Hey Creative friend!
Did you get that nifty gifty from my last email? It’s the pdf about the Rabbit Hole exercise I do with my members and students. If you didn’t get it or need it again, you can download it by scrolling to the bottom of this post and joining my email updates. I’ll send it to you swiftly via email when you do (don’t worry – if you’re already someone who gets my emails it won’t duplicate you, go ahead and re-join below).
I realized this past holiday weekend that the Rabbit Hole isn’t just an exercise for me – it’s a lifestyle.
After finding a how-to video that FINALLY made sense to me (and simplified what was in my head about hand bookbinding) I had a go at it the other night.
I fell into excitement and flow and it was effortless even though it was nowhere near perfect. Just like the broom that sat in my head as an aspiration for 18 months (despite having all the materials ready to go), when this little exploratory project was complete I was giddy.
I hopped – yes, I literally hopped – to my kids and eagerly showed them my little hand-bound sketchbook. The satisfaction of just doing it with what I had on hand, and starting somewhere as opposed to looking for the “right” or “best” method, filled a need for accomplishment that was bubbling up inside me.
I finally made a book!
Then, before I had finished trimming the final ends of each signature (that’s the cluster of pages grouped together over and over), I found that I was already craving to learn the next style and steps of a new design. I was already mulling over what I knew in my head. And I was formalizing my understanding of this first binding stitch I learned – the Coptic stitch. It felt good.
I felt creatively alive!
Truth be told, that’s when I feel most alive as a human – when I’m exploring and using what I learn. And I’ve done this my whole life. My curiosity is insatiable, as is my deep desire to share what I know with other people who might want to come along on the nerd-out adventures that comprise my days.
Here’s why that’s important: human beings are wired to keep learning and growing. That’s just how our brains are made BUT our culture kinda stops valuing curious growth after the typical college years. Then we’re supposed to settle down, settle in, and just do life in the typical order. Be responsible. Don’t be frivolous. Put others before yourself ESPECIALLY if you’re a woman. Don’t waste time. Don’t chase fruitless ideas. If it can’t be measured in terms of productive output and return in the physical world, should probably spend your energy and efforts elsewhere. Gotta keep up with the Jones’s.
That right there is how dreams are quashed. That is the idea we are brought up with – Western rationalism – and it’s why even as adults who get to make all the decisions for ourselves, we still reason away why diving into our need to create should stay far down the list of things to. It’s like this Tweet below:
That’s why I dissected what I do and crafted it into a simple step-by-step format: The Rabbit Hole.
Friend, it’s so important that you stay strongly connected to that creative impulse that courses through your veins, even if it’s hard to sense sometimes. But we always know, we always know when the need to learn more, explore more, DO more is tapping us on the shoulder asking for our attention.
Besides creating amazing stuff by diving down the Rabbit Hole there are tons of benefits to exploring creatively:
- Boosts mental wellbeing including positive outlook and social connectedness (even if you are one of those introvert sthat says “I don’t like people”)
- Arts/crafting is linked to dopamine release in the brain
- Reduction in nervousness, stress and anxiety
- The anticipation of satisfaction from the final result releases neurtransmitters that promote joy, wellbeing, and reduce stress hormones.
- Aids in mindfulness requiring our presence and attention
- Regulates emotions
- Better sleep
- Processing of greif
- When leaning into learning froa nd with others – increases social support and positive relationships
- Establishes new neural pathways and neuroplasticity in people with stroke and dementia… and in those without. GUYS! This grows and reshapes brains!
- You get super cool shit out of it in the end and people who don’t have the creative bone gush over what you’ve made… and those that don’t are sad sack limp sticks in mud. Can you say instant self-esteem boost?
- Depending on the craft or art, your body is moving to one degree or another and that’s great!
- For me personally… I stay outta the damn kitchen and snack less. 🙂 But more seriously, its because these acts are self-care and are tending to my inner world in ways even rainbow cookies and Cheetos can’t.
So while that’s all about arts and crafts, do you see how these benefits and satisfaction can be translated to all areas of life? Like actually making this your way of living in the world? Curious, exploring always, intellectual adventures, and as someone who interacts creatively with all of the world around them?
If that sounds like too big of a shift all at once, or waaaayyyy overstimulating (I completely get it), how about just start with the thing you and I both know is written on our DNA… making.
Again, if you don’t have the Rabbit Hole exercise, sign up at the bottom of this article below the PS part. I’m a PSer.
I hope you enjoyed my little book-binding photos above. I’m so stinkin’ happy about it and proud of me for it!
P.S. I go deeper with my students, but this pdf is at the center of it all. Hey, if you use this and have any questions, just comment below and let me hear it. This is one of my absolute favorite things to do myself and to witness people walk through and it’s my happy place to be able to help 🙂