The Borders of Your Life

Is the sense of pressure and rush eroding your creativity? –asks Greg Barker

Simon & Garfunkel knew that the most revealing aspects of our lives happen at the borders.

The borders: those parts of our days that do not seem important, that few ever see.

That moment when we step out of the door but before we get into our car.

Or, the sigh we let out when we sit down at our desk.

Or, the few minutes we have before meetings – how we look around, what we think, what we observe, how we feel.

Simon & Garfunkel found all the material they ever needed for their songs at the borders – just listen to “The Dangling Conversation” and you’ll see what I mean.

What’s Happening At Your Edges?

It’s so easy for our borders to be filled with a sense of pressure and rush.

That’s the reality for many people I know trying to make it in the performing arts.

Now, sometimes rushing can be life giving; an opportunity opens up and you run for it! Joy!

But when a sense of hurry becomes a habit, we have encountered the true enemy of the creative life.

We start leaving everything for the last minute, we push every appointment to its limits, we squeeze in “just one more thing” into an already busy day.

One of my friends calls this being an “adrenaline junkie” – for, our body receives a chemical shot when we put ourselves under artificial pressure.

That’s the reward.

But there’s an enormous downside:

No new ideas, no new passions, no sense of joy at unexpected pleasures.

Tending the Borders

Maybe that’s why Paul Simon penned the words, “Slow down, you move too fast…”

This week, why not try making the borders of your life breathe a little?

Try one of these on for size:

• Eat breakfast just 5 minutes earlier than usual so you can take your time walking out the door.

• Drive home from work a different way.

• Leave your self a free hour somewhere in the middle of the day and wander with your body or your mind to some new places.

• Write a poem, sketch a cartoon, doodle – in an unusual location.

See if you don’t get a new idea, a new thought about how you might perform a song, or a new lyric popping into your head.

Maybe you’ll even find the borders of your life informing your music as they never have before.