We get stuck. We may feel overwhelmed or exhausted. We can’t see how to pay off this mounting debt. How to expand our company that has hit a wall. How to bond with our children that seem off the wall. How to amend past mistakes or heal past wounds. Most importantly how to find peace in the daily grind we flippantly call “a life”.
Even those rays of sunshine out there full of life, optimism and joyfulness hit a wall on occasion. So what’s the difference between the person who occasionally feels defeated and, at the other extreme, someone who is full of depression and gripped with constant fear the ‘other shoe will drop off’?
Is it not one feels free and one feels trapped?
Creativity is the escape. Creativity allows us to consider the impossible. To have courage we didn’t know we had. To stretch beyond limits we thought were unreasonable. We may resist. We may pout. We may shout “I can’t do this”. Yet if we hang in there we will be stretched into a faster, stronger more powerful version of ourself. Many give up and that is why it feels like Chinese torture. They stretch a bit, give up, get stretched a bit and give up. So it’s a slow and painful process that over time they may resist so severely that stretching leads to breaking. Then we may feel we are “broken” or “damaged”. This is all based on our own decision; even if we don’t think so.
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” – Sophia Loren.
Forbes recently published an article on this topic “Top 10 Reasons we struggle with creativity”. The article highlights the modern challenges we face. The top five reasons summarized are…
1. Our brain is too taxed because we are neurologically spent looking to protect ourselves against the next assault. 2. We think we lack sufficient time. 3. We also lack confidence.
“The thing to remember is that confidence compounds with time, and most people give up before they start earning a return on their investment.”
4. We get stuck in the past and our inner saboteur comes out. 5. We ask ‘why, what for, how come’ instead of relaxing into the creative flow. So in short we are control freaks!
So what is the solution to all this interference? In a follow up article “Respect the Creative Process; Wake Up and Let Yourself Rest” Forbe’s sums it up succulently.
“To better understand the creative process means listening to an internal rhythm that is not driven by the clock. It involves learning to simply ‘be’ instead of constantly having to ‘do’ and truly coming to know the innate value of this.”
What does that look like? Here are some tips.
1. Learn to quiet the mind so it’s not so taxed. Consciously say “I am safe. The only attack is my mind upon itself. Let me focus on a solution instead of preparing for war against a perceived attack that does not exist.”
2. Program your brain to believe there is plenty of time. My friends want to know how I have time to do laundry! A load a day, my laundry is always done and to other parents this seems like nothing short of a superwoman accomplishment. First thing, even before coffee when I wake up, I throw in a load. Last thing before bed I fold a load. The kids 5, 7, and 8 put their own stuff away. It’s a 5 – 7 minute daily routine. This is how the dishes stay washed, the toys are picked up, the bills are paid on time, the to do list gets done. These are all things we do as a family so they are not irritants on our brain with should do, need to do, want to do, have to do all taxing the creative brain. We can learn to be so we have more energy to do, when we do, then we have more time to be. It’s an upward spiral.
3. We give up before we break through. Bikram says “Your arms hurt, your feet hurt, your hair hurt, good for you keep going.” Don’t quit before the breakthrough! If you quit, lose focus, avoid, check out or bury your head in the sand then all you do is multiply your internal insecurities that you are not good enough. Give it your all. You may fail. Failure is an important life lesson to embrace. Each failure brings you closer to success.
There was a creative writer that people would not hire as an immigrant. Weeks passed by and Walter was unemployed, and was struggling to survive on his latest wage. Walter was unemployed and depressed. Walter Disney kept going.
4. This requires simple self talk. That so happened in 1st grade Larina, you are 41, and so what if it happens again, you got through it then and you will get through it now. Put yourself out there. Who cares what others think. They will make up a ‘story’ anyway regardless of what you do or do not do. Age helps with this! The more I age, the more I think about what makes my heart sing. Life starts to seem shorter when you are half way through it! It’s really none of our business what others think of us and most of “them” we worry about are too self absorbed and stressed out over their own problems anyway. The one’s who are happy didn’t get that way by being judgmental asses so “them” is really a group of critics you probably don’t need in your life.
5. And my all time favorite – Relax…. For a control freak like me this continues to be my challenge. I’m still wound pretty tightly, but have softened a great deal thanks to my beautiful children. Before you needed a crow bar, pliers and a hammer to get this Cancerian crab to let go of anything. It could be a limiting behavior I grabbed onto; absolutely nothing worth fighting for and fight to the end I would. So now the question is “how important is this really?”Another is “is that really true?” If I let go of this will my life really change or is that just fear talking?