Compassion and Creativity

October 2, 2008 | 15 comments
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Most everyone I’ve talked to loved President Uchtdorf’s talk at the General Relief Society Broadcast. But I have a question (and yes, men, this is for you, too—since I assume that as a son of God, you also get joy in following the Father’s example of creation and compassion):

While I definitely get joy from both creation and compassion, I tend to extremes. How do I balance creation and compassion?

Sometimes I discover I am thoroughly “losing” myself in compassionate service (typically in service to my family, but it could be church service or community service–it’s happened with those as well). The self that I “find” when I’m completely “lost” in service is not a very happy self: she’s grumpy, sleep-deprived, and worn out. I’ve wondered for years why losing oneself in service doesn’t bring more joy. And, while I recognize that I may be doing it all wrong, it seems to me that President Uchtdorff provided the answer: compassion and creativity are both needed if one is to lead a joyful life.

The problem is that when I start in on a creative endeavor, I get caught up in the other extreme. I love what I’m doing so much that I tend to forget all about service, compassion, cleaning, dinner, carpools, the kids, etc. You get the picture.

So, no deep philosophizing from me today–I just need some good, old fashioned advice. How do I find the happy equilibrium between both compassion and creativity? (or at least remember to pick up carpool?)

15 Responses to Compassion and Creativity

  1. Matt W. on October 2, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    I struggle with this as well. An example is this weekend. My options are stay home and play with my children and listen to conference or drive to Galveston and help people chop up trees and be a “mormon helping hand”. Plus I’ve done 9-10 hour days at work for a month or so, so all I want to do is sleep.

    I used to think if I just got more organized I could squeeze it all in, but the fact is, that evenutally something has to give, before you get so worn out that you don’t want to be creative or compassionate.

    Organization does help though. I am to the point in my career and family(2 girls, 1 and 5) where if I don’t schedule time to be creative in a personal sense, It won’t happen.

  2. Ray on October 2, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    How about focusing on creative compassion and kill both stones with one bird – as a student of mine used to say? (I can’t help you the carpool.)

  3. Kylie Turley on October 2, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Nice idea, Ray. Maybe I could do compassionate creativity? Does blogging count?

  4. Ray on October 2, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Works for me. It’s certainly a handy justification for the time I spend in the Bloggernacle. *grin*

  5. Kristine on October 2, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Ray has inadvertently hit on a possibility in his parenthetical–if we stop using prepositions like “with,” think how much time we’d save, and all of the creative things we could do with that time!!

    (Sorry, Ray, just teasing :))

  6. Ray on October 2, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Kristine, that mind, the best intentions, I agree you – only minimal reservations. It’s too easy mess people’s minds – glee.

  7. nita on October 3, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Ray, I like your term of Creative Compassion!! What a catchy phrase. So when will you make the bumper stickers??

  8. nita on October 3, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Ray, I like your term of Creative Compassion!! What a catchy phrase. So when will you make the bumper stickers??

  9. Kylie Turley on October 3, 2008 at 10:56 am

    I like the bumper sticker idea. But I’m wondering just what creative compassion or compassionate creativity means. What do I *do* to get two birds with one stone? Write (creative endeavor) with more compassion and less sarcasm? (darn–because I’m so good with ironic wit). Or get creative about my compassionate service?

  10. Rachel on October 3, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Re. #2: Ray, who was your former student? Our high council speaker used the same accidental phrase on Sunday.

  11. Gerald Smith on October 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    I think it requires two things:

    First, planning/scheduling time for both.

    Second, Sharpening the saw (as Stephen Covey puts it). Without developing new skills, knowledge and talents, we are limited in the amount of creating and service we can give.

    For example, someone who has learned to sew can create clothing, quilts, etc. Someone who knows how to use a chainsaw can go to disaster areas and cut trees out of yards. But each of these requires time to develop the skills and abilities to create and serve with compassion.

  12. Angie on October 3, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Possibly the answer is found in the name of this blog?

  13. Lora on October 4, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    It seems to me that these might even mean the near same thing. When you provide a safe ride for your riders, is this not compassion? And just because we can’t be in two places at once does not mean we should divide ourselves emotionally between them anyway- how compassionate are we being to ourselves when we don’t back up our own choices with a grand and loyal following? As for creativity, I think we might have limited understanding of what the word can mean. Have you ever told your children a story of their family? That was compassionate and creative. And if you can tell it again and again, you might have to be more compassionate and more creative each time.
    Do I have practical advice? Practice some deep breathing and be in the moment you are given. Be where you are, and with who you are with.
    I hope that helps.

  14. Kylie Turley on October 4, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks Lora. Breathing in. Breathing out. And signing out to go hang with my husband.

  15. Rand on October 5, 2008 at 12:02 am

    Great question. Do what Christ did, serve faith, not lacks, wants, needs or fears. It seemed to work for him.