Our culture does a very good job of pounding the living "creativity" out of us. Many of the forms of practicing our "creator" expressions such as art or music have been cut in schools. If you did have the opportunity to be in an art class, the D- on your paper collage project likely tattooed "complete creative failure" in your mind forever. In addition, we live in an overstimulated society with electronics buzzing us to the point where our own inspiration malfunctions when it is needed. We're constantly interrupted by texts, calls, Facebook, meetings, emails, etc. It's quite obvious why moments of insight or tangential thoughts that lead to a wave of inspiration have died or are blocked. Not to mention, there's somewhere else that you're always meant to be, something more important that you're meant to be doing... right?
The only reason I realized I had artistic skills was ironically due to my "go go go" desire at the time to get tons of AP college credit in high school. Even after I acknowledged my talent, I had years of unsupportive teachers and a culture saying you can't make money as an artist. I didn't buy into it... I knew it was possible. That is a belief of the past, and I am now fully supported by my art!
Due to my love and excitement for creating, I began teaching watercolor workshops where we fully let go of the mind and channel through whatever medium expresses how we feel and what inspires us. In the beginning, I had lots of people who said, "I don't know! I'm so NOT an artist. I encourage others to attend though." I was dumbstruck by this comment. As an artist I hadn't realized that others see themselves as having zero artistic talent and little desire to try, likely due to fear. That was it -- the real inspiration for the painting workshops turned into awakening people's inner artist or unblocking them in whatever their specific medium of expression is. Outside of the classroom and in everyday life, here are four things I've found helpful to get in the zone, be inspired, and remember that you're an artist!
It is completely pointless to sit down and force yourself to do something you don't want to do. That is your left brain making an appointment for your right brain, who has no concept of time, have tos, or deadlines. I'm not saying that you can delete that time slot on your calendar and go to the beach... or am I? We can't perceive or experience what we're closed off to or resisting (obviously), so if you feel blocked then you are. The key is opening the door to creativity by inviting in curiosity and doing things that awaken the energy of excitement to keep things open and flowing. You may be thinking, I don't have the luxury to do that. Here's your solution... When I was a campaign creator (at DBA Worldwide) with clients such as Disney and Warner Bros., weekly situations arose where we'd get a last-minute opportunity to create an enticing campaign and pitch it the next day! On many occasions I'd get into creative mode by doing something fun and exciting that aligned with whatever we were creating... I would go to the kids section at the bookstore or go for a bike ride. In company meetings I'd incorporate crayons, markers, or whiteboards for brainstorms because now you're having fun, and it's no longer "work!" On these "breaks" for inspiration be open to new ways ideas can appear: a person uniquely dressed, a phrase overheard in a conversation, or any extraneous occurrence that triggers a vein of creative gold. Flickr photo by Rennet Stowe
My most natural forms of creative expression are painting, creating ideas, and dancing. They flow through me whenever I need them. It's like the key to unlock any answer or to create anything is fully available. Writing this article has taken me weeks to get started "because writing isn't my forte," so what do I do? I know that if I start, write a few sentences, or get on paper the overall concept, that is all it takes. After that I can leave the computer and let it go... Then, when I least expect it -- when dreaming, driving, or taking a shower (going for a walk in this case) -- the next part will come like a flash of light, and inspiration will appear out of thin air. The important thing is to begin the triumph over the fear, and with a start can come a middle and an end. Diving into and utilizing the creative mediums that flow more easily can lead to more flow in the stuck areas. Free-form writing, painting, drawing (also known as doodling), singing, moving (exercising) or anything that will get you into a thoughtless space. If you can create in one area you can create in another. For those of you who don't believe you're even an artist at all, read on! Flickr photo by Joe Shlabotnik
We create everything in our realities. We create with each thought we have and each choice we make. Each little thing adds up to a huge reflection in our everyday lives. When you eat that extra dessert every night, or always show others appreciation, the results show up: You'll gain weight and have more friends. Whatever you give, create, or decide to be gets handed back to you in the same way (although other soul factors are involved: past lives, ancestral, etc.). The point is, you may not paint, sing, or dance, but you are creating. You are sculpting your reality. You decide if your place is messy or what you wear each day. You're creating your life, dear artist! The majority of the time my mind isn't as crystal clear as Buddha's, so I must recognize downward mental spirals. If we say we can't do something or "I am blocked," then that is absolutely true -- congratulations! Taking out negative programming is the solution. Here are some new incantations that can feed you in times of inspirational barrenness: "The idea will come to me...." "The inspiration will appear..." "I can do this..." "I am creative..." "I am the creator..." Another tip is to call upon a higher power or your soul for guidance and ask the question you desire the answer to. What do you want to know? Get clear with what you actually want to know or want assistance with. Taking time to meditate or journal helps to get us to a quiet state where we can hear messages and feel fully supported. Once we take responsibility and accept the fact that we're an artist painting the canvas of our lives, we can take our creative power and infinite possibilities into whichever form or expression we wish to use. When we're in our heads and in our ego nothing is possible, especially allowing creative juices to flow; they're as dry as the desert in the summer. We must therefore go into our right brains, our hearts, our highest expression and create from that place. When we hold ourselves in this type of high regard as a visionary, a brilliant writer, or advertising exec with the million-dollar idea, we return to our childlike self where we know everything is possible. Flickr photo by juliejordanscott
The childlike wonder, presence, and fascination of what's right in front of a child's face is the doorway adults can use to leave their minds (don't worry, it'll come back again) and go into a new realm of creativity. When we live in the past or the future we aren't whole! We need our whole selves in the present moment to create. Children are totally into whatever is right in front of their faces. When adults create they feel like they need to birth a new idea that's from another planet or on a totally new topic. The thing you know the best and that will lead to creativity is what's in front of your face. I'm in the heat of creative painting projects, so it wouldn't be helpful to write an article on dating. I must use the tools, insights, and presence right where I am. In a child's world everything is possible because they play with no judgement! Children say, "I can fly," "I'm a superhero," or "Anything is possible." This flexibility and possibility keeps ideas moldable and able to grow into a beautiful final product. They don't judge what the idea is or where it comes from, because who knows what it can grow into. "Dumb" ideas reframed as limitless possibilities can lead to brilliance. There is a reason we say out of the box -- have you ever heard of a good idea being created in the box? We must flexibly move out of our boxes, without judgement, and allow our creativity to do its thing and turn into something magical! Flickr photo by Pink Sherbet Photography
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