Rainbow Butterfly - Image by Boris Smokrovic via Unsplash
Challenge Yourself, Creative Routine Hack, Creativity, Productivity, Realise your dreams, True Stories, Writing

Creative Routine Hack: How to let go of old habits – and live and work with joy (2)

In Part One: To plan or not to plan – that’s the question I ended with saying that during my Delightful Butterfly Phase I got bugger all done.

Which, of course, is not true at all. In fact, I was prolific: I finished many more projects than I would have done without following my passion and my whims of the moment, and I planted plenty of seeds.

So what was the cause of this warped perception?

Part Two: How to revive a dead butterfly

The one wrong step that sent me down the ravine was judgment: The idea that what I had created was not good enough because it wasn’t what I should have done.

Instead of wasting my time playing, I should have created something of value – judgment number one: what I had created was without value.

But what was “valuable”?

Considering what other people might be interested in, rather than just playing on my own?

Creating something I could have sold even, to generate some income so I could afford to keep living the Delightful Butterfly life?

Yes to both, certainly. I’d love to make a living with what I love doing anyway. 🙂 (That’s why I’m now creating the World of Magnifica.)

Still, that couldn’t be the problem, because surely I only needed to put my mind to it and I could turn almost any of my finished or unfinished projects into a product. As an arts & crafts teacher I had the knowledge and the skills to do so, and – being unemployed – plenty of time. The opportunity was for the taking.

Reanimation abandoned…

To begin with I chose a simple one-hour project, ideal for beginners. I spent the equivalent of three full working days, spread out over a week, on writing and tweaking the instructions, creating samples and taking photos. Even when I wasn’t working on it I either thought about my project or tried to figure out why it took me so long – and at the end of that week I was cranky and mentally so exhausted, I gave up because I couldn’t take any more of this stress.

After two weeks of recovery I tried the same with a smaller project. Stress set in about five minutes after I started, but I was determined (teeth clenched) to see this one through to completion. I lasted three days, and of course I didn’t finish.

Rainbow Butterfly - Image by Boris Smokrovic via Unsplash
Rainbow Butterfly – Image by Boris Smokrovic via Unsplash

Had I been crazy or what? This wasn’t anywhere near the Butterfly Life I had experienced and envisioned for my future. Better look for an ordinary job – what did it matter if I didn’t like it much, at least I could pay some bills. Keep the Delightful Butterfly Mummy on a shelf, as a reminder of what not to try again.

No pain, no gain?

I’m sure you all have come across the following statements; maybe you, like me, even used to think they were true.

Life is hard; get used to it. – Accepted “common sense”

You don’t need to like it, just get on with it. – Accepted “common sense”

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. – Accepted “common sense”

Perpetuated generation after generation, these “insights” have become a collective “truth”. It must be the truth, because how could so many people be wrong? And anyway: Who was I to doubt and question it?

…once I was a carefree, stress-free butterfly…

…faint fluttering of wings, somewhere…

…more fluttering, more distinct…

…fluttering so determined, I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

To my great surprise, Butterfly-Me wasn’t dead at all – it hadn’t died in the first place, I had only stunned it into shutting up with judgment number 2 and 3: The majority must be right; I can’t know and decide for myself what is true for me.

Fortunately, my mere idea of questioning conventional “wisdom” was sufficient encouragement for it to speak up again.

And this time I listened closely.

Coming next: What Butterfly-Me told me

Image by Boris Smokrovic via Unsplash

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