I’ve lost the LOVE.

EDITED (May 27th) Thank you so much for your comments and tweets.
It feels so good to know that things I write occasionally “ring true.”

I wanted to let you know that I received an email from Elizabeth Dillow, reminding me that she wrote a really GREAT article for Simple Scrapbooks magazine in the May/June 2008 issue. It’s titled, Go With The Flow and it’s on page 55. (Thanks E!)

I also wanted to remind you that I created a podcast on Creative Growth that also speaks to the various stages we move through as creatives. Both of these resources with lend additional insight into this post!

[original post] Today I wanted to address an email I received on May 1st, National Scrapbooking Day.

Dear Stacy,

I am in need of some advice from someone I most respect in the scrapbooking industry!  I have not scrapbooked in close to 6 months.  And today on National Scrapbooking Day, I figured I would dive back into it!  However, I am realizing that my my former love for this seems to missing! So now I questioning myself, do I throw in the towel and quit?  I want to document my family, but I just feel really lost about the process right now.  Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks for your time,
Kristi

Ahh … my friend.

The first thing you need to know is you are normal. Scrapbooking (or any hobby/passion that holds meaning for you) is a lifelong process of falling into and out of love. I really believe that. If it didn’t matter so much to us, we wouldn’t create such crazy expectations and develop feelings of obligation that can so easily beset the joy and personal expression we signed up for.

Creativity is a rhythmic process. It is the valleys that provide a contrast against which peaks can be realized and appreciated. Embrace the rhythmic quality of creativity–the sooner you give yourself permission to feel disengaged (or at least less enthralled) the sooner you’ll find yourself on the mend. It’s when we expect ourselves to be “in love” all the time that we get into trouble. The challenge of course is that life marches on, pictures accumulate, children grow and everyday life changes at an alarming rate. We struggle endlessly with the sense that we are missing opportunities.

It’s really, truly OK.

You are living and scrapbooking in an environment of excess. You cannot possibly take advantage of every opportunity. In her book, The Happiness Project , Gretchen Rubin discovers and articulates something I believe we all inherently know, but try to resist. She says:

“I can do ANYTHING I want, but I can’t do EVERYTHING I want.”

I think this has wonderful application in scrapbooking. You can scrapbook anything that you feel inspired to scrapbook and if and when you do, you will have done a very good thing. You cannot however scrapbooking everything you want to scrapbook. You just can’t. You can scrapbook your most important memories and you can learn to spend time with your pictures on a regular basis — which I believe is the secret to sustaining your passion and your productivity.

Here, then is my 10-day, 3-step plan for a speedy recovering from what ails you and anyone else who feels they have “lost the LOVE”

1. Everyday for the next 10 days, I need you to spend 15 minutes scrolling through pictures on your computer. Don’t purge them, edit them, tag them or anything — just scroll through them and enjoy them. Let your heart relive special moments, funny expressions, important relationships and everything else that we capture with our cameras.

2. Everyday for the next 10 days, I need you to sort and sift through your stash of scrapbooking product. Start with your pattern paper. Find 3 or 4 sheets that you absolutely adore. Then visit your collection of letter stickers, ribbon, rub-ons — whatever. Everyday for 10 days, you are to select something you’d like to play with. Grab a serving tray and a small bowl or basket and collect it all here.

3. Everyday for the next 10 days, I need you to sit down (this is important) and look through a scrapbook you have created. You can do this alone or with a family member of friend. It would be extra cool to do this right before you go to bed, or first thing in the morning. Sit down and review a portion of the goodness you’ve captured in the course of your scrapbooking journey.

That’s it. No actual scrapbooking involved.
I sincerely believe that if you will do these 3 things everyday for 10 days, you will know what to do next.

The only other thing you need to do is lower your expectations. And this is something I struggle with every single day of my life.
Lower your expectations. This is the secret to a happy marriage, a clean house, a productive day and joy in scrapbooking (among other things.)

Every single time you choose to bring along your camera, or write something down that you don’t want to forget, or even stop to fully engage with the present moment, you are exercising your scrapbooking muscles. Oh, and one more thing … remember that you are a remarkable women to even have the desire to document life.

That desire is a gift.
Be grateful for it and share it with anyone who will listen and learn.


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