What if my friend Margaret hadn’t met Darden Smith at a party in Austin, TX? What if she hadn’t put us in touch with each other after 20+ years so we could discover our shared interest for helping people connect with their creativity?
What if I hadn’t traveled across the country to watch him write a song with Post 9/11 war veterans right at the time I was studying and writing about research into happiness, well-being, strengths, and the life saving importance of community?
And, what if I hadn’t taken the time to put my thoughts into paint on an old wooden panel several years before?
Many “what if’s” here!
We do things in our lives and often have no idea what they will lead to. When I painted Weapons of Mass Creativity, I had just begun to paint and was blown away by how much I loved it. It was around the same time that the Iraq War began. My imagination collaborated with my questions and pushed me to my paintbrushes.
There are so many different things we choose to do or not do in our lives. Often we choose not to do things because we just can’t justify them to ourselves. We can’t find a reason to do them. But what if we considered our inklings as sparks or seeds? Maybe they’d ignite positive change, or take root in a needed area?
What if we didn’t take chances?
What if Darden and I didn’t pay attention to the power of that songwriting session with a veteran? What if we didn’t step out of our comfort zone to create a program with more songwriters, more veterans and tools for building happiness and well being?
This would not have happened:
SongwritingWith:Soldiers — our program that uses collaborative songwriting to build creativity, connections and strengths — would not exist as it does today. All of the people who have been reached by this program, all of the songs that have emerged and the friendships forged, would not exist as they do today. Imagine how different so many lives would be, including ours!
We have had veterans tell us that “something shifted” after they wrote their song. They’ve said things like, “I never thought something so painful could be turned into something so beautiful that could help others.” Imagine what we might find if we study the effects of connecting through songwriting? Hmmm…
Take time to listen to your heart. Take time to “be creative” however that may look to you. Maybe it’s through songs, or paints, or food, or fabric or wood or plants or toys or…
See what follows your own “what if?”
You might be surprised by what you’re able to do for others while feeding your own soul.
Imagine! (And then go try it!)
© 2017 Mary Judd