structured vs. rigid

if you've been following my blog for awhile now, you've probably noticed that i usually post every saturday. well, yesterday came and went - it's sunday now and a blog post didn't go up yesterday. i could have crammed it in, made it work, and gotten it out there. but there was no reason for that, and that's actually what i want to talk about on this sleepy, drizzly vermont sunday.

in much of today's culture, the 'hustle' is glorified and productivity is widely talked about on the internet, in articles, and even in courses you can purchase to make your daily schedule more so. i do want to start this off by saying that i fully believe that's it's vitally important to find a purpose(s) work hard, and find fulfillment in what we do - however, like anything else, we can overdo, and actually misinterpret what this actually means.

yesterday, instead of checking off tasks at my desk, i spent the day out with my mom and sister. we went to the mall, ate sushi, and had loads of good conversation and lots of fun. it was a great reminder that, though my creative work is a massive part of my universe, and something that has helped to shape me, it's not the defining factor of who i am as a being and it's not the source from which i derive all my happiness.

i talked about this once in a video, but it can be so easy to fall into the trap of 'when i can do this, then i'll be happy.' even now, i sometimes catch myself relying on my own efforts to produce happiness.

"If I write what I want to write today, then I'll be happy..." 

but science shows that happiness really needs to come first - and i've experienced this first hand in my own life.

“When we are happy—when our mindset and mood are positive—we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the center, and success revolves around it.” – Shawn Achor

we create well from a happy heart. we don't create well from a burned out point of departure where we are desperately clinging to our work, hoping it will bring us happiness. then if/when it doesn't, we find ourselves even deeper in despair - and somewhat angry at our art for not fixing everything. (haha)

see to me, my art and everything else i do is structure. structure is great. like the literal meaning of the word, structure helps give us a foundation to build, to create, and to give ourselves a healthy, beautiful space where we can live and work and play every day. It means that we're pursuing goals and dreams, and actively working on our things whenever we can. and yes, we are finding fulfillment from doing this, but we're not relying upon it alone to provide us with happiness.

things like rising early, meditating, scheduling or planning, doing yoga or some other form of relaxing exercise, creating a morning or daily routine, are all great indicators that you've created a structure of some kind to help you live and work more creatively.

but...i think in today's world of 'hustle' it can be easy to mistake structure for rigidity.

being rigid means you lack the ability to move and bend with the ebb and flow of life. it means you have a structure and you've worked hard to build it, but if a high wind hits? look out below. if you find yourself saying 'no' to all else but things strictly related to work, it might be a sign that you've surpassed having a healthy structure, and you've become rigid.

life isn't just about work, even creative work. if you have work that you love - awesome. me too. but it's so, so important not to get so tied up in what we do that we more closely associate with what we put out than with what already dwells inside of us.

sometimes we need to skip a blog post and go eat sushi with people we love.

if you find yourself saying 'no' too often to things that actually fill your heart and bring your happiness? that's going to hurt your creativity in the long run. happiness must come first...and from there we can create what our heart desires. it's just like carb-loading before a run, or filling your car with gas before a road trip: you need fuel. you can't run on empty.

create structure, but build it so that it can bend with the wind, move with the ebb and flow of life. if you enjoy planning and scheduling and working on your projects every day? power to you! keep doing what you're doing. but as you continue to build and grow, make sure your schedule is flexible enough to include happiness, hope, joy, and the things and people who make your heart hum - who actually inspire you to create.

i'll keep this one shorter today, sweet friend. ♥ i hope you have a beautiful rest of your week, and a lovely 4th of July if you're in the usa. keep creating, keep dreaming...

and stay stoked!

structured vs. rigid
  1. I needed this so much! This is just a wonderful reminder (and the photos are stunning, as always)!

    -Ash 💛

  2. your posts always exude peace. i love it.

  3. Such a fantastic post, Kate <3 this is one of the life reminders I feel like I will need + keep close to me when I start college in a month. I'll definitely be pinning it to reread later :)

    - Eleanor

  4. I love the prose/writing style of this post! And of course the message, but the stream of writing was especially beautiful in this one. <3


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