I like computers. I like being able to connect with people far away—both old friends and those I’ve never met. I’m intrigued by the communities that can form online in ways they could not otherwise. I’m touched by the interactions that can occur. And I like my computer as an artistic tool. Without the design programs I use, I would not be able to create my work in a way that is useful to those I want to help. I love the vision it allows with just a few clicks, the ability to try this and that.
My computer may be a tool to forge connections and to create strong designs, but it is not the source of my connections or designs. For that, I must shut it off and turn to the world around me. . . and within me. The core of my passions does not lie in my computer; it lies in human connection, in using creativity to further the missions of those trying to do good in the world. I love what I do, but I do not love staring at a screen eight to ten hours a day. While I am able to maintain the awareness that the screen is a portal to human connection, that it is helping me forget the relationships I value, all is well. But when I’m bleary-eyed and brain-benumbed, the why turns into rote clicking. I forget that being human lies at the core of what I do.
So I shut it off and recharge, not by plugging my computer into an outlet but by turning back to the root of it all—the tangible connections in the physical world around me. I pick up a pen to write (how this post started), or pencils to draw, or I go for a run or turn toward friends or to the kitchen (the ultimate play-space for hands-on creativity, physical engagement, and soul-satisfying nourishment). Be it an inward or outward connection I seek, I turn anywhere where the world I am engaging with can be appreciated with all my senses.
With deadlines stacking up, the compulsion that I have to do a project and I have to do it now is strong. But I know the quality of the work will suffer. When my brain tells me to, what I have to do is shut off the computer and go breathe the Spring air. I have to fill myself with the life I aim to imbue into all my work, however rote or technical some of it can be at times. In marketing for local businesses as I do, people—neighbors—lie behind all of it.
So, forgive me if I disappear from time to time. It is not a display of carelessness or neglecting my business and its audience. Quite the opposite: I am off, filling myself with caring and putting my mission back at the center of my work.
It is Spring. We must celebrate the light while we have it (this is Maine, after all). May we let it in so that it may dance out of us in all that we do.