I went for a walk this morning. I try to do this regularly, to take advantage of the fact that I live only a short walk from a beautiful beach, to take the time out to move and experience nature and touch the world instead of lying in bed, snug under the covers scrolling through Facebook (social media = addiction).
So this morning I made myself get up and go for a walk, even though it was cold, even though it was cloudy, even though I didn’t really feel like it. And as always, the moment I stepped outside my house, I knew I’d made the right decision.
I took a walk down to the beach, and took this photo just as I came up over the dunes and saw the morning laid out in front of me.
As I walked down the beach, I let my thoughts wander. I gave myself some quiet time, working on quieting my brain noise, or meditating, or praying, or whatever you want to call it. I took stock of how beautiful the world is, and how lucky I am to be a part of it. I took a moment to be grateful for the simple fact that my arms and legs work, that I can see and smell and hear and move and think, that I am so incredibly fortunate to be who I am, where I am. These aren’t things we practice thinking about, and sometimes they’re hard to remember. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s the importance of gratitude.
Halfway along the beach, I stopped and stared out across the horizon and let my mind go still. I let myself be filled with the noise of the waves rolling in and crashing on the shore and the cries of the seagulls and quiet chirps of the sparrows and the murmur of the occasional car passing on the damp road. I breathed it all in and exhaled it out. I gave acknowledgement to Tangaroa, Maori god of the ocean, simply because he gives a name and a sense of entity to the enormity and beauty of a part of the natural world that I was lost in my appreciation of, in the same way that I acknowledge Tanemahuta when I walk through the forest and listen to the birds; the same way that I acknowledge Rangi-a-nui when I stare up at the night sky, or watch the sun set, or make pictures out of cloud formations; in the same way that I nod to Papatuanuku when I am in the garden, my hands buried in the rich soil, or when I let grains of sand slide through my fingers, or when I see mountains reaching to the sky, where earth mother and sky father meet.
Then I found a new track that wound through the dunes, and I followed it, brushing against wet tussock and lupin and grass, following the narrow trail of sand back to the road, and home. And as I walked, I started thinking about creativity, and how important it is to the human spirit. I got home, and I sat down, and I wrote this post on Instagram, accompanied by the photo posted above:
Creativity is an essential part of the human experience. But how often do we hold ourselves back because we don’t think we are capable of creating anything of value? We are told or we decide that we have no talent in that area and we turn our backs on the possibility and exploration of it. But maybe we need to redefine that thinking. A painting’s value lies not in whether other people think it’s beautiful, or even whether you think it is beautiful, but in the creative experience of making it. Even if it doesn’t come out the way you wanted it to, or hoped it would. Let yourself value the act, the creativity inherent in making anything that feeds your soul and reminds you that you are part of this wild and wonderful thing we call humanity. Whether it’s something you write or paint or bake or quilt or sing, whether it’s a dance move you just made up or a doodle in the margin of your notebook, it wouldn’t be there, wouldn’t have happened, if not for you. Embrace that. Own it. Create, and find value in your creations – even if you’re the only one who can see it. #fillyoursoul #creativespirit #creativity #positivepeople