Each year is a season. Each year, we undergo a process of transformation, of some kind. We’re never the same person departing the year as we were walking in. Whether we’re intentional or not about this process, transformation always happens. For good, or for ill.
Ironically, the word transformation was one I chose for my ‘OneWord365’ for 2015 (I talk more about One Word 365 and how it’s impacted my life, and how it can impact yours, in this episode of my podcast ‘James Talks’).
There’s no doubt my life as a whole, and especially my perception of life, faith, spirituality, and creativity, has transformed in 2015. And as happened in previous years, the word I chose has become true in many more ways than I could have foreseen.
But what I’ve learned is we are always in a process of transformation. Whether we like it or not. The choice we have is not whether we’re going to be transformed, but how.
This is why we need to be intentional about the direction we choose for ourselves. And then, at regular intervals, we need to step back, assess where we are, and make new decisions going forward.
Which is about where I am now.
I’ve had a year where my spirituality has been awakened in new and interesting ways. My ideas about creativity, calling, and identity have become more defined. I’ve finished a book and I’m about to begin writing another. I’ve launched a podcast and published an e-book on Amazon.
And personally, I’ve been living out my work. I’ve had my heart exposed to the edge of the grace. Tentatively begun confronting difficult truths about myself. Had clarity about areas which need work and change.
I’ve been transformed. I’m still in a process of transformation.
Because to keep growing, we need to be in a constant state of transformation. (you can tweet that)
I’ll admit, in the last month or two I’ve begun to feel sluggish creatively. I mean, I have great ideas for my next two or three books, which I’m passionate about, and excited to begin work on. However, like any book, I’ve been marinading, reflecting, refining these ideas for a while now…and it’s time to begin reflecting on what’s next.
Usually, my newest ideas come out on my blog and my podcast before they get refined, researched, and fully developed in a book – and this is perfectly normal for any writer. But recently I’ve had less new ideas. My enthusiasm has dissipated. Inspiration has run dry. My love for the craft has been on the wane.
So, as an attempt to solve this problem, I reflected back on where my current ideas had originally come from. What habits brought about my most creative, inspirational periods.
And in the process, I actually discovered my own creative process.
New Year, New Habits
I began to recognise the free writing, the stream of consciousness daily words I’d written, as a core part of my creative process. They had led to the central ideas for the book I’m about to write (to see how that happened, check out my book ‘Unlocking Creativity’ where you’ll see these posts and how these ideas formed).
This had been was period I felt most alive and most creative. What I hadn’t realised then, was that the free writing was ultimately my own, personal creative process. Creativity may work differently for others, it may be the same, but this was my process.
What I discovered, was reason I’d stagnated creatively, is because I’d lost this discipline. I’d lost this habit. And maybe, because I’d been scared of what’s inside me.
Maybe I’d been so immersed in my own world, on all the work I’d been doing on so many projects, I’d forgotten to look inside myself.
I’d been transformed in many ways – spirituality, weight loss, attitude to my work, embracing new projects, having my calling my crystallised, building new relationships, issues exposed – and all of these are good, positive things. But my inner creative voice had somehow got lost in the noise.
One big decision for the coming year, is to ensure I have regular habits, which give space for that voice to speak. As well as creating a rhythm for my life, which allows me to be healthier in every sense.
Because one of the other major lessons I learned is my current rhythm to life simply isn’t conducive to healthy living and thriving. And it’s definitely not helpful for someone who’s vocation is linked to creativity.
I’ve been transformed to a point I can’t go back…and where the only way to fully embrace what’s shaping me is to transform the rhythm of my life.
And this is the choice we all face.
We all grow, and change over time. Most of us have had experiences where we know we can’t go back. At that point, we either choose to change our life in response to those moments, or to ignore it, go on as we are, and stagnate.
Choosing to change is a courageous choice to make. But it’s the right one.
What will you choose to do in 2016?
Question For Reflection
Are you willing to be intentional about change in 2016?
Share your story in the comments below!
Check out my podcast episode on #OneWord365 here.
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