I’m taking a writing class with Martha Beck, and this week’s assignment was so fascinating I want to share it with you.
Martha suggests that we each have an area in our living space that we really don’t like. It could be a junk drawer, a guest bedroom or an overstuffed closet. Whether it’s large or small, we each have a least favorite space in our home. And this space has something important to teach us.
For me, our children’s art table and play kitchen are my least favorite area in our entire home right now.
The top counter of the play kitchen has become a de facto storage area for calendars and handouts from preschool, miscellaneous coloring books, and stacks of drawings and other artwork I haven’t had the heart to throw out. There are markers everywhere, and now that my son can pull the cap off markers without understanding markers are NOT meant for our (new!) furniture, the whole area causes me a great deal of stress.
Crammed next to the art table is the play kitchen, which is stacked so full of bowls, spoons, and fake wooden food as to be completely uninviting. Imagine if a hoarder invited you to dinner, and you cringed while watching them attempt to cook amongst piles of boxes and random objects including a fake fish tank and beaded frog from Africa. It’s painful to watch. There isn’t even enough room for our kids to put anything on the stove.
It’s crammed. Crowded. Constricted. Cluttered. CHOCK FULL of crap.
This visual clutter drains me every time I look at it.
When I’m motivated on random occasions, I whirl in like a clean-up hurricane, only to discover I’m battling it out with a never ending anti-tidy tornado. As soon as I turn my back, chaos reigns once again.
So I talked to this space.
I asked what it’s reason for being is, and it replied; “I’m here for the children. To help them play and create magical things, and remember they ARE magical themselves.”
“But….” the art table and play kitchen continued;
“There is no space for play, magic, and creativity here.”
And I realized, this is a perfect mirror of my own life.
I’ve become too cluttered to let the magic in. I’m not making room for play, magic or creativity in my life right now. I’m so over-booked, over-scheduled and over-extended that there is no room for anything else.
When my daughter starts a new art project, we always clean off her art table. As I help her get it organized, I often say; “An artist needs a clean space to start a new project.”
Make space for a new project.
And I only now realized – why don’t I do this for myself?
I’m on the cusp of some new projects right now, coming out of a big transition – we just moved homes and there are some changes in my business – and it hasn’t even crossed my mind to do this for myself.
My office, like my daughter’s play area, is also crammed with piles of paper, random receipts, and checks to be filed. There is no room for painting or drawing or any creative pursuit.
I’m a writer, a speaker, a teacher, an artist. But my space right now does not reflect that.
So I’ll be making some changes to my living space, both my children’s and my own. And, I made some new commitments to myself:
I commit to creating a space that invites creativity, magic, and play.
I commit to honoring my desire for creativity, magic, and play.
I commit to inviting more creativity, magic and play into my life.
And so today I ask you these questions:
1. Are you creating space for creativity and play in your life?
2. In what way does your space not reflect who you really are and what’s important to you? What can you do to change that?
And if you want to go deeper, talk to your home. Find the space that you like the least and speak to it. Write out how this space must feel (in the first person). And then ask it; “What is your reason for being?” And finally; “what lesson or wisdom do you have for me at this time?”