Create or consume?

I think at the center of the person at the start of the day, there is a question: Do you create or consume?

Then moment for moment, task for task, thought for thought, movement of the hands for movement of the hands, that choice confronts me again: will I create or consume. Have you heard this podcast, have you seen this video, have you have you have you? It’s a call to consume.

Have you had this burger, have you driven this car, gone on this vacation, experienced this pleasure and that one and that one and that one? It’s a call to consume.

But the more you consume, the more hollow it begins to feel. I start to reflect, “What is my experience? Where am I? What am I doing?” The answer almost whispers back. “I am hollow. I am disappearing. I have disappeared.”

I pick up a guitar and make up a fragment of music. I ask my son a question and interact. My daughter. My wife. A stranger on the street. I smile. I interact. I create.

I set down a lyric or a post or a thought. I start again to feel alive, like matter filling up that hollow void again. Like a stream coming from the first rain to fill the dry creek bed again.

And yet, of course, many creative acts require a consumer on the other end in order to be meaningful. Or do they?

When I create a fragment of music, sure, a listener enriches the experience and extends it. But the act of creating is on its own a whole and inherently worthwhile output. It doesn’t need appreciation to exist. It needs only my setting it into motion. And I only need to take note of how it is moving from me into being. (And can it “be” on its own at that point, I do not know.)

The most important choice I make each day is this one. To act or to be acted upon. To move or to sit. To give or to take. To create or consume. Ironically, it’s not consuming that brings pleasure or joy. It’s creating. Consuming deadens the senses and hollows out the body until it is a shell.

The challenge for me is to remember, to push the distraction of consuming off to the side. To remember to move. To remember to act.

What about you? Are you more of a creative or a consumer?

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