What are you looking for?

by Starla J. King on April 25, 2013

I was walking (stumbling) to the gym the other morning just before sunrise, head down (to avoid “gifts” on the sidewalk from those precious mini fluffball urban pups), when something caught my eye: graffiti letters scrawled boldly across the white crosswalk paint on the street.

It wasn’t the graffiti that surprised me — it’s everywhere here – it was the placement of it on a “canvas” I hadn’t seen before.

That’s what I love about these graffiti writers: they see opportunity for expression in every blank space around them. The small edge of a brick in an alleyway entrance has space for a bright white signature in thin indelible marker, an open expanse of wall allows for grandiosity, utility posts turn the writing vertical, and alley doors (ours included) are like pre-framed large-scale notepads.  alley door graffiti

Sure, these acts of expression are more likely about territory and animosity than love and compassion, but we can still learn from them: we can look for opportunity in every moment, see the blank canvas of every surface, and claim that space as ours for creative expression.

It’s easy to not write because we don’t have chunks of time available (um. guilty.). It’s easy not to write because we aren’t in the mood. (um. guilty.). It’s easy not to write because our notebook is too big or small or the spiral digs into your hand or the cat is lying on it and we all know you can’t move a cat (um. yeah, guilty.).

As I heard myself say in a client call this week, “What if you just kept a notebook open on the counter so you could catch the ideas as they showed up? Just 30 seconds to jot down a word or a phrase. Sparks. You could call it your Sparks List.

Then I saw the crosswalk this morning used as a graffiti writer’s notepad.

And I was reminded that we (I!) need to look for the brief moments of inspiration and use them. Look for the tools of expression and use them. Play with them like fireflies on a warm summer night, chasing them, holding them in our hands for a moment as their little lights flash, then release them.

Finding the time for creative work-play is less about time and more about what you’re looking for.

Yes, we still need to carve out time to get fully immersed in our deepest creative work, but those briefest moments, smallest ideas, and most unique spaces for capturing our fleeting expressions are the sparks that light the forest fires of our soul.

What are you looking for?

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