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Staying Creative Through Recovery

Two weeks ago I had reconstructive surgery on my leg after breaking my fibula in a skateboarding accident.

I realize this injury could've been much worse, but nonetheless the recovery has been a huge adjustment from my regular daily life. I wanted to take a little time and share what I am learning and how I am staying creative through this transition.

An Exercise in Patience and Adaptability

Over the past 2 weeks, 99% of my time has been spent on the couch or in bed with my leg elevated. Sounds thrilling right? 

Trying to see the light in the situation, this could mean more focused time to work on the things I care about, because I don't have the temptation to go outside and skate or meet up with friends. Instead could use this time to sketch new lettering pieces, update my site, write new blog posts, etc.

What I didn't predict is that it is hard to get anything done if you are not comfortable. Everything takes way longer than normal.

As you can imagine, this was very frustrating to discover. As my peers continue to crank out their projects like normal, I'm sitting here beating myself up for what I did to my leg, barely making any progress.

Putting pressure on yourself to perform when your body needs rest is a recipe for frustration.

After speaking with some friends, I realized that I was being way too hard on myself about the whole situation. It's called recovery for a reason, and instead of taking it easy I was trying so hard to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of it.

More intensity wasn't going to fix the problem. I needed to slow down.

There are two different kinds of time.

The Ancient Greeks believed there were two kinds of time: Chronological Time (Chronos) and Sacred Time (Kairos).
 

Chronos time is the clock ticking away, while we do all of our daily activities. It’s planning, working, busying, completing, etc. Often chronos time keeps us moving fast and busy so that we hardly notice what we are feeling. Functioning in this time around the clock often leads to injury, because we can’t really notice what is happening. We’re numb.
Kairos time is when we slow way down and start to notice what is actually happening inside and outside of ourselves. It is about paying attention, becoming more mindful and open to experience. If time heals, it is kairos time that heals, because we are in it with a fuller awareness, rather than being pulled away from ourselves by the ticking of the clock in chronos time.

Sometimes you have to slow down in order to speed up.

Over the past few days I have been embracing that kairos time, paying more attention to what my body needs right now, and spending more quality time with my family. Neglecting that and trying relentlessly to push everything forward at normal pace is just going to hurt me more in the long run.

So how am I staying positive and creative through all of this? Here are the top three things I am doing every day:

  • Journaling, writing 3 things I am grateful for each morning and night.
  • Designing healthy new routines that include activities such as stretching, deep breathing and meditation.
  • Setting small, attainable daily targets and leaving plenty of margin in my schedule for rest.

You can see that the first two bullets don't seem to have anything to do with the actual creative work. That's because I believe getting in a good headspace will enable the creativity to flow.

I hope this article was interesting and helpful for your own situation. I'd love to hear how you are adjusting if you are going through a transition in your own life. Feel free to reach out at eric@efdotstudio.com.

Eric Friedensohn