Accessing our creativity in the busy world of today can be a challenge, even more so if you are dealing with an illness or major life transition that affects your quality of life. When that happens, basic requirements of living can be daunting. So, the idea of taking time out to explore creative pursuits can seem not just impossible, but ludicrous even to contemplate. Yet, doing just that can make all the difference.
As Meryl Cook was dealing with her cancer and treatment aftermath, she began to keep a journal alongside hooking rugs. That experience became the basis of her first book, One Loop at a Time. Now Cook has followed that book with a workbook where readers can take time to write about their own healing exploration.
The great thing about this workbook, though, is that Cook makes it easy to start the process. It’s a slim book, which means it’s not at all overwhelming. As Cook herself says, “My writing suggestions and homework are just that—suggestions. You are free to do them or just to think about them.”
That permission is freeing, because when you’re battling a horrible disease, monumental stress, or a cataclysmic transition, sitting down to write about it for hours on end can be counterproductive. But Cook’s creativity workbook shows you how to take it one loop at a time, and as we know from recent scientific studies, even a few minutes of calm mindfulness or reflection can do wonders for our mind and body. In fact, Meryl Cook was inspired to get journalling after taking a class that combined yoga and writing.
Woven into the fabric of both of Cook’s books are her gentle wisdom and mindful prompts for exploring creativity in the spirit of acceptance and self-kindness, something Cook first had to learn how to do for herself. When starting her rug-hooking project, “Let This Be Enough,” Cook realized that she had a tendency to push herself unduly and never really stopped to appreciate her accomplishments. So, that became a journal subject that she explored:
“Then I thought about how having or being feels. I sketched a series of ovals that gradually get larger and came up with the phrase ‘Let this be enough…Let what you’ve accomplished settle and travel out…See where it lands…like a beautiful pebble dropping and radiating out.’”
Inherent in Cook’s approach is recognition of the negative thoughts and then an immediate resolve to find a different way to view things. It’s not a Pollyanna approach, denying the reality of things. Rather, it’s a conscious decision to create a different reality, one that helps you get unstuck and into a place where you see that you have more choices than you previously were able to recognize.
This approach is key for anyone wanting to get unstuck and move into a better place. Using Meryl Cook’s framework in One Loop at a Time: The Creativity Workbook can help you gently shed what holds you back.
One Loop at a Time: The Creativity Workbook