Spark and Sponge

Fall (my absolute favorite time of year) finally started showing its face last week so my husband and I ventured out on the lake over the weekend to soak up the last bits of sun and marvel that October is already upon us. “I mean, think about everything you’ve been through these past ten months!” he said. I do this everyday, of course. In some ways it feels like a few months. In others, like years.

This is turning into a season of sponge-self. After attending a creative conference in late September, I have devoured every resource I can get my hands on in hopes of not losing the spark I had when I walked out the doors, back to reality. Maybe you’re familiar with the struggle of harnessing that momentum of inspiration. Maybe you’re like me, faced with the second step.

There’s a question that’s been brewing in my head for several weeks. It’s not a new one by any means, resurfacing ever so often at the point where inspiration and aspiration meet.

“What now?” feels tangible; not really a question of what and certainly not if, but when and how. When ‘what now’ bubbles up, I can feel the knowing smile in my cheeks, I mean business.

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I recently finished CJ Casciotta’s Get Weird and had the opportunity to meet him a couple of weeks ago. I posted this inscription afterward and my mom questioned me: “What does that mean?” Spoiler alert: This concludes his book, but it’s important. Have you ever noticed children on a playground? More times than not, when they get to the top of the slide, they will sit down and look around to make sure someone is watching.

“There’s a deep, fundamental need in a child to be seen whenever they’re about to take a risk, especially by someone who cares about their well-being. If no one has ever told you this, it’s my honor to be the first: You are loved. You are seen. Now go down the slides.” – CJ Casciotta, Get Weird

“What now?” alludes to my struggle with the risk. I’m in the minority of people who actually love what they do for a living. Although, admittedly over the summer, I confessed to my mom that I’d grown complacent with the day-to-day goings-on.

Yesterday, I zoned out at the gym with my headphones and two episodes of the Accidental Creative podcast by Todd Henry. When he launched into Productive Passion, I felt like he was speaking directly to me.

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I throw around the term ‘passion’ often. My LinkedIn profile describes me as a passionate digital and visual artist. Isn’t passion what drives us? (And if it doesn’t already, shouldn’t it?)

While our definitions today include strong and barely controllable emotion and an intense desire or enthusiasm, the word ‘passion’ is derived by the Latin word pati meaning to suffer.

Todd suggests three questions to ask yourself to discover your Productive Passionthe thing you’re willing to be uncomfortable and suffer for no matter what.

  1. What makes you angry?
  2. What makes you cry?
  3. What is the thing that you believe to be true that few people around you do? 

I’ll add one more for me: How can I use the platform I’ve been given to enact my Productive Passion in a more meaningful way every single day?

I can feel something brewing on the horizon. I haven’t nailed down details yet, but one thing is for sure: I’m about to go down some slides.

“Cover bands don’t change the world. Don’t be a cover band. You need to find your unique voice if you want to thrive.” – Todd Henry, Accidental Creative

 

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