Choosing a simple, deliberate life means clearing away the physical, emotional and imagined clutter so we can use our time to do those things we know how to do well.
I think we’re at our best when we’re creating something beautiful, something wonderful, something amazing and something valuable.
The highest purpose of any life is creation in some form. What are you creating today? Is it beautiful?
Inspired Toward Beauty
My post last week declaring So Much More Life an an ebook-free zone wasn’t beautiful, but something amazing came from it.
Looking back over that post, it wasn’t really written very well. It’s a true statement of how I feel about ebooks and serves as a general rant on time-wasters in general. It’s accurate, interesting, controversial and useful. I say what I think. But it isn’t beautiful.
It’s been a useful exercise, however. Some of the people who commented on that post have never commented on So Much More Life before. Others are infrequent commenters who came out of the shadows because the topic is important to them.
When I went to visit Mark Robertson’s blog The Panamerican after reading his comment, I saw his post called The mythic power of migration. I don’t know much about Mark, and I haven’t read many of his other posts on that site or in the several other places on the web where he seems to exist. But that post was beautiful, and more than one commenter described it as such.
And that got me thinking: Since I can write with beauty and eloquence as well as with simplicity and directness, why don’t I say something beautiful to those of you who take the time to read my ramblings?
This is one of my attempts to say something beautiful.
Many days, I have a great life. It’s full of interesting events, exciting challenges and interesting work. Some days, however, I get very depressed. Life’s big challenges seem overwhelming. The carefully laid plans of an amazing life seem to be crumbling because of my actions and inactions and because of forces that are beyond my obvious control.
What’s the difference between a day that passes into the positive column and one that registers as a negative? What’s the difference between a day that overwhelms me with emotion of one kind or another and a day that leaves me feeling empty?
As I told you a few weeks ago, humans seem prone to misunderstanding productivity. Buying groceries, visiting doctors and rearranging money aren’t productive. The only truly productive activity is creation.
The difference between a successful day and an empty one is creation.
When you’re doing something creative like arranging words to have meaning or splashing paint to create an image, you are a creative force. When you’re mindlessly going about the errands of life, you’re no force at all.
While I believe every human has intrinsic value, a human life that doesn’t create is a life that doesn’t matter. Your life has value if you don’t create, but your life doesn’t make an impact.
With my twenties behind me and most of my thirties already written, I find increasing value in creating meaningful things. I don’t know where that drive will take my life, but I know that it’s a drive I can’t ignore.
I don’t paint or draw or participate in activities that create children, wells for the thirsty or medical miracles for the critically ill, but I write. It’s what I do best, I think, so I use words to share hopeful and meaningful messages.
When I’m creating, I’m something beautiful. The messages that come from my deepest places are beautiful too. My life, when it’s lived to its fullest potential, is beautiful.
Here’s the message I’m sharing today: You can use what you have to create something beautiful, something wonderful, something amazing, something valuable and something even more than you’ve ever imagined.
Every day is a new opportunity to create something meaningful. Are you missing an opportunity today?
Gip Plaster is a web content writer. Previously a journalist, online bookseller and even a corporate advertising guy, Gip now specialize in writing high-quality content for websites — his and other people’s. Visit Gip’s Front Yard (www.gipsfrontyard.com) too.
You have reminded of the thing that brings me the most joy.
I feel like I have gotten so bogged down with all the everyday
human doings that I have not made time for this. Thankyou for reminding
me. This week I will do something creative and feed my soul.
I’m glad to remind you, Kathleen. Please come back here later in the week and tell us all what you’ve created.
Great Timing Gip! I never read my horoscopes ever! But my Mom pointed them out to me today. This post is very similar in many ways – it was talking about opportunity… sometimes it’s just staring you right in the face…
There’s always an opportunity to be beautiful, Jo. Please let us know how you’re doing it today.
Wait for it, someone’s got to say it, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’…
Okay got it – my fridge is beautiful, today I created meals with pride and then surveyed my elegant and almost empty fridge – everything in there visible, with a purpose and a destiny. It is indeed beautiful…in fact it is one of the most photographed things in my life bar the kids!
That sounds perfectly beautiful to me. My refrigerator isn’t beautiful, either physically or functionally. Food prep is an aspect of my life that isn’t as organized as it could be.
This is a great message Gip.
And I completely agree with the beauty found in Mark’s post linked above, and all of his other writings. I am moved each time I read one his amazing pieces of work.
Mark is a new discovery for me. I may not have been successful this time, but I can write with beauty. I plan to practice that more often.
Interesting thoughts, Gip. It makes me wonder where I and people like myself fit in. Most of what I create isn’t particularly beautiful, at least not in the traditional understanding of the word. Unless you find beauty in functionality. Take my writing, for example – while I might turn a clever phrase occasionally, it is for the most part functional. It is technically competent and it successfully communicates the intended thought or information. But I wouldn’t call it beautiful in an artistic sense. The same thing goes for my other productive endeavors – I may repair a piece of machinery or technology, or even do a bit of creative engineering, but again, my work’s beauty lies in its functionality. While much of this world’s population seems to value form over function, some of us find functionality a virtue in itself, with beauty of form being a worthy but secondary goal. Is it not a goal of intentional simplicity to strip away the superfluous and appreciate the functional?
Marti has the right idea on this one. I think something must be functional to be beautiful. While looks come into it sometimes, beautiful writing doesn’t LOOK any different on my screen than functional writing. Calligraphy is great, but when it can’t be read, it isn’t beautiful because it doesn’t function. You get the idea.
As someone with very few mechanical skills, I have a great appreciation for the beauty of something that works right.
Every time you tell someone you love them, you create beauty. Every time you smile at a stranger, you have added beauty to the world. Every time you laugh at someone’s lame joke and make them happy they made that joke, you have added beauty to the universe.
Creating beauty isn’t always about something physical. Remember that song by Air Supply, “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”? Maybe creating love is the most beautiful thing we can create.
And Mike, pragmatic me thinks that creating something functional is creating beauty. If something works, it is a lovely thing. If it works and is elegant in its repair or engineering to boot, it is beautiful.
As I said on Mike’s comment, you have the right idea. You also have the right idea about the beauty of love and happiness. In fact, you usually have the right idea…
This really resonated. It has been, frankly, a bad summer here in the Land of Enchantment. But I can still write and, when that fails, grab my big pad and crayons and free-draw. And when the temps get back to reasonable, garden. Growing things is an incredible at of creativity. There’s always something creative I can do and it always makes the day better.
We’re about to break a record for the hottest summer “ever” (since anyone has been counting) here in Texas, and I have very little energy to do anything other than be creative. It’s oppressively hot and unpleasant here, but I’m getting by. Sometimes, I guess, getting by is beautiful too.
I don’t garden, but I love to be outside, something that’s almost impossible here right now.
I don’t often comment on blogs, but something about yours gets me thinking and wanting to speak up. One reason for that may be because of your bluntness. I like the way you just speak out as if we were your friends, with no holds or barriers.
Does everything have to be beautiful? I don’t think so. Life is not always beautiful, it’s a mix. Also, I find that sometimes a certain shallowness, a bit of untruth can be hiding behind a beautiful exterior. When we create something with the intention of offering beauty, our concern can be more for the fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder; we then create with an outward eye, instead of an inner one. I find that when I’m creating something that I hope others will find beautiful, admirable etc, I leave stuff out, change things in favor of pleasing others. Beauty doesn’t always make for a better life, although beauty can make for a more pleasant day.
I admit that I search out beauty as much as possible, but I am finding that there is also an unconventional beauty and satisfaction in just being intentional in my actions and trying to live life honestly and well. Doing that can make those small chores that you mention a thing of satisfaction as well. as I get older, I find that it is the honesty and clarity that pleases me most. Outward beauty, while pleasing, can also be deceptive.
I’m glad you’re reading and commenting here, Diana.
I don’t have much interest in physical beauty. Real beauty is something that can’t necessarily be seen. That speaks to Mike’s point about functionality too.
I don’t find much beauty in my chores at the moment when I know I could be creating and improving my situation. There’s beauty in doing the right thing, and chores never quite feel right to me.
This is an interesting post, Gip. And I really get a lot of it. If you’re creating something that isn’t beautiful or functional, there is little purpose to that endeavour. However, you say that “[y]our life has value if you don’t create, but your life doesn’t make an impact.”
With this, I disagree. As someone who has always marveled at the astonishing feats of endurance athletes (and an aspiring one myself) I find those who don’t ‘create’ have a huge impact on me. Part of my motivation for wanting to do that is to have an impact on people who might come after me.
If I’ve misinterpreted your use of ‘creating’, I apologize, but maybe it’s something to think about.
Thanks for commenting, Joe.
I’m sure there must be some value in athletic achievement — the idea of pushing a body to its limits, or something like that — but I just don’t see it. In fact, the idea of worshipping athletic accomplishment over achievement is one of things that I think some in society have wrong.
You could also interpret creating to include creating accomplishments, I suppose, but I’d like to have something to show for my achivements other than trophies and sore muscles.
To put it even more simply, I just don’t get how athletic accomplishment has much value. It’s either a personal bias or a deep insight.
Comments are closed.