In our Hot Cocoa Masterminds meeting yesterday, we talked a bit about our projects, as expected; but interestingly, we spent most of the time discussing the pastimes we enjoy. (Okay, geek out over.) The topics skipped from Battlestar Galactica to obscure, short-lived TV series, with a good dose of childhood action figures inbetween. We joked about it, justifying our recreational activities by saying we were "doing research" for our creative projects. Sure, watching the Star Wars parody episode of Family Guy is important--it inspires us to write science fiction! Yeah, that's it.
But joking aside, we all agreed that recreation is just as important as work. Add a hyphen, and it becomes re-creation. And it's something that, personally, I have a hard time spending enough time doing.
"Like ships on the sea"
I love it when a plan comes together---especially when it's God's plan. I've been reading Joanna Weaver's Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World in my morning devotionals lately. Well, today I opened it to a page about achieving balance in life. In chapter eleven ("this one goes to eleven"), Joanna writes:
Because we were created for balance, we feel the difference in our souls when our lives tilt too far in one direction or another. The imbalance will show in our attitudes, our energy level, and in the way we interact with other people.
Using the metaphor of bodies of water, if you feel a sense of "dryness and emptiness," it's because you have many outlets and demands, but no inlets or sources of strength. You're like a lake that empties into a waterfall, pouring everything from your soul until you got nothing left.
On the flip side, if you have only inlets---you spend too much time in re-creation, self-indulgence, even devotions---there's no healthy, balanced flow. Without outlets, you become "like the Dead Sea": stagnant.
So, much like we discussed in our Masterminds meeting, work, creativity, and interaction are important. But re-creation---even if it's vegging out in front of Probe---is essential, too.
But wait, there's more!
Soon after reading that, I discovered another truth...the hard way.
There I was, filled up with inspiration, ready to tackle my novel and let the energy flow. I walked through the living room to get a fortifying cup of coffee...and drifted to a halt. My sister was watching Andy Griffith. Imagine a loud slurping sound as my attention got sucked in.
About ten minutes into it---still standing halfway to the kitchen---I realized my brain was going numb, while my afternoon ticked away. I turned around to leave, and caught sight of an article in a nearby newspaper. The headline read:
What happens when funds become diverted?
Wow. That made me realize: Some activities are neither an inlet nor an outlet for our purpose. Sometimes, they just divert the flow. In this case, it wasn't the activity itself, because watching Andy Griffith would be a fun way to re-create. It was the timing of the activity. I was between an inlet and an outlet--fresh from inspiration, on my way to start working--and I let my attention get diverted. I didn't get inspired or refreshed, and I didn't accomplish any tasks. I just dribbled off in a random direction.
I don't know about you, but I want my life to have a refreshing flow. So I'm going to do what I can to achieve a great balance between the inlets and outlets. And I'll keep a weather eye out for diversions that take me off-course.
Once I do that, it should be smooth sailing. ;-)