Finding Our Inner Artist
June 10th, 2010
“Creativity is harnessing universality and making it flow through your eyes” Peter Koestenbaum
Many of us wish we were more creative. Some of us even sense that we are at some level but can’t seem to tap into our creative forces and realize our dreams. We want to write but are blocked. We want to paint but can’t visualize. We want to dance but don’t move. I think we have to stop telling ourselves it is too late to pursue our passions. Stop telling ourselves that dreams don’t matter and that we have to be pragmatic. Stop fearing what others will think of us. And stop telling ourselves that we are not creative.
I believe we all have it in us. All of us can be creative if given the chance to unleash it. I grew up in a very creative family, but I was always considered to be the scientific, athletic and pragmatic one. Maybe it all started with my dismal attempt at dance lessons. I’ll never forget the dread I felt as I dragged myself to ballet classes in my pink leotard. My sister was amazing, flowing across the floor with ease and grace. I, on the other hand, was stumbling across the floor with all the grace of an elephant in heat. It’s interesting how when you hear something enough you begin to believe it and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
Until very recently, I had just accepted that I was not a creative person. I think in my mind creativity was kind of “artsy” and I was never really “artsy”. Yet I always loved music. I played the drums for years and dabbled in the piano. I love to write. I would one day love to paint even if the only place suitable to hang the finished product is the closet. Sometimes we don’t pursue our creative urges because we don’t have enough time, or we don’t want to fail or we don’t want others to think we are crazy. None of those reasons are good ones. I think we just have to dive in and pursue our passions… but how?
Unleashing Your Creativity
How can we unleash our creativity? I think you first have to spend time thinking about it and developing it. I found it helpful to spend some time in solitude brainstorming about some of the things I would love to pursue. Things like writing, cooking, painting, and photography. Some of my initial ideas or creative thoughts were by no means great. But we must remember that there is no such thing as an excellent first draft. Usually our first ideas or inspirations are not exceptional. They must be incubated and nurtured. If you look through history many of the geniuses such as Leonardo da Vinci wrote lists of ideas that could be developed further. He was famous for his pages and pages of notebooks. Thomas Edison used to list out all the inventions he thought possible. Most creative people list their ideas and then pursue the ones they find most compelling. If we write a list of our inspirations and ideas it triggers our creative process. We often need a long list of thoughts or ideas to hit on one that is really compelling.
Just as I had, many people categorize themselves as not very creative. But all of us have the ability to be creative. We all have amazing creative potential. I recently read Julia Cameron’s impactful book Artists Way where she discusses very practical ways to unleash your creativity. I found these two techniques so helpful.
1) One exercise is to write something called The Morning Pages. She recommends waking up in the morning and picking up your journal and writing non-stop in what is called stream of conscious mode for 3 pages. You do not need to have any regard for whether or not this is grammatically correct or is even making sense. You can write the same thing over in different ways. Just follow the flow of your thoughts and keep the pen moving. There is no wrong way to do the morning pages. Nobody is allowed to read your morning pages but you. If you write about anger or negativity, that is fine because you are writing about what you need to process. All of this is standing between you and your creativity. Try to do the morning pages consistently for the next month. Do them right when you wake up and see the impact this simple practice will have on unleashing your creativity. I have to be honest my morning pages have become a morning page. Yet I still find if I do it consistently has a huge impact.
2) The second practice is something Julia calls The Artist’s Date. This is a block of time about 2 hours per week that you set aside to nurture your creative consciousness. This is time you spend with yourself in solitude and really listen to yourself and what resonates in your heart. Take a long country walk, a solo trip to the beach to watch the sunset, a visit to a great antique store or to an art gallery. Whatever you feel like really doing. This time with yourself will increase your capacity for great creative work and lead you to what your heart desires.
Creativity is often seen as a spiritual force. “There is a central will to create that is part of our human heritage and potential. Because creation is an act of faith and faith is a spiritual issue, so is creativity”. So go out and find something your heart desires to pursue. Unleash your inner artist and find your potential. I’ve realized that I don’t have to be “artsy” to be creative. That I do have an inner creative force and I will continue to do what is needed to uncover it. Creativity can manifest in many different ways. Unleashing it will enrich your life.
*Disclosure Policy* I purchased my own copy of this book and I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for this review. If you decide to purchase the book from Amazon using the above links I will receive a small commission.
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