Monday, March 11, 2013

Creating With Limits: Part Two


I blogged a few days ago about how awesome self-imposed limits can be when it comes to creativity.  So what happens when the limits aren't self-imposed?  It's one thing to choose to work with 1" square pieces of paper; it's another thing entirely to be forced to work with 1" squares because it's all we've got.

The limit can be money, or time, or space, or materials.   No money to buy any good brushes.  Only ten minutes a day to make stuff.  My "studio" is a folding table my bedroom. Can't find the shade of blue I always use.



Last year, to deal with chronic health problems, I was given some limits regarding what I could eat:

No gluten.
No grains - yeah, no corn, no oats.
No dairy.
No soy.
No processed sugar and minimal natural sugars.
No legumes, no beans, no peanuts.
No oils from processed grains or grasses - canola, safflower, out.
Minimal alcohol and caffeine.


What did that leave?

Nuts and seeds.
Fruits and vegetables.
Oils from fruits and nuts (olive oil, coconut oil)
Lean, unprocessed meat.
Eggs.
Spices.
Water.
Herbal tea.

Oh yeah.  I put up a fuss.  And then . . . something shifted.

It started to be fun.  I was exploring books on eating Paleo, searching grain-free recipes on line, finding ways to eat more vegetables, adapting recipes, using my food processor like a madwoman, discovering new Portland restaurants with me-friendly menus . . . in short, I took on cooking and eating as a creative challenge.


Most of my creative energy last year went into learning how to cook - and eat - all over again. And yeah, my health is better now.  I still have chronic challenges with fatigue, but the symptoms are way more manageable now and I've identified and cut out a lot of the things that triggered the problems in the first place.  Generally, I've even been able to stick with it.

I don't share this because I'm looking for dietary solutions and health fixes (there are plenty of other folks blogging about that!).  

I share this story because it proved to me that it really is possible to re-frame the limits not as excuses, but as questions, questions that lead to creative thinking.  The limits - whether they're self-imposed or thrust upon us by necessity - can serve as a starting point rather than a stop sign.





Consider any of the limits that keep you from creating or making art - how might you change those limits into a question that challenges your creativity instead?

5 comments:

Marrianna said...

I, too, had to switch to Paleo for my health. It is the only way I could change my poor eating habits. While I wasn't having a lot of physical problems, I was definitely having a lot of inflammation in my system which was putting me at a high risk for heart disease. It was difficult to cut out the sugar. I don't drink alcohol but have a love/hate affair with sugar. It's been 6 weeks, again, since I had processed sugar. I only stay with this because I actually feel better and am more willing to also exercise.

I punched some 1-3/8" squares and glued them on one page in my newest visual journal. That's as far as I got.

My limit for 2013 has been to use what I have and give away the excess and only purchase the essentials. So far, it's been good.

Keep up the great creative eating and limits.

Sarah said...

I started just over a month ago with the same limits as you on food, minus eggs. I too have become quite creative with my meals and am on a quest to make a cracker! :) Curious - is this a permanent diet for you or are you slowing introducing foods on the 'no no' list to see how you react? I can't wait for the day where I can go to dinner with the BF and have more than a salad or steak!

Bridget B. said...

Hello, Sarah and Marrianna - It seems like a lot of folks are needing to change their diets - My friend Jen Neitzel (http://www.jenneitzel.com/) has been doing some great blogging about her dietary changes!

This will most likely be a permanent diet for me. I've been doing it for a year now, and can really see a difference. I've introduced a few no-no's back in moderation but I'm also starting now to notice issues when I have a high quantity of eggs, fruits, and almonds, so those will probably hit the chopping block soon! The bottom line is that refined sugar and gluten are just bad for my body.

Territoons said...

I like your blog. I just stumbled upon it when I was looking to create myself some upholders for our new (used) motorhome. I LOVE your attitude about creativity, and about diet!
I consider myself a creative person. However, my husband and I took on a 4 year old foster child, who is/was a HUGE behavior problem. He was kciked out of 5 foster homes in as many months due to behavioral issues. The he found us :). we are in our 10th month and he is getting to the point of being so "normal" (and cute and sweet and fun and imaginative) that I am feeling a little less EXHAUSTED from the 24/7 keeping him in line that was my life. Now I can occasionally get 15 minutes to myself to have a creative thought here and there. I was so surprised to realize that I STOPPED being creative when I STARTED being exhausted.
Anyhow, having a moment on the computer, and finding your blog, has been great for me this Sunday morning. So THANKS! I hope to continue to follow your blog if I can figure out how this matchbook site works.

Territoons said...

I like your blog. I just stumbled upon it when I was looking to create myself some upholders for our new (used) motorhome. I LOVE your attitude about creativity, and about diet!
I consider myself a creative person. However, my husband and I took on a 4 year old foster child, who is/was a HUGE behavior problem. He was kciked out of 5 foster homes in as many months due to behavioral issues. The he found us :). we are in our 10th month and he is getting to the point of being so "normal" (and cute and sweet and fun and imaginative) that I am feeling a little less EXHAUSTED from the 24/7 keeping him in line that was my life. Now I can occasionally get 15 minutes to myself to have a creative thought here and there. I was so surprised to realize that I STOPPED being creative when I STARTED being exhausted.
Anyhow, having a moment on the computer, and finding your blog, has been great for me this Sunday morning. So THANKS! I hope to continue to follow your blog if I can figure out how this matchbook site works.

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