"Steve Jobs believed that 'creativity is just connecting things.' He believed that creating was connecting the dots between the experiences we've had, to synthesize new things. He argued that this is only possible if we have more experiences or devote more time to thinking about our experiences. Creating is the act of paying attention to our experiences and connecting the dots so we can learn more about ourselves and the world around us." ~Brene Brown, Rising Strong.
Guys, I was SHOOOOOOOOK when I read this. Hang with me as I try to explain why it had all of my arm hairs standing up as I read the words in the hot sun.
I've been very aware of this thread, although most times invisible, that connects all points of my life. It isn't linear-- it's messy. Sometimes it's in knots, sometimes it's frayed, and sometimes it's taut---so tight so that it is almost visible, as if it is screaming for me to notice that particular connection. The thread is the connection of my past, of my memories and experiences, of my thoughts and beliefs, and of my dreams for the future. It connects everything. What I think about the thread is this: When we think about the connections--the thread-- that links our experiences, thoughts, and beliefs, we are able to see clearly what we are meant to learn, and we are able to believe that all of our experiences are truly part of a master plan--none is random or without purpose.
My first childhood memory that the thread weaves around and through is a poster that hung on my bedroom wall. It was a poem that I couldn't even read when it became a flimsy decoration. As I grew up, I learned to read it, despite not understanding the power of the words. Before long, it was permanently etched on my brain (some is now permanently etched on my arm). As I experienced the world, certain lines would pop up in my memory and make sense of whatever was happening at that given moment. It became a sort of code, a religion for a girl who didn't go to church. Here is the poem:
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
This poem has become an experience, a memory, a belief, from where my thread loops, knots, circles, and grows taut. It's a central hub for my thread. When I read about this idea from Steve Jobs that creating is just the act of connecting the dots, I realized that this blog is my creation for examining my thread. You know how people come up with cheesy words for the new year? My word for 2018 was "create". I was itching to create something to connect the dots. To get curious. To examine the thread. To make sense of it all.