It’s such a cliche phrase, but it’s been a recurring theme in my life for the past 10 years. I struggle with being content. With thriving where I’ve been placed. Not just on a philosophical level, but on a real, physical, tangible level. In other words, I’ve struggled with this brown, dry, drab place that I’ve been given as a home, especially as a creative who craves beauty and life and visual inspiration.
But not being content where I am? That’s me, throwing what God has given me back into His face.
I’ve said over the years that I love California, but I hate the desert. My poor husband has heard me say that more than once, and babe, I’m honestly so sorry. I’ve spent a long time, preaching this lesson to myself, learning to come to terms with the drab color, the dry hot heat. I’ve cried, prayed, asked to be shown why it is that I’ve been placed here. I’ve been more and more okay with it as time has gone by, but then a change did happen pretty quickly and pretty recently for me. It’s going to sound totally silly and completely unrelated to being a creative, living where you don’t naturally draw inspiration, but hear me out.
It got cold.
I’ve been the first one complaining about the overabundance of 100+ degree days. The one begging for winter to come back. The one laughing at the native Californians in Uggs as soon as the temperature goes below 70. But this winter, it got colder than I ever remember it being here. I bought my own pair of Uggs. I bundled up in sweatshirts in the middle of the day, and using multiple blankets at night. Who knew all it would take is me longing for the mild California winters, for it to be warm enough to go to the beach, to completely change my attitude about this place? Why that? Honestly, I don’t know, other than it was God showing me I’ve been blessed beyond measure.
I’m blessed by the (usually) warm winters, that let you go to the beach whenever. And while it has been cold here in the desert, I’m only about 3 hours from literally my favorite place on planet earth, the San Diego area, and year-round 60ish degree weather. We typically don’t have to run much heat in the winter. And in the sweltering days of summer, you can stay in the shade and there’s almost always a breeze blowing, and since it’s so dry here, we can use swamp coolers, which chill the air so efficiently we grab our sweatshirts.
I’m here for a reason.
I’ve been placed here for a reason. My kids are supposed to grow up here for a reason. I’m supposed to use my talents here and grow my businesses here, and live here, for a reason. I used to think I could never be inspired here. Or that I could never grow a business (yet alone two) here because I know so few people. But people have built businesses from every remote corner of the world. I see people living in what I’d consider a paradise, wishing they lived somewhere else more inspiring to them. My paradise is someone else’s dry desert.
The other thing that helped transform my mindset is from an art perspective. The greatest artists use whatever materials they have in whatever situation they are in to make great art. Matisse was losing mobility so he started cutting up paper and pinning it to walls instead of painting. He didn’t say “oh well, I can’t paint anymore so I guess that’s it then.” No, he carried on. I don’t need to go anywhere to make art. I can be inspired from here in the brown desert. And while that means I’ll google a lot of pictures of the ocean when I’m craving inspiration, I don’t need to up and leave where I am.
Hard is good.
Hard things are good for us. When we fall into a routine and life of easy, I think it’s actually a detriment to our creativity. You need push and challenge yourself, both physically and mentally. When it’s hard to create, that’s the best time to push yourself to create. Think about why you have been given a drive to create, why God put that spark in you, and why you can’t just ignore it. Look for inspiration in unexpected places. You can praise God when you find it, and cling to Him when it’s lacking.
It’s absurd to think you can’t create where you are. That you can’t use the talents God has also given you in the place He has positioned you. If you truly believe you were made by God to create, then that’s it! You were, and you must!