Tools for Fueling your Creative Fire

Creativity can be much like the tide with its ebbs and flows. This can be acceptable at times, yet frustrating at others. It can also be a challenge to know where to go at times with this flow. Here are some tools I’ve gathered along the way that you may find helpful in your own creative journey. Take what resonates and leave the rest.

Creative Life Coaches can be very helpful!

I highly recommend Sam at Coaching Creatively. We’ve been working together for 2 years now! In this time, she has helped me to develop my strengths as well as my perceived weaknesses. This has helped me to grow both as a person and as a writer; as a mother, too.

Sam is amazingly supportive. She teaches you how to unlock and access yourself and your own creativity. She also understands the process, as she herself is a poet. Sam walks-the-walk and for me that’s imperative; she gets it and she gets me (which is a rare thing for me to say).

The process Sam uses is unique. It is called co-creative coaching, which means she’s there and “in it” with you. Please check her out. She has a free 1/2 hour “trial” session to offer you. What is there to lose? (well, your fear for one… that beast can be greatly unhelpful with creativity).

Meditation. I know, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it!

When we meditate we can hone in and focus our energy. Meditation, contrary to popular belief, is NOT about silencing, stopping or killing the mind. The mind was made to think, much like the heart to beat or the lungs to breathe. Thinking is a sign of life. HOWEVER, just as we don’t pay attention to every breath nor heartbeat doesn’t mean we have to pay attention to every single thought we think….

Through regular meditation, and increased bouts during times of distress, I have seen both my intuition and creativity increase. A tool I absolutely love is the Insight Timer App. There are many free features including countless talks and meditations on a wide variety of topics. Furthermore, if you join, membership has the advantage of granting you access to all of the courses. Definitely worthwhile to check out whether you meditate or not.

READ! When I’m stuck with my writing, I pick up a book and read. Some recent reads that I HIGHLY recommend:

  • Anais Nin In Favor of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays. While Nin was born in the early 1900’s, I was surprised HOW much I resonated with her essays in this book (no, they’re not ALL about men). Years ago, I stopped writing erotica because I felt that it was not in alignment with my spiritual growth. After reading some of her essays, I now see that this was a grave mistake on my part. Nin has helped me to see that erotica allows us to explore beyond our present reality. I’m still in resistance here, chipping away at that old salt block piece-by-lovely-piece.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I missed the train on Eat, Pray, Love (maybe I’ll catch it one day), however, this book has been an absolute gem. Gilbert has SO many counterpoints to ALL of the areas where I have found myself getting trapped, and ones I didn’t even see as traps. Just about every page or two has a new idea or view, most of which I agree, some of which I do not. HOWEVER, in reading this book (and I’m 80% through it) I am approaching my writing and my life completely differently.
  • Debbie Ford The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. This book is about looking into our shadow aspects, which are not all “bad” aspects; as hearing the word shadow may imply. My analogy here is that seeds sprout in darkness, which is also where our creativity is borne. I have overcome SO many self-limiting beliefs with this book, and since I’m still using the tools I’ve learned, I’m still counting more unsupportive beliefs undone.

Your Creative Genius. So I just started reading Big Magic last week! However, I “fell in love” with Elizabeth Gilbert by seeing her TED talk several years ago called “Your elusive creative genius.” In this talk she discusses the early Western concept of the creative genius being outside of ourselves. This concept can really help to unload a great deal of pressure and greatly free our creativity.

Follow your curiosity. In this podcast, The Curiosity-Driven Life, Elizabeth Gilbert discusses here how not everyone has a set and specific purpose in life. This really spoke to me, as I am more like a hummingbird, flitting from flower-to-flower following my varying curiosities. This is compared to how Gilbert describes herself as a “jackhammer.” Though I will say, based on her body of work, that she has both qualities. While she knew she wanted to be a writer, her body of work is quite diverse.

CREATE! Sometimes, we just need to create for ourselves, and actually, I write more often to understand myself than anything. It is then that I sometimes feel called to share my discoveries.

I’ll also add that sometimes switching the creative medium can also help get the flow moving. Allow yourself to be imperfect and make mistakes as a painter if you are a writer, or vice versa. It’s not about the outcome as much as it is the process. PERFECTION and the need for it are self-sabotaging. I find the fastest way to kill my creativity is in “looking for something deep and meaningful” to say. Furthermore, I find I lose my audience when I dig too deeply with my memes on IG.

Be in Nature or drive. Some of my best ideas ‘come to me’ when I’m driving or hiking. I feel like I read somewhere that driving and being in nature activate the creative aspects of our brains.

Be willing to make mistakes. Again, this is the perfection thing rearing its ugly head. Instead, I often find “happy mistakes” often lead to greater creative genius. So much of creativity is really about allowing.

Understand your Enneagram. This can help you to understand your basic motivations, potential potholes and even ways to rise above it all to your highest potential (this is such an amazing system to understand). Most creatives (not all) are “hopeless romantic” Enneagram Fours. I will say that I resisted this initially. However, this podcast “May the Fours be with you” showed me that this is my grouping.

Move your body. Walk, stretch, bike, hike, dance, or just move differently. We get stuck in the same movement patterns, this leads to stagnation; which is anti-flow.

Change something. Drive to work differently. Get up at a different time. Maybe get up earlier to create while the energy is still fresh. Make a new creative space, or just rearrange the one you have.

I know there is a lot of material here. It can take some time to move through it all, again, take what resonates.

May we each find and use the tools that support us on our creative journeys. 

Namaste

 

When Feeling Stuck…

The past few months life has moved forward much like someone learning to drive a stick shift with a mixture of smooth sailing, lurching forward, stalling, bucking, and screeching halts. Work demands increased, and home life demands seemed to, as well. While I kept up fairly well with much of my self-care, more so than ever during a time of stress, I still felt like I was treading water or drowning more than not. Simply put, I felt stuck in this perpetual liminal or in-between space.

From this extended purgatory of sorts, I’ve learned some new perspectives that can help make the road less bumpy for you.

  • Self-care during this time is crucial. At times, I was resistant about some items yet open and consistent about others. I say, do what you can here. Choose your battles wisely; know who you’re fighting, too… and know that when life “hits the fan,” self-care is needed even more. (I like to use the NASCAR analogy here, that racing around means those cars get more care in 1 race than most of our cars receive in a year or more… maybe I could look up some stats about that one day.)
  • Embrace the slowdown. These transitory rest breaks allow us to rebuild our energy after the ending of one chapter. These spaces also make life seem less clear, and driving faster because we can’t see clearly doesn’t generally work out well for many, for long. I also believe that this slowdown is to allow for taking life differently.
  • Create or find a supportive mantra and use it. Simple ones like, “this too shall pass,” or “this is the breakdown before the breakthrough,” or “I’ve survived this, and more, before. I’ve got this!,” or “that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger/wiser, etc.” Find or create a supportive mantra that meets your needs.
  • Journal. Writing can be very helpful during this time to help gain perspective. Personally, I write some dark poetry during this time. It’s therapeutic to “poop” out the thoughts that are no longer needed.
  • Find a new perspective or analogy.
    • It is in this void, this space, where we also get to choose to live life differently.
    • This time is for clearing the path for the next adventure. I recently began to imagine my guides laying down new stepping stones… 

IT’S SO AMAZING when we choose to look at this “mysterious” (and scary) time less as an “undoing” and more as a “remodeling.” If we’re tired of our kitchen, we can choose to keep it just as it is. OR, we can choose to remodel it which involves breaking down the old. There will be some dust and mess, this is part of the process.

Remodeling also takes time. Yet it is in our desire for change that we accept that this is part of the process. We sure as hell don’t stop during this in-between kitchens phase. We know it will not do us ANY good. And we also know that something better is on it’s way so we “suck it up” and go about our day. Of course “we can’t wait” (but we also want it to be right, so we do).

SO! When we find that our path is suddenly not-so-clear, when we feel we are stuck and things seem completely confusing… IF we can begin to see this as part of the remodeling process, we learn to accept it for the “breakdown” that it is. You know, the one that precedes the breakthrough!

May we move with ever increasing grace through those confusing liminal spaces, knowing that while it all seems chaotic now, that a new path is being laid out for us to take. It’s our choice in how we take it: with grace or kicking and screaming all along the way. Mine is often with a mixture of both!

Namaste

Shifting Purpose & Writer’s Block

white cassette tape
Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

In a way, I feel as if this “head cleaning cassette tape” were something I had used on myself! And thus I have also “dated” myself… 

What does one write about when the purpose of writing has suddenly disappeared? This blog was born out of my desire desperate need to understand and share my process of self-discovery. It was as if I were an archaeologist who dreamt of Indiana Jones’ type adventures and yet found herself waist-deep in sh*t,  sifting through sand, muck and rubbish seeking the hidden treasures within.

YET, plot twist?! The main drive behind this was more to uncover the source of the deep foreboding sense that there was something terribly, horribly, indescribably wrong with me at my core. We’re talkin’ Apollo 1 type of ‘this ship won’t launch and kills everyone on board’ sense of messed up feeling at my very core. 

Looking back, I see where I did my absolute best during this process to focus on the light, to focus on the “lessons on the other side of the pain.” And some days it seemed the more I reached for the light, the more “the evasive darkness at the core” haunted me more.

Enter the Dragon: Enneagram 4
After delving into the Enneagram 4 personality, I had a profoundly freeing “EUREKA!” life-altering-180-degree-countenance-shifting moment where the pervasive and heavy feeling of my faulty core became but a speck instead of a burgeoning and endless well. For fours, it is part of our nature to have this sense of an “irredeemable deficiency.” Hearing other fours acknowledge this lead to my accepting this as “part of my condition,” and allowed the Dragon to do its quick-work to melt away the dross, eliminating the need to further excavate.

Rubicon Crossed: Check Mark… & now what?!
Now, I have magically crossed “The Rubicon” and, in a way, I’m experiencing an existential crisis with the blog! My purpose for writing for so long (even pre-blog) was to excavate and DIG. I’d become a digging beast-machine. Now, there is no more need to dig. So now I’m in a place of asking myself, WTF do I do now? The purpose for my writing is …. seemingly gone?!

Yes! There are still things to “work through” and “understand” and “accept,” yet they do not have the “fire” behind them. The best analogy I can think of at the moment is to imagine you have been blogging for nearly 5 years about your experiences of finding, dislodging, accepting and loving this damned annoying and evasive rock lodged in your shoe and then when you finally see the rock you immediately see it is gold, so now your reason for writing is …. effectively gone because your self-help crisis and blog were based on the rock in your shoe. So now what do you write about?! 

A different focus.
Well, I have been posting inspirational memes somewhat daily on Insta (unfilteredheart77). This has required more effort than I had expected, perhaps because of shifting streams and allowing of the memes to unfold. Effortless-effort, as some would call it, can take more time and patience than blogging about the process of “vomiting” my insides out…

Please bear with me as I get comfy in this new understanding; it’s quite nice, really. So MUCH angst is gone. It’s just a matter of getting used to the new so that I can write more again!

May we accept a greater level of peace with our journeys; appreciating more deeply where we find ourselves today.

Namaste

Writer’s Block: The Pursuit of Perfection


Words typically flow through my mind like a raging river. Recently, the flow stopped in a way it had never done before. I felt frozen, cold and isolated, as if in a shell. A shell, it turns out, I had imposed upon myself and reinforced.

Breathing through the stagnation, spending more time in meditation and “just writing” were not helping – my usual strategies. My frustration only grew; as did my tendency to catastrophize.

Usually I can walk away from writing if it’s not working. Now that I’ve stepped up my game and started writing a book, I’ve been putting more pressure on myself to produce.


I see how I was pushing against the very thing I desired. The more I pushed myself to write, the less I was able to produce. Much like trying to force yourself to go to sleep; it doesn’t work. Sleep, like creativity, just happens when we allow it to. 

In my pursuit of words, they just ran faster. I also see where I was blocking myself by wanting the words to flow perfectly. I froze and isolated myself with the pursuit of perfection.

Our faith is most tested in the darkness, when we cannot see the light.

Feeling stuck, I reached out to friends for help. I asked for them to see me writing in a warm, sunny and free way. Perhaps this was a lesson in surrender as much as it was in asking for help; something I am loathe to do.

The river’s flow has returned, but in a more subtle way. The words are there, but I must surrender further to hear them.

In taking a step back, I see where I do this in many areas of my life.  Pushing. Pulling. Pursuing perfection. Today, I am surrendering and trusting a little more deeply.

 

Namaste 

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