I’ve recently become aware of a balancing act in the human experience: Creation VS. Consumption. As humans, we have some innate draws: We want to know the latest ‘news’ and we also want to feel like we are contributing to societal needs in some way. The contribution need not be altruistic, but we crave the feeling of being useful or needed.
These are the two ends of the Creation/Consumption balance.
Consumption: On one hand, we have the throbbing need to consume. We watch the news, Netflix, YouTube videos, films. We read magazines, books, and blogs (hi there). We scroll Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat stories, Twitter feeds, our own text messages, recipes, etc. We are constantly listening to music on the radio, Spotify, and Pandora too.
We eat. We pick and choose from a seemingly endless array of options. Sometimes we even over-consume food and feel miserable afterwards.
We become magnets for more and more to consume. I am even talking about the information we consume for the sake of scholarly pursuit. Our brains become addicted to the constant input of new information – and then we get lazy…
New ideas don’t flow as easily. We begin to multi-consume (eating while scrolling, anyone?). We are not living in the moment, rather looking for something else to consume WHILE we are busy with something already.
Here is the thing: It’s okay. One could say that we are victims of highly intelligent algorithms and tactics that create the perfect storm in order to keep you wanting more. Social media, the entertainment industry, and especially the food industry all operate under the pretense of keeping you transfixed.
So, give yourself a break and don’t get down on your efforts. But, there is a path to balance – and it is called “creation.”
When people hear the word “creative” – most conjure images of scrapbooking, trips to craft stores or a perfectly palatable Instagram theme. I will clarify: I am not talking about being creative in this sense. I am literally talking about the act of fashioning something – anything. Like this:
Creation: On our deepest level, humans are creators. We are the God force in human bodies, after all. We want to be productive! To write, paint, sing, have sex (creating life), cook food, send a colony to Mars, whittle a birdhouse – all are absolutely valid.
The beautiful thing about this balancing act is that it doesn’t have to be public. You can create something and never show or tell another soul. Or you can start a blog, or make homemade birthday cards for everyone you know.
The thing is: It doesn’t matter if you share your creations ALL THE TIME. What matters here is that you’ve stopped the flow of consuming and started the flow of creating. It is all about the energy you are dancing with – and both are necessary to the human experience. I just think we could all do with a little more balance in this day and age.
If you’ve read this far, it’s time for some REAL TALK. In light of our ever-connected way of living, we’ve also started to judge our creations to the darkest degree. Unless what we’ve made is perfect, aesthetic, sexy, groundbreaking or Shark-Tank worthy … we deem it useless. And then we take a self-esteem hit.
Let’s change this narrative. Can we take it back to when we were creating JUST for the sake of it? I’ve spent some time teaching yoga and art class to children as part of an after-school program. And can I just say – those humans are creating just for the sake it. They didn’t compare their masterpieces with those of their friends, they SHARED them excitedly.
You would be surprised what constitutes as creation too … Organizing papers, cooking a meal, writing out your week in a planner, designing a 5 minute yoga flow, making a decorative collage, mixing essential oils to form a new scent, drawing, doodling, braiding your hair, blogging, vlogging, sewing, applying your makeup, starting an Evernote journal (I have one and write it in every morning).
IMPORTANT: Don’t let the age-old “it’s been done before” stop you either. Because guess what – it hasn’t been done BY YOU (yet). And that matters.
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