Practice of a little each day

I express my creativity in various forms. The main three expressions are photography, painting and writing. Monday through Friday I provide a blog post on Creative Potager with a sprout question designed to help us take our creativity further.  I have been noticing a thread or theme coming up in both my life and in our sprout responses. The thread is like a strawberry plant sending runners out in all direction seeking fertile soil. Since I like strawberries and I like sprout responses on Creative Potager, I thought I would provide some rich ground to expand on what I call “the practice of a little each day.”

This practice has been part of my life for a very long time and harkens back to the work of  William Glasser, and choice theory and reality therapy (which I took both the basic and intensive training in the 1980’s). Today this work also seems to have sprouted up as part of coaching and brief therapy but its roots are also identifiable yoga, mediation and other eastern practices. Now that, for recognition and reference, I have identified my personal lineage to the practice let’s get on with fertilizing these Creative Potager creative runners with “the practice of a little each day.”

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What is “the practice of a little each day?”

1. Each morning listen deeply to what your creative need is for that day (different from your wants or desires needs are like the basic needs of the air and water for our creativity to survive).

2. Make a commitment and a concrete specific plan to action you are going to take to fulfill that need just little before the end of the day. No excuses, no judging. Gently and firmly ask yourself these questions “Is what I am committing doable? Is what I am doing now working for me? If yes, how can I keep doing it? If no, what will work better?”

The key to this practice is clarity about your long-term creative intention and doing “a little each day” which is something I call a living vision. In this case, a living vision for expressing your creativity.

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The practice is simple in design and takes a life time to appreciate – it is a practice. We can start again each day – or even each hour if need be. Please take from it what works for you and let go of the rest.

Sprout Question: How does “the practice of a little each day” inform your creativity?

Note: Today includes some of my more meditative images that support my own deep listening. The first one is currently the background on my laptop.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

14 thoughts on “Practice of a little each day

  1. I think that my “practice of a little each day” involves learning at least one new thing every day, pushing my understanding of some aspect of my art, or photography, or computer graphics . . . or gardening, or breadmaking, and on and on. It’s all creative energy and feeds from the same spring.

    In this process it’s my goal every day to be kind to myself and not be too judgmental or focused on any specific product or outcome, trusting that each new thing learned will build on what is there.

    By the way, I am a great Glasser fan. I once knew a therapist who would ask two questions of her clients: 1. What do you want? and 2. What are you doing? These two questions are wonderful clarifiers.

    • Martha, you Kathy and Laurie must have all replied before the dust had settled after I hit send today – wow!

      I like what you say about “it’s all creative energy and feeds from the same spring.” When I’ve been doing program development or leadership where there was a lot of vision work and methods needing to be developed to inspire others to embrace that vision – I did less painting and photography and creative writing. My creative needs were being fulfilled in my these other activities.

      And another Glasser fan. Those two questions are a good start and remind me of what Laurie Buchanan often says Whatever you are not changing you are choosing I often make a habit of distilling down from “the want” to “the need” because in the process there is often an expansion of choices that will appear.

      For example, I want to visit my grandson. The “five whys” will get me to the need.

      Why? I need to give him a physical hug so I can feel my connection to him.
      Why? Because he is young and I don’t want him to grow up without knowing me or me him.
      Why? I feel that I have gifts of appreciation for who he is that are mine to give to him.
      Why? Because I believe every person needs to experience (by as many people as possible) unconditional love.
      Why? Because unconditional love is what I need in my life to thrive and in giving somehow there are greater opportunity for receiving.

      The basic core need – love and belonging

      Now I can apply “the practice of a little each day.” All of a sudden short letters, cards, phone calls and special little email tidbits sent through his parents all become part of my express of love and belonging… and I still “want” to visit but I can fulfill a little of my “need” in small doable ways.

  2. What great advice, Terrill. I like the thought of focusing on our creative needs–and asking them what needs to be expressed today. To keep asking about the intentions behind our actions. Like I said recently on your other post, I keep getting a strong pull towards a huge block of time empty of words, and then giving smaller blocks of time to writing. And not thinking about writing in between-times. This is feeling sooo very good.

  3. Terrill – I very much resonate with the meditative images you included today; they are restful.

    Sprout Question: How does “the practice of a little each day” inform your creativity?

    1. I do listen, daily, to the need. My response is the FUEL that stokes the fire.

    2. I made a commitment to a DOABLE plan of action — blogging every other day, as opposed to daily. It’s working for me, beautifully.

    • Laurie your “DOABLE” works for me as a reader of your blog. Everyday isn’t necessary to keep me coming back. I do need frequent but mostly great content in an area that intrigues me is the clincher. Martha Marshall sometimes skips a day or three in her posts on “An Artist Journal” and yet I will slip by frequently because her content is candy to my artist’s spirit.

    • You are welcome Laurie… I thought it was rather clever of me to cross pollinate the two blogs in my replies – such are the moments made possible when sprouts are growing so close together.

  4. i think it is important to take some time to sit and quiet my thoughts at least twice a day. I do this separate from any thing else and and and at specific junctures in my day. I don’t know that this informs anything creative but it is a point of reference which i can go back to through out my day.

    • Thanks Jerry, your comment reminds me of the importance of asking if what we are doing now is working… and it sounds like what you are doing works for you. I have some natural reflective quiet times build into my day and I use them. Like you, I am not sure what specific result they inform but I do know if I miss them too often my creativity suffers (along with my sense of well-being).

  5. Hi Terrill,
    Most years I don’t make a New Year’s Resolution, but this year I agreed with myself to write each day no matter what with the intention of improving my skills and moving in the direction of publishing. It is March 25th and I have followed this agreement with myself. Some days I work on my current novel and some days I edit my work, with a certain goal such as continuity, characterization, imagery, dialogue, etc. Just a little goal for each day is manageable, and I feel so much satisfaction when I move away from the computer and consider what the rest of the day holds. A walk on the beach, preparing a meal, writing to a friend, these things all have more importance once I’ve given my full attention to my work. Each task seems more meaningful.

    • It is late Amber, near midnight and still raining. Your comment and post “A Little Each Day” speak to the power of living and working in community. I am admire your writing success and your joy in that success of “a little each day” and also the walk on the beach, preparing a meal and writing to a friend. It is the full picture isn’t it that keeps us inspired?

  6. Thank you, Terrill. As usual, I’m blogging just before bedtime. I did walk today, and prepared several dishes for the arrival of family. Sun Spread, made with both sunflower seeds and tofu, along with other ingredients, is something I make for the grandkids, who think it’s wonderful. They think my soup, which they call Carrot Soup, has healing powers. Such fun.

    • Ah it does sound like fun. I envy your ability to have them come visit. Give them each an extra squeeze for me… I so enjoyed getting together today and thank you again for hosting us.

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