What do you feel when you’re nurturing one of your gifts or doing a hobby you enjoy. It could be drawing something, sewing a cushion, designing something, doing a workout, painting the cupboards or spending time in the garden – what and how do you feel in the process?
Peace? Exhilaration? Zest? Tranquility?
I went to town today, and at one point was sitting beside a teenager who was (or still is) clearly going through something stressful. So much so, that at times, she would slap her leg and cuss under her breath every time her phone pinged.
She looked about 19 or so; maybe a bit beyond that and was obviously agitated about something; all of us in the immediate area noticed. It was hard not to.
In between mumbling about whatever she was upset about, she sang along to every song playing on the nearby stereo – and it so happened, that she has a beautiful voice.
One moment, she sang a sweet melody and the next, her phone would go off and she’d say a bleep-worthy word and start tapping her feet nervously. She didn’t seem unstable, but visibly flustered and trying not to panic.
Then, all of a sudden, she said, “Dis is how my day gine f’real? My day goin’ so bad. Now de whole day gine be bad.”
A few moments of silence. Then, without looking directly at her, in a sisterly tone that I hoped was gentle but loud enough for her (alone) to hear, I said, “The day is only half-gone. It can turn around for the better. Take a deep breath and keep on singing.“
She went quiet for a moment then turned to look at me as if to determine the intention, and, in a moment or two continued singing.
Recently in Barbados, a teenaged girl ended her life and this teen was (possibly still is) clearly struggling with something. I just couldn’t ignore her obvious frustration, creative gift and cry for help.
Anyhow, a few more times she stopped singing to sigh loudly. Eyes discreetly darted in her direction but I guess no one knew what to say or do – most of them were men, so it probably would’ve been odd for them to.
A song I knew came on and I quietly harmonized a few lines with her. She noticed and turned curiously for a moment, singing with a smile this time. I was looking out the window, but have decent peripheral vision.
Just as it was time for her to go, one of the guys turned and told her she has a beautiful voice, which is true.
She left with a smile, and just before, looked over and said, “thanks” clearly much lighter and a lot less stressed.
I don’t know the situation she was dealing with or may still be going through; whether it was a small issue or a big challenge, but I have learned from my own journey and by observing many others, that though gifts don’t change circumstances, they do help points in the process become lighter. Tear-stained songs in my publishing catalogue are sonic proof.
I’m pretty sure that had she just been complaining and not singing, that 20 minutes could have had a negative ripple effect on everyone nearby, but after she left, the topic among a few of them was her lovely voice despite her obvious mood.
So, whatever it is you’re facing or growing through, some purposeful time nurturing your gifts can be helpful in breathing through and beyond stressful moments. They don’t change circumstances but trace back to the Giver of those gifts from Whom everlasting joy springs.
You don’t need to have the most energy or time or feel like being creative to reap refreshing results by making or doing something you enjoy. A few moments of purposeful creative expression can help shift your mindset for the better at a tough time or during what could be a stressful day.
There’s a place for both temporary grieving, sulking and venting but in these socially tense times, it’s healthy and helpful to monitor how we express ourselves to and amidst others. Like a relay race, emotions can be contagious when we’re not conscious.
Doing things that lighten our mood doesn’t change situations but they can help us refresh our thinking for the better while creating something beautiful.
Gifts don’t always (or ever) have to translate into a product or career; they can be something you enjoy that inspires you to breathe fully.
What step can you take today to tend to a gift you’ve been given or a hobby you enjoy?