on-going mostly unedited stream of thoughts

contemplating mortality & creative output

These days I’ve been re-examining my relationship to my life, and by extension: my relationships to this website, social media, etc. I know it doesn’t seem that way, but I self-censor a lot. The output on this website is like a small compared to the volume of my thoughts. Somehow I feel like if I publish too regularly I’ll overwhelm people’s feeds etc. This is one of the main reasons why I have a separate notes section, when I could easily fold it under this journal. After all this is a journal, and the point of having a journal is so one can be free to write about their ongoing stream-of-consciousness. But even with a notes section I am still holding back considerably.

I have been working a lot on myself to free myself from this self-censorship. One of the easier things to do is to practice it on my photography, since it carries less psychological weight for some reason. The photography is “fun”, whereas the writing is “serious”. I put those labels myself? So I try to publish a photo on instagram and various other platforms every day. I like this creative routine so far. It provokes me to scroll my photo library and reminisce the moments when I took those photos. I get reminded of the richness of life. To put ourselves in the mood for photography is to open our mind’s eye to the potential richness of life. It is not enough to see, we have to endeavour to open our minds wider to perceive beauty.

Writing is much harder for me. I have to put myself into a semi-mediative state for the words to flow. To somehow translate seemingly complex feelings into sentences that are accessible to other people. We possess different psyches and may end up interpreting the same sentence in different ways. Sometimes that is beautiful, other times I wish I can share the essence of my feelings with you. The act of writing takes more spiritual energy (not spiritual in the woo-woo way, but in the creative spirit way) for me.

I still wish to create more. Life is unpredictable and I don’t know how much life span or freedom to create I have left. I have a thought experiment: what would I do if I only had months to live? I definitely would not be living the way I am now – spending swaths of time in a semi-conscious, semi-numb state. It is not that I chose to be in this state, but it seems to be my response to the absurd chaos of the world right now. Being too aware just makes me hyper anxious. So I focused on the mundaneness of life: chores, cooking, exercise, routines. These are important things and I am grateful for the opportunity to integrate them into my life, but I have neglected my spirit, which I wasn’t even aware of until I was in bangkok.

Again, the journey to find the balance?

I wish to be more experimental in my creative output. I am not sure how, just seeking to open myself up to that space. But I think I let my self get too much in the way – the self-consciousness, the self-censorship.

Yet when I think about the shortness of life, I feel ridiculous about being so self-conscious. At the end of my life, I would like to feel like I’ve tried my best to live, and that includes venturing to the furthest point possible creatively. There is this smaller hope that some of my work may still resonate with future people after I’m gone, but that is not my priority. I wish to know myself as much as possible during my lifetime, and I think having a creative practice is one of the best ways to do so. When we make something we take what is previously unknown in our subconscious and it becomes known in an external form. It is both a mirror and a birthed extension of ourselves. If we’re lucky, someone else may interact with the work and deliver an interpretation we have never contemplated before, and this in turn may enrich us deeper.

But the general fatigue and absurdness of life tires me out and I lose this creative spirit, over and over again. It takes a re-mustering of a will that has been deeply buried and exhausted. Sometimes all it takes is momentum. A regular practice sustains and builds this momentum. I just need to think about how I can incorporate this into my existing life without burning myself out.

I wrote something similar in 2014, but I’ve probably gone through similar repetitive cycles of over the years of whether to write more or less.

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4 thoughts on “contemplating mortality & creative output”

  1. Lost says:

    This really resonated with me. Every time I think I am balanced, I fall out of balance (and the “disruptions” aren’t always a bad thing, you know? They can dust you off and make you feel alive like your Bangkok trip), reminding me that balance may only be something that can be struck at a specific point in time since everything is constantly in flux. Instead of striving for balance, my intuition calls me to direct my attention to the present moment as attachment to balance only ever leaves me feeling unbalanced (instead of happy). I guess it’s time to go meditate, huh? 😛

    1. Winnie says:

      thank you for stopping by! yeah, maybe being perpetually balanced is an impossible state, but perhaps sometimes we swing too much to one side without knowing, or perhaps we our selves have changed, and what used to be “balanced” for us no longer works.

      and yes I think it is important to have skills/tools to know where our selves are: meditation, journalling. it is just that we can probably journal a lot without having that 3rd party insight to realise we are not at a place that we want, because we are just such habitual creatures. I’ve been wondering myself how to create more of those moments of awareness. 🙂

  2. Euan Semple says:

    This really rang true for me. Especially being in a “semi-conscious, semi-numb state” which for me has seemed to last for a couple of years! I want to write more, I want to write for a living, I want to write another book but what do I do? Write endlessly repeating, self pitying drivel in my Day One journal.

    I have been sort of believing that when the time is right my next adventure in life will begin but I’m beginning to worry how long I will have to wait!

    1. Winnie says:

      Thank you for leaving this comment. Yes I think life is a difficult balance between letting ourselves unfold/decompress naturally versus recognising that we’re in a rut and mustering the energy to dig our selves out of that rut. As a former workaholic I am hesitant to make myself do things, but I think I do overcompensate by letting life flow by me. Cultivating that awareness to know when we need a break or when we need to kickstart ourselves is key, but really challenging.

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