It seems lately I can't get enough of
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the secrets of people who are living creative lives
I fell in love with Elizabeth Gilbert's work in 2007, after reading Eat, Pray, Love and have followed her ever since. Not only her books but the many talks and interviews she's given over the years.
One of my favorites? A TED Talk on creativity; it's an honest and beautiful piece, not just about success and failure, but what it really means to live a creative life. Her latest book: Big Magic is an extension. An invitation really, to give ourselves
I've absolutely loved it.
(ps: If you haven't picked up a copy, my goodness, it's one to put at the very top of your reading list)
As I read her words, I couldn't help but smile
It's funny how something can be so much a part of your every day that you think nothing of the magic, that's right in front of you. That is until someone points it out.
Now that my eyes are open to seeing it, I can't help but feel blessed to have come from a long line of creatives
People who quietly went about their lives had careers and worked hard. People who at the same time, were always in the process of making something. Whatever they wanted to do, build, or create, they simply went about it, folding their hobbies into everyday life.
With a new filter, this past weekend, I stood in my father's workshop admiring his latest project, and couldn't help but appreciate him all the more. Having grown up under the shadow of someone with such creative caliber, there's a part of me that wishes I haven't taken it for granted all of these years
Didn't everyone's parents start construction companies at the same time they operated a farm? Or decide it was high time to, go back to school, to study engineering and accounting (when they were in their late 30s)?
Didn't everyone's parents decide to take up beer and winemaking, or canning, or fermenting foods? Just because
Didn't everyone's parents have freshly sawn boards stashed away, those of old trees from around the state that they'd hauled to the local sawmill? The boards waiting for just the right projects
Didn't everyone's parents know how to wire their house (and their kid's) for high-tech sound systems, and high-speed data? Build custom showers out of marbled tile? Decide they want to improve their pool game, practicing their angle shots until the wee hours of the morning?
This week, I also discovered a new podcast. One that's an extension of a food blogger community, of which I'm a part. Each week a different blogger is featured.
I've listened to them all, at least once, and am now on my second time through with a notebook in hand.
These are the people on the top of their game, who are living their dream, having successfully turned a hobby into a full-time career. To which I say, Bravo!
There are nuggets of great info for how to grow a blog, improve one's photography, network, monetize content, etc. Certainly, they're all excellent tips, but
what I've really loved to hear?
The stories of their inner journey, how they struggled to find their way, and develop their voice. How they made it up the huge learning curves. How they continue to be creative, day in and day out. How they stretch themselves, and teeter just on the edge of their comfort zone, to make their work and content engaging
How their dream went from an idea, to nervously clicking “Post” for their very first online recipe, to something woven into the fabric of their everyday lives? All of the stories are a little bit different, except for one thing. They always ..
followed their gut
I used to think following one's gut was a mysterious form of art, and maybe partly that's true. Developing enough presence to listen. But really, I wonder if it isn't something different.
I think back on my own life, and the many years I struggled. My gut was begging me to follow another path, but for many reasons, I didn't. Until I finally gave myself
The thing about changing your life, I mean really changing your life, is people notice, and eventually begin to ask you how you did it.
“My heart tells me to be here, but everyone else tells me I really should be there.”
To which I say, Run far from being .. there.
Run far, and fast in the opposite direction of everything marked with should. Because the should is a path that isn't yours. It's a path for someone else, a path that very likely offers reward, but one that's not your own.
You can stop searching now. You found your own when you said, “I want to be here” and isn't that the majority of the battle?
We spend so much time longing to find our here, our path, and if we're lucky, it's revealed to us through a series of terrible relationships, and sleepless nights, endless floundering, and out-loud failures
for everyone to see
But then we find it, and it's sweet, wonderful, lush, and green. Our little piece of magic, that's right in front of us. What are we tempted to do?
Take it for granted, clear it away, in our never-ending quest to be there. The shiny, emerald city of a path, that sadly was never intended for us
So my advice is always the same. Listen to your gut.
You've found yourself here. Let yourself be here, and let there be, well, over there. But whatever you do, it's time to get to work.
If you're here is being a blogger who delights in the writing, and connecting, and learning. Run far from the there that says you've arrived, if you have a million monthly page views and a crazy amount of Instagram followers
If your here is being a social worker, whose soul finds peace in sitting with the sick, or talking with the hurt and confused. Run far from the there that says you should be at home dusting, and preparing an elaborate meal for dinner
If your here is being a wife, who finds joy in baking vegan muffins and tending to your backyard garden. Run far from the there, that whispers, to be somebody you must accomplish more
Instead, know that you've found your here.
Let yourself simply be, and rest in the crux of this spot. It's ok.
As we head into the weekend, a new salad recipe to share
I like to think of this as a superfoods salad of sorts, with wonderfully nutritious quinoa, broccoli, and blueberries. Topped with chicken and a honey dijon hazelnut dressing.
It's great for a weekend dinner, but also for lunch the next day.
~ Adapted from the Something For Everyone Cookbook by Louise Fulton-Keats
Red Quinoa and Chicken Salad with Honey Dijon Hazelnut Dressing
- red quinoa
- ⅓ cup broccoli florets, lightly steamed
- ⅓ cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup marinated feta
- 1 ½ cups chicken, cooked and shredded
- 1 small handful mine leaves, torn
- Hazelnut Dressing
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 Tbsp hazelnut oil (or olive oil)
- Cook the Quinoa
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions
- Hazelnut Dressing
- Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and honey (if using).
- Slowly add the hazelnut oil, continuing to whisk until the ingredients are well combined.
- Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and toss through the broccoli, blueberries and half of the dressing.
- Divide the salad among serving plates and arrange the feta, chicken, and mint leaves on top. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top.