You have less control over your environment and the environment in which your children grow than you think. The variables are infinite. For two weeks I wrote about Creativity’s Terrain and the variables you can control. This post follows the Introduction to this series.
Creativity dies in a bed of apathy.
Trash is whatever breeds apathy for Creative work. Highly Creative people live, breathe, love and hate over their work. The good and bad breathe passion into the task at hand.
Albert Einstein, ended his days hating Quantum Theory and fighting fellow physicist and friend Neils Bohr to throw it out of the academe.
Apathy-breeding trash is highly individual. What is trash for you, is not trash for me. An idea, object, task or anything else that takes up time or space must be worthy of your Creative work. If not, throw it out. For architect Sarah Susanka, trash came as small, urgent tasks. Susanka says,
I’ve been conditioned to believe, since childhood, that an effective person takes care of problems, as soon as they arise.
That doesn’t sound like a bad thing…But, until I recognized this pattern in myself, I never understood why the part of being an architect that I enjoyed most–the design part, where you sit down and develop the shape and the character of the house or addition you are working on–would always be the last thing I’d get around to during my day…
I’d take the design work home with me, and do it late at night, when there was nothing to interrupt me.
To reverse the trend, Susanka began cultivating apathy for trash, rather than allowing trash to belittle Creativity in her life.
A few years ago, I noticed my daughter’s time at the piano rose and fell with the seasons. Our mid-November days seemed thickest of all, with her music. But, Summer Solstice seemed bare of even one 5 minute interlude of live music. The cause: her teacher took the summer off to hang with her children. The result: I cut this pattern toward piano apathy by switching to a year-round teacher.
For me, a social group turned out to be trash I had to let go of. Good people all, they gathered at a park to open vapid minds and share nothing deep, true or controversial with each other while watching their children play. I came along hoping a child of mine would make a friend. But soon realized the cost of regular attendance was quite high.
People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.
Eventually, I gave up on the group and sighed in relief to be done with that social experiment that left my children and I a little sadder and a little duller every time.
For my children, high action kid’s movies seem to leave them limp and less able to dream of possibilities.
Existential Psychologist Rollo May said,
Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is.
The amount of trash you allow in your Creative Terrain is something you can control. Beware of apathy.