Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Creative Happiness (without sugar)

I know, it's absolutely unrealistic to be doing this, but I stopped eating sugar.


After years of refined sugar as a staple food in my diet, I've spent two weeks without it. Including Easter candy. Really.

Today I could really use one of the leftover Bit O' Honeys or Milk Maid caramels, though. The best would be Brach's Royals. Those caramels with the little flavor-fillings? I *love* them. LOVE them. Raspberry or butter rum or vanilla. If it weren't for this ridiculous resolve, I'd probably eat a whole pound of them as I type this. Brach's Royals can be ingested almost like breathing.

Instead, I'm getting started on a new writing project. Editing of the old ball and chain (that's how I always feel about the novel that's finished and still needs polishing, polishing I rarely complete) remains, but I'm ready to get that fun energy of writing something brand new.

There's a certain buzz that comes from creative pursuit. A verve that gets added to my life. I get it when I cook something delicious, or if I figure out how to arrange flowers, or paint something (furniture, I mean. I'm not ready for actual painting yet. My kids are too small for me to have a painting hobby just yet.) Anything that brightens or brings something into being that wasn't there before gives me that lift, that rush.

Here's an excerpt from a talk given in 2008 by Dieter F. Uchtdorf along those lines. It fits how I feel about writing, even if I'm not writing something that will change the world. It changes and brightens my own, and hopefully brings a sweetness (if only brief to someone else.) I find this talk so inspiring.

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.

Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.

You might say, “I’m not the creative type. When I sing, I’m always half a tone above or below the note. I cannot draw a line without a ruler. And the only practical use for my homemade bread is as a paperweight or as a doorstop.”

If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.

But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy.4 Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.

If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.

You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us.5 The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.

What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.

If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it.

Nearly a century and a half ago, President Brigham Young spoke to the Saints of his day. “There is a great work for the Saints to do,” he said. “Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ.”

The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.


  1. When I was at BYU Women's Conference last week helping with the sharing station there - this is the talk that kept going through my head. I looked around at the other 49 stations and thought - WOMEN CREATE. It's what we do. It's our destiny. :)

  2. Love this post. I can't believe you haven't had sugar for two whole weeks! You're a strong woman!
    I love this talk too. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  3. Thanks, Whitney & Sherral. You are two of the creative women I admire so much! Actually you should contact each other...common passion of knitting!


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