Creativity for the Rest of Us

Bakesale Betty, Take 2

A tragic thing happened last fall.  Bakesale Betty decided to close on Sundays – the day that I frequent Oakland.  I am heartbroken – as is my mother who, now in her eighties, has developed both a dislike for cooking and a hearty appetite for Betty’s chicken potpies.

As fortune would have it, I was in the neighborhood one Tuesday afternoon and managed to scoot in just before closing to snag some goodies for Mom and me.

Michael, Alison’s husband and creative co-conspirator in the enterprise, was there.  “Hey, Michael, what’s up with closing on Sundays?” I asked, ready to launch into my tale of woe about scone withdrawal.

Here’s the lowdown from Michael:  Betty has done so well that they opened a second store on Broadway. Between the two stores they were working all the time.  In addition to their business, what Alison and Michael really love is selling at the Farmer’s Market on the weekends and the fun they have there as a family with their two small kids.  So they decided to close the stores on Sunday.

As much as I miss my scones, I admire that decision. It says a lot about their values and the attitude of abundance and generosity that Bakesale Betty has become known for.  Most businesses would continue to rake in the dough (I couldn’t help myself) no matter what.  It is a courageous act to declare when you have enough, trust that it will continue, and take  time to do what you enjoy.

Many of us don’t know how to set limits.  We’re too burnt out from giving to everyone else – a job, friends, family members, community causes – to even know what we want.

Give from the overflow of the well, not the well itself.   – Angeles Arrien

Make your well being a priority.  The creative spirit thrives in a nourishing environment. It needs fresh air, time to breathe and ponder, time for fun and what gives you joy.  If you have to start with 5 minutes a day, do that.  Everyone can find 5 minutes.  Get started.

Michael now reports having all kinds of new creative ideas – which he didn’t have time for while he was so busy keeping up with a growing business.



Take a page from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and go on an artist date.  Schedule a date by yourself and go do something you like to do.  An exhibit, book reading, class, lecture, performance, anything that you’re interested in.  The point of this exercise is to do what you enjoy, at your own pace and in your own time.  You don’t even have to tell anyone else that you’re doing it.

3 Responses to “Bakesale Betty, Take 2”

  1. fireball says:

    In the process of doing what you love
    abundance is actually present. Sometimes
    we miss the moment of knowing abundance does run high in our lives. a moment to pause and notice, look around. If your really present you can feel the presence
    of something bigger then all of us that
    holds that abundance run through our body.It sure feels great!

  2. Steve says:

    Hey Mary,
    I totally agree with the need to take a break from time to time.. I’ve been totally innundated with work and getting my website up and running…. I’ve forgotten to stop and take a break!

    I call the artist date a “day of beauty”… a day when I can go out and discover beauty in all its forms. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Avril says:

    YES! I made a decision earlier this year not to take any more weekend jobs unless they were part of a multi-day process, and guess what? I’ve got plenty of work without those weekend gigs. In fact, I now have to think about what else I can pare back to give myself more breathing space. But tomorrow I’m taking myself on a date to our very fine Museum of Anthropology, and planning to take my sketchbook with me!

    Thanks, as ever, for your always timely musings, Mary!

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