Many times people believe they need blocks of time to create, a cottage, a servant, a veranda in Bali, or maybe just a peeling garret in France. But as someone who runs a business, speaks, travels, coaches, and seems to have more demands than hours in the day, I can’t have my creative life be separate from ordinary life. I can’t wait for the ideal circumstances to generate content for my email newsletters, blogs, books, or products. I can’t wait for the fields of time, cheese and wine. So how do you create sanctuary for your creative self in the middle of chaos? How do you create a portal? How do you turn on the tap when maybe you’re tapped out or life is pulling you in too many directions?
Here’s 3 Quick Suggestions to Expand Time and Creative Flow:
- Create a Dedicated Practice
I don’t like the word discipline because my creative self bolts from the room when she hears that word. She may even throw paint at the walls on her way out to a spree. But practice is devotion. It’s showing up. It’s being in the room. It’s tending the fire, or at least being in the room where there’s a fireplace. Commitment goes beyond preference or mood or hormonal chemistry. Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way recommends “morning pages,” 3 pages of stream of consciousness writing. Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones, teaches “Freewriting,” stream of consciousness writing in focused 15 minute increments. Zen meditation practices have you follow your breath or repeat a mantra. I go to a yoga class on Wednesday nights whether or not I have a lot of work unfinished or I’m in the mood to stretch into a warrior pose. I get into the room. I’m at the bus stop waiting for the magic bus. I don’t know the schedule of the magic bus, when it might come. But I’m there. I’m available. I’m going to catch that ride.
- Apply Kindness: Bring In Da Honey!
You will use your time wisely if you approach it with self-love and mercy. The inner critic loves to show up on this dance floor and call the shots. You will expand your time, if you’re not wasting it– worrying about wasting it. If you are listening to kindness, you can’t be listening to cruelty and urgency. If you are listening to encouragement, you can’t be ravaged and discouraged. If you are listening to praise, you will be rejuvenated. Praise will make you relax and relaxation is the secret to creativity. I’ve never been creatively flush, while anxious. When my blood constricts, so do my ideas and insights. Kindness allows me to try new things, start over, write bad stuff, trust myself, and sing myself a buoying song. It makes things possible. Kindness won’t make you weak. Kindness will make you strong. If you’re encouraged, you will show up. If you’re discouraged, you may overeat, drink, complain, and walk out of the room. Kindness is sticky glue.
- Be Present: Wipe the Past and The Future Off Your Shoes Before Entering
Your dedication to your art or self-inquiry or business venture is a meditation practice. It’s a chance to experience the transcendent. There are a thousand secret doorways in every moment. You will only see the door handle when you stop talking about everything you have to do, what you should have said, and what you could have done. I think of being present as traipsing down a long white hallway, where I block out all thoughts about the future or past. I invite myself into the kingdom of innocence. I can start all over here. I can meet myself again. I can meet myself today. I can do all things. All things are possible when I’m present. All things are an experiment. All things are yet to be discovered. There are no mistakes. There are no deadlines. There are no potholes or trap doors. Everything is new. Everything is waiting for my current relationship to it to be established. When I give my mind and heart this break from life, this “do-over,” I find it leads to new capacities within me. There is something about the restiveness of being free from the past and future that allows my mind to penetrate the problem, object, observation, experience before me with new eyes, full eyes, true eyes. There is something about being present that unscrews the lid. When you’re in love, the same room lights up and you see all the secrets and promise. When we are present, we’re in love.
Try it out. Take these 3 tools for a spin. Don’t worry about doing it perfectly. Just do anything. You can accomplish so much more than you dreamed possible in just small segments. Your big dreams deserve small steps. And those small steps will lead you to enormous intrinsic dedication. Just get your feet wet. Or else, I suppose, you could get a garret.
I’m excited for you! I’d love to know your thoughts or questions or experience.