Consuming vs. Creating

The view from my desk, where I do most of my creating.
The view from my desk, where I do most of my creating, where the trees speak to me.

The internet grabs our attention with a smorgasbord of options. I have my favorite blogs, my favorite news sites, my favorite social media sites. I have a personal blog, a site for my business, a blog for my business, a blog for writing poetry and short fiction, and a tumblr (just for the hell of it).

Not only am I overwhelmed by all of the articles I want to read and the pictures I want to pin and the things I want to learn; I am always thinking about what I can post next. Okay, not always, but often. The truth is that I love the internet. I might be addicted to it.

Addictions are part of being human. They just happen. We find immense comfort in our addictions: energy and good feelings and no feelings and such. Most people don’t realize what a powerful drug sugar is (or that they’re addicted to it), whereas many are completely aware that they need coffee to function. And they’re okay with that. That’s all that matters, I think: being okay.

Maybe you’re addicted to coffee, but you’re still sleeping okay at night. This is a controlled addiction. You might eat processed sugar every day, but you don’t eat it multiple times per day. You exercise and you eat healthy the majority of the time, and although you need sugar every day, you’re not on the road to type II diabetes, you’re okay. You need two glasses of wine with dinner, but you don’t black out or brown out or get hungover (usually). You’re okay.

As for my internet addiction, I need to create as I consume, or else the internet drops me into an unnatural state of passivity. I want to be part of the conversation. I want to share as I learn and speak as I listen. This is how I stay balanced.

It makes sense according to this article, which says the more you create, the more you “deserve to consume.” Your happiest days are directly correlated to the amount of things you create compared to the things consumed. Of course, this ratio is different for everyone, and the author guides you, step-by-step, how to find yours.

Creating something does not always have a tangible result such as a blog entry or cash or a degree. It can mean making a loved one smile, teaching a child the importance of saying thank you, or introducing yourself to a stranger. I attended the Pacific Northwest Bloggers meet-up this past Saturday night, and I can see the creation from that night (new relationships and brand awareness surrounding Herbal Philosophy) has spilt over into this week. And yes, I feel happier.

When I make dinner as I prefer to do, I tend to feel better about what I am eating. Not because it is necessarily healthier, but because somewhere in my subconscious mind, I feel this food will deeply nourish my body as it has been tailored to my tastes and customized by my whims. In some ways, one’s mentality about food is more important than the food itself.

For weeks this past winter, as freezing temperatures prevented us from going outside, my dining room table remained permanently covered with magazines and their clippings (we eat in the kitchen). My littles and I had an ongoing project: cut out pictures from magazines. I had an ultimate vision for mine, an inspirational collage, a vision board of sorts, while the kids just love pretty pictures and using children’s scissors. This activity proved to be easy and fun, and best of all, it felt good. Simple creations can be profound, rudimentary art projects can reveal God. (Like when Giovanna asked me to cut out a tiny picture of a tiny doll amongst zillions in a Pottery Barn Kids Christmas catalog, and the doll happened to be named Giovanna.)

But I am not always a merry little creator. I get writer’s block. I hit dry spells with the tea promotions and orders. I’d rather eat out. When I go shopping, even for necessities, I almost always feel that familiar tinge of guilt. Though I am not addicted to shopping, I once was. In some ways, I am still in recovery, and I prefer to avoid malls. But after reading the article about creating vs. consuming, I wonder if there’s a way to balance the equation. Perhaps by donating clothes to the Goodwill every time I go shopping? Or by holding a garage sale and selling that which I no longer use? Or by digging up my old sewing machine and making something new out of something old?

Though I’ve known for some time that creating is my life-blood, I’ve never correlated it so directly with happiness. This new awareness is a breath of fresh air, an expansion and an answer I’ve been seeking. I don’t know exactly how it will change my life, or how to strike the elusive balance between consuming and creating, I only know that I can and I will.

In the meantime, please do join me as I create on my new Tumblr site, my creative writing blog, and of course, over at Herbal Philosophy Teas. I am also on instagram, twitter, and pinterest.

“The opposite of happiness isn’t sadness–it’s boredom.”

– Timothy Ferris


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