Over the past year, I’ve discovered the simple art of baking bread. The process of making freshly baked rosemary bread that’s been rising all day long, then topped with a dollop of butter and enjoyed around the dinner table has allowed me to see how life-giving it can be.
I’ve learned the basic skills needed to create a delicious, crusty loaf.
I see how it’s a forcefully unrushed process, as I wait hours in between rises for the dough to form.
I’ve learned that bread making requires some degree of forethought and planning, not a quick weeknight dinner addition but one that takes intentional planning at the start of the day.
I’ve experienced how the use of minimal ingredients plus a little bit of patience can create something so simple, yet so enjoyed by my family.
Be a Creator, not Just a Consumer
As humans, we were made to create. I’m not merely talking about artistic abilities such as being a professional painter, photographer, composer, or gourmet chef, but rather being able to instill some sort of beauty into the world (even as ordinary as baking bread).
Our modern world thrives on a stable economic system, there’s no denying that. And in order to live well we need to be consumers to have our needs and desires met (a place to live, cars to drive, food to eat, clothes to wear, as well as enjoying novelty in moderation).
But when we solely consume day after day, we raise the bar of expectations so that novelty and pleasures are enjoyed less and what once brought us enjoyment simply becomes the new minimum.
I believe we rob ourselves of a valuable gift when the answer to all of life’s problems involve us spending more and pushing past our financial and physical limits. The pleasures we get from consuming were never meant to fully satisfy us.
Creating and resisting being merely a consumer is a more challenging path, but it offers us rewards that go beyond what consuming can bring.
1. A more meaningful appreciation. Creating allows us to gain a renewed perspective for something because of the enjoyment that it brings to both ourselves and others around us. When we create something, we often take pride in it because of the passion that was put into it.
I always feel more appreciative for days when I take time to make a home-cooked meal, light candles for the table, and invite my family to sit and linger over conversation. It’s more meaningful than serving takeout on paper plates because of the time and commitment I placed into creating that experience.
2. An authentic expression of oneself. Creating allows us to express ourselves in an authentic way, displaying our desires and passions through our work. What I enjoy most about creating is that it’s not a forced process, but one that I do because of the satisfaction and connection that it brings.
I photograph my children to capture the childhood memories, and then enjoy creating a gallery wall that is the focal point of our living room.
I write blog posts to express my thoughts and share with others how I believe living intentionally can be done. It’s not a paid job that requires my hourly commitment, but a hobby that my husband and I truly love doing.
3. Relieves stress. Creating relieves stress by allowing a relaxing experience as you spend time doing something that is pleasurable. The process of creating allows your mind to be at ease, as pressure is released and your mind is free to focus less on burdens and difficulties.
One of the most relaxing ways for me to spend a summer afternoon is to work outside in my garden. I love creating a garden full of beautiful flowers to cut and display around the house. My kids enjoy popping freshly picked cherry tomatoes into their mouths. The satisfaction that digging in the dirt and arranging plants provides allows me to see this as an enjoyable experience, not one that is burdensome.
4. Continued Growth. Creating allows your passion to grow as creativity gives way to more pleasurable experiences. My passion for baking bread subsequently turned into me realizing how enjoyable it is to prepare nourishing meals that my family enjoys for dinner (okay, my husband enjoys them, my kids are still pretty picky!).
I’m not sure what other creative endeavors will result in the next several years, but when we create we open up doors for new possibilities of growth.
- Creating to bring purpose and pleasure
- Some meaningful ways that many of us create and elevate the ordinary in our daily lives include…
- Create rhythms of adventure, through spending time in nature or exploring the cities and towns around you.
- Create healthy habits that reduce stress and encourage persistence.
- Create a home-cooked dinner for your family to enjoy together.
- Create a family culture that aligns with what you value most.
- Create a way to express your thoughts, through journaling or writing a blog.
- Create a home that is warm and inviting to those who enter.
- Create deep relationships with those you love and meaningful friendships.
- Create a way to look back on your children’s years by making a family photo book.
- Create a well-rounded view of the world by reading widely.
- Create a physical reminder of the places you’ve visited by photographing them.
- Create an enjoyable day for your family by planning a few simple, fun events to look forward to (some of our favorites are a picnic at the playground or a bike ride to an ice cream shop).
Do What Makes you Come Alive
Like I mentioned earlier in this post, creating is a unique process, because we all value and enjoy different aspects of life.
I find the most pleasure from working in my garden to create a harvest of tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, and flowers. Or making my favorite comfort foods on a chilly day. Or creating a welcoming home for family and friends to gather. But creating may mean something entirely different to you.
Creating has no limits, boundaries, or rules. It’s a simple process of elevating the ordinary, and doing what makes you come alive.
It should not be burdensome, but rather an experience that allows you to have a deeper connection with life around you, just as the art of bread making has done for me.