Over the years I have tried to use “the slab.” When we had outdoor parties, I would make a little sitting area out of “the slab.” Rarely did people sit there. I have put outdoor carpeting and chairs on “the slab.” But we still don’t hang out there. There are other places around the property that are more fun to hang out in… and more accessible.
For years, my effervescent and charming neighbor, Mrs. Ott has strongly encouraged me to do something with the slab. When she sees it from her house, she wants to look at more than just a hunk of concrete.
“Put some greenery or potted plants on there so that it doesn’t look so bare!”
I never did it.
Mostly because I was traveling and potted plants need regular watering and more care than I was able to give.
That was, until this summer when the pandemic persisted and I found myself off the road and very much at home.
I would stare at that slab and say to myself, “Mrs. Ott is right. I need to do something.” Now that I was not traveling, I had the time and the motivation to beautify the slab.
Mrs. Ott: Protecting our properties.
I set out to my local nursery to buy a few plants.
A few plants turned into 20 plants and three trips to the nursery. When the plants arrived, I had a delightful time repotting them and arranging them on the slab. It felt great to dig in that dirt and enjoy the process of making that slab look nice.
My mentor in graduate school, Dr. Ruth Noller, Professor Emeritus of Creative Studies and one of the first women computer programmers in the 19040’s, gave me this wonderful art piece over 40 years ago. It is in my office where I can see it every day.
The piece reads,
“In the becoming is everything.”
It features a small illustration of a butterfly atop its chrysalis.
“The becoming” to me means loving the process.
I am not the only person that is working on a slab.
Lumber yards are experiencing shortages because people are home and improving their houses. I have talked to some of these folks. They are having a great time fixing up their homes and being an active part of the process.
I have always said that we are all creative. We all create, each in different ways. Right now, is proof of that.
We just cannot NOT create.
I have used this example before. Recently, my 89-year-old mother, Ruth Firestien, has made dozens of face-masks and continues to make table runners, pot holders and infant blankets for hospitals.
Why does she do it? She’s 89! Certainly, she could take a rest from productivity. Does she do it for the money? No, she gives her work away.
She does this work because she loves the process. Just like I loved the process of writing my latest book Create in a Flash: A leader’s recipe for breakthrough innovation. And the same way I loved the process of making my slab beautiful.
So, what is your slab? What part of your life have you let sit dormant for years? Where is an opportunity for improvement where you can love the process?
Because in the becoming is everything.