Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Joy Diet - Creativity

This group reading of Martha Beck's The Joy Diet is turning into quite an adventure. It's certainly not for the faint hearted. Jamie Ridler organized this online book club - and I enjoyed it through Desire. Having gone away and gotten out of my rythms, I'm behind and don't feel like I'm doing justice to the practice, but want to add my response to the fourth menu item - Creativity.

I thought I'd love this one. I'm creative. I'm pretty open to new ideas. But I didn't find much new in this chapter. Some of the more controversial exercises such as looking at traits of your "enemies" to see what relates to you and might be useful, or the dichotomous thinking, I've worked with a little before. And maybe it would be good for me to do more with those - but right now, I 'm not interested. I want something juicier. The sentence that did resonate a lot with me was one relating to building our lives without consciousness: "Their plans for living come from half-formed inclinations and other people's demands, meaning their creativity is never targeted at resolving the issues that really matter to them."

So the previous chapter on figuring out desires is critical. I know that my nature is often to coast. It's not that I don't work hard - but my work hasn't always been directed to what I'm most deeply interested in; I haven't taken the time to figure that out. Sometimes I have been lucky in stumbling into something that I think "Hey, I love this." "I'm good at this." And sometimes I've found myself going through motions because I was doing what outside forces suggested or required. I've often been someone who could say -"Well, this is good enough." It's easy for me to make do, to tolerate a certain amount of dissatisfaction.

There was a lifestyle consultant who spoke at a meeting I attended who said something that impressed me. It was that we lose a lot of energy putting up with small things that annoy us. She was talking about organizing your work space, looking at your systems of operation, figuring out what you could do to support your work rather than detract from it. And her words came back to me when I started thinking about desire and creativity. For me, that is a place I need to spend some time cleaning up my act and getting in closer contact with my desire. I know the creativity is there - it will manifest itself if I can remove some of the emotional clutter.


  1. What great advice from the lifestyle consultant. I like that. "What emotional clutter can I remove right now?" "What small things drain my energy?" I'm going to think about these things this morning.

    Don't worry about where you are at with the diet. I believe each one of us is exactly where we are meant to be. I also liked how your responded to the parts of the book that were not to your liking, it was very matter of fact.

    Many thanks!

  2. Love this Becky. These questions you've posed are excellent and can be used regularly. Just like the clutter we accumulate in our homes, we collect it in our emotional lives. Little things do drain our energy and keep us from what we are most meant to do. So easy to become sidetracked!!

    I also hear you about doing things that you are good at but aren't necessarily your hearts desire...I spent a great deal of my life doing work that I was very good at but derived no pleasure from. I learned that just because I'm good at something it doesn't mean it is my life's passion.

    Your pace with this book seems to be just about "right" to me!! :)