There are many reasons that cause us not to engage in those pursuits that we know will ultimately bring us delight and gratification. How awesome is the feeling of dancing, singing, creating whatever and giving ourselves into soulful expression. We usually have our own personal distortions and blockages around creative endeavours. One of my distortions is that I feel I need to be creating for a purpose, rather than for the sheer joy of expression. I need to be doing something that is productive and useful, rather than exploring or creating for it's own sake. It's an underlying belief that I'm working to let go of. There are undoubtably a myriad of other reasons that hinder us...
Finding our blockages
I find that if I am feeling generally inspired and positive about life then it is easier to begin, so go for a nature walk or do some yoga or whatever it is that helps you to get in the space to begin (though be careful not to use this as another form of procrastination!). At other times you just need to begin something and five minutes later the creativity begins to flow. I find this with writing, I procrastinate big time and then once I start I don't want to stop. Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*uck speaks of the "Do Something" Principle. There is a generally held notion that inspiration leads to motivation which leads to action. Manson suggests that action isn't just the effect of motivation; it's also the cause of it. By doing something we can initiate motivation within us.
Mistakes are learning opportunities, every one who succeeded first took a big risk and probably failed many times. Madeline L'Engle was an american writer of children's fiction. She received 30 rejections of her book "A Wrinkle in Time" before it was accepted for publishing. (She then went on to publish many more books and become quite successful.) Here is what she says about this:
"Over the years I have worked out a philosophy of failure, which I find extraordinarily liberating. If I am not free to fail, I'm not free to take risks and everything in life that is worth doing involves a willingness to risk failure. This is what's true in all human relationships, unless I am willing to open myself to risk and to being hurt, then I'm closing myself off to love and friendship."
Are you willing to dare and risk? Are you willing to let your light shine? What else is there to do? What is the purpose of life?
Marianne Williamson suggests in A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles that our greatest fear is related to our light and success rather than a fear of failure.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Some questions to support you in your creativity:
- How important is it for you to express your creativity on a scale of 1-10?
- Ask yourself if not now, then when?
- Would it be helpful to have someone bear witness to your intention? I find that if I share my intention to create something with another person, that by saying it aloud and having someone else witness my commitment supports me in carrying it through.
- Is there a time of day that works best for you? For me it's in the morning, when I'm fresh and most awake. For you it might be at night when the house is quiet.
- How can you start now? If there is a way to do something related to your ideas - begin! It might not be exactly what you want to do, for example you might want to express your creativity through gardening, though don't have a garden, so work on a window box or another related project and see where that takes you...
- I often ask myself if today were my last day on earth, how would l like to spend it? This helps me to prioritize what is important right now.
- How do you feel when you write/paint/bake or whatever your creative thing is? What does it evoke in you? Would you like more of that in your life?
- What is stopping you? Do you have creative blocks or inhibiting beliefs that you need to explore and work with? Perhaps write down these inner critics and find out where they come from usually a parent, teacher or other significant figure from your childhood. Ask yourselves are these voices true and relevant to my life now.
- Find support - join a local or online artists group or create something that would work best for you with a friend or initiate a group. "The Artist's Way" is a book that has a 12 week step program. There are lots of other books and programs that offer advice on how to get those creative juices flowing.