a river of ideas

If you’re a creative type, you probably have a torrent of ideas threatening to make your head burst.

It’s wonderful and all kinds of exciting, right? It’s stressful and intimidating, right?

You have all these ideas, rushing, roiling past in a river, occasionally splashing you and focusing your attention on the mess dripping from your face. But you can’t catch the river, you only have your hands. So you dip in and grab a sample to bring home and use. A lot slips through your fingers on the way. Maybe you water your garden with what little is left. And the river still rushes and splashes and roars and you can’t grab it all.

Does it ever feel like failure, all the ideas slipping past your fingers? It’s frustrating not to be equipped with a big enough bucket. Or maybe more time. You want every drop but you can’t possibly have it all.

Some ideas will pass you by.

This is OK. It has to be OK. You’re dipping in your hands and getting some drops, right? And you use what you get to make something, right? And you let yourself be vulnerable and show the world the garden you watered with these precious drops, right?

You are being as productive as you can and that’s all you can do.

You don't need to catch the river to water your garden | Life is an Orange

To the guy on the other side, trying so very hard to catch the whole river in his hands, it’ll look like you’re doing better than he is. He is paralyzed by his failure. Longing for the oceans he missed. But you’re using what you did grab and your garden is growing. Only you will know how much of the river you didn’t catch, how many ideas passed by. We will only see what you did make and we’ll think you’re brilliantly prolific.

Keep going. Make stuff. Water your garden. Grow what you can and let us all enjoy it.

Live deliciously.

The title of my blog is a little silly, I know. I’ve long enjoyed this quote (which may or may not have been said by Mother Theresa) — I have “life is a song, sing it” etched on my iPod:

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”

One day, the phrase “life is an orange, savor it” popped into my head. (I had been eating lots of oranges at the time–they were in season and so sweet…)  I loved the way that phrase cleverly captured what I want in life: to savor each drop and get the most out of its deliciousness. Truly appreciating an orange takes time and presence. It nourishes you. It’s a little messy and difficult, and that makes it all the more satisfying.

“Life is an Orange” is quirky. So am I. So are you; the whole world is, for that matter, and I think that’s great.

If you take the time to savor your orange, it will be sweet, tart, satisfying, and nutritious. It will be bursting. Life is all these things, too, especially if you give it your attention. Nourish yourself, body & spirit, so that you can be the best version of yourself. Honor your gifts and dreams so that you can help make the world the best version of itself.