized my subconscious was telling me to increase the “twinkle” in my life. [I’ll fill you in on dream details later.] Anyway, for me, that means being more spontaneous each day. You, especially, know what that means, right?

    • Yes, I had to silence those critical voices and just try to “go for it” each day. Definitely an experiment. Wasn’t sure how it would turn out. But now I think I have a little more balance between the “shoulds” on my To Do list and just “doing whatever shows up” on a given day.
      By the way, your photos are becoming more and more beautiful!

  3. You’re my new role model, Kas. Stepping away from the computer – letting the manuscript sit – while you pursue other creative interests. I can tell it’s time for me to do that to. You’ve inspired me with your courage and creativity.

    • Thanks for sharing, Carol. I can imagine you’re swamped right now with the recent launch of your memoir. Maybe in a few weeks or months you can allow yourself a break from social media and book events, and recharge your energy by exploring other creative activities.
      Right now I’m trying to blend my new pursuit of “going for it” along with resuming my novel, as well as some social media activities. But the difference is that now I feel rested and ready.

    • Thanks, Kitt. You’re always so supportive!
      If you ever want to make a pendant with me, just let me know. I made just one but I think now I could make two in the 2-hour class time frame ($40 for the class, including materials). Great for Christmas gifts!

      • I do escape from myself once in a while and do what I like. I miss sewing. I see the fabrics, colors, what goes with what, transfiguring a dress through a few seasons. I am beginning to control myself because my creativity is at work while I am driving. It includes writing too. I am missing more streets than I ever did in the past. I keep the Thomas Guide by me, as MapQuest does not always do the job right or it’s my fault for not reading the map correctly However those maps give me a sense of direction. I don’t want to buy a GPS because I don’t want to be burdened with another technical entrapment. My experience is that if you are not happy with yourself you cannot produce literary masterpieces. MT.

        • MT,
          Thanks for stopping in to share your comment.

          How wonderful that sewing triggers your creativity! The only time I had that experience was when my sister & I bought remnants and made them into wall hangings, all in one day. Blending the colors was so absorbing.

          Like you, when I’m driving ideas come and I have to interrupt my daydreaming so that I reach my destination.

  4. I love the message of your article! Switching gears is such a great way to rekindle creativity. Often people think too hard when trying to create – just DO it! Let your ideas flow and sometimes you will get a gem, or at least a springboard to something else. If anyone is interested in creating a pendant, like the one shown here, please contact me at lorimendenhall @ cox dot net and we can set up a time! It’s SO fun.

    • Thanks for stopping by here, Lori. I’ll definitely be taking another class from you to create some pendant Christmas gifts! Creativity is so fulfilling!

  5. You’ve given me much to think about here. It’s become clearer to me that since I retired from corporate life I’ve not given myself permission yet to just be and enjoy what each day brings. I think it’s time for a personal change of seasons.

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