This is one of my personal favorite ways to think about creativity:
Creativity flows from a commitment to curiosity and learning.
I like this because it means creativity is unique to individual purpose and passion. It isn’t subject to the majority’s whims because it is entirely personal and purposeful. Even if the creative process is fleeting, like a simple sketch, if it aligns with nourishment for your curiosity and learning, it is creativity.
When I wrote my last email about how we are all artists, I was not just considering painting. The medium you choose means little. What is important is that you show up and express yourself. It is a gift to the world when we express our creativity because that exploration and expression is meant for someone, anyone who picks it up, interacts with it and is transformed by it, even if it’s for you. That person (you!) is waiting for you to express yourself.
I know it can make you feel vulnerable. It can feel like you are exposing who you are, not just your ability, but your heart. Engaging in a creative process, whether painting, writing, music, dancing or any entrepreneurial endeavor is the art of finding yourself and giving a little away in the hope to make the world better even if it is “just” your world. It is an act of faith. First, we create without guarantees and the blind hope it will be received with joy and gratitude. Then, because of our doubts, we need courage to continue making and perseverance when it doesn’t work out exactly as its planned.
In workshops, I’m consistently impressed by your vulnerability, courage and trust as I outline the process before you. Your leap of faith is magical. With a little nudge, support and the belief in you, you create. You do it not just to be able to say, “I did that!” Which is awesome. But also “I did it and it came entirely from me, from who I am.” Given the potential emotional consequences, it’s striking to me that we all still try to create. You show up. We are willing to risk rejection’s electric shock for an authentic journey towards trying something new and finding authentic self-expression. Its an adventure and a risk. This tells me that creativity and self-expression are powerful anchors of whole-hearted creative living.
I recently went to a Creative Reboot conference for artists in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I got to hang out and soak up the creative energy and vibe on of some of the most inspiring people; Julia Cameron, Flora Bowley, Sheri Rosenthal and meet even more creative and inspiring souls. It was a moving retreat that helped anchor ideas and rituals to keep my creative spirit alive and thriving in my studio and life. Of course, I want to share them with you.
Here are some the best rituals and takeaways from the experience:
Embrace the Artist’s Way. This is really three rolled into one but they are all attributable to Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way and as many as 40 books. She was an important speaker for me at Creative Reboot. Her book inspired me to paint almost 20 years ago and last year I took an Artist’s Way workshop through the Seattle Artist’s Way Center in Seattle which kept me creating through a challenging transition time. Again, Julia anchored the experience at the retreat for me and her formula for creative living is wonderfully simple. It goes like this:
- Practice Regular Morning Pages. In other words, journal every day, especially in the morning to get the junk and negativity out of your head and out of your creative callings way. I can’t tell you how many questions about creative blocks from the audience that she answered with, “Have you been writing your Morning Pages?”
- Take yourself on an Artist Date once a week. An Artist Date is a chance to be alone with your creative self and explore whatever your creative heart desires. Mine have included romps in bookstores, toy stores, art stores, speakers series, movies, nature walks and more. Any chance to be curious, explore, be grateful and in awe is a good Artist Date.
- Find your Believing Mirrors! This is not in her book but she mentioned them more than once. As soon as she described them, I knew exactly who they were in my life and they are critical, critical, critical. These people love, nurture and believe in you. They give you love, strength, clarity and purpose in life and creativity. They are your beautiful, soul affirming people in your life. Find the people in your life that are your Believing Mirrors. Here’s a lovely poem about friendship that I think outlines the sentiment perfectly by David Wythe.
Take it Bite by Bite. Seriously, you don’t have to be a genius all the time or ever to flex your creative muscles. Instead, focus on the small step you can take now to move you toward creative flow. That may mean just picking up a paint brush and painting, dancing a little, write a crappy poem. It doesn’t matter. Do something small to create and to get the creative momentum flowing in the direction of expression not repression. Don’t let repression win. Repression chokes all growth. That’s bad. A little progress is a lot better.
Don’t be Selfish. (Thanks to Sheri Rosenthal for this one.) Seriously, when you don’t express yourself, you aren’t sharing the best parts of you. These are the best most authentic and vulnerable parts of you and if you share them they can change your world. Yes, its scary to take the first step but the world needs you, show up for it, otherwise you’re just being selfish and leaving your awesomeness to yourself.
Meditate Every Day (or as often as you can). Meditation helps clear the mind of the negative forces that drive you to doubt. That doubt is what keeps you from starting, continuing, learning and just getting better. When you pay attention to your thoughts in the act of meditation, those thoughts begin to lose their control on you and suddenly your energy to create increases. I am just a baby when it comes to meditating, but after a lot initial resistance, it has become a cornerstone of my morning routine. Here are some resources I’ve used to help develop a practice:
- Stop, Breathe & Think app: https://www.stopbreathethink.com/
- Deepak Chopra: https://chopraananda.com/
- Live Awake https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/live-awake/id1030019034
Do it with your brain closed. Whatever your medium try to practice it without thinking. If you are painting or drawing close your eyes and paint for 5 minutes or as long as your favorite song. If you are writing, just write without thinking or assessing, keep the words flowing. The book Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is a great resource for helping you let go. If you are thinking about business ideas, make a list and don’t think about them, use words, images, drawings, colors etc . Just do it with your brain closed, don’t judge or assess or shut anything down. Let there be no boundaries. If you love music, try to improvise without a sheet of music and just see what happens. Or try this; just dance and who gives a rat’s A$$ what you look like. Let your mind go for a little and let the rest of you create without judgement. Notice and harness that feeling of letting your mind rest.
Make creativity a part of daily living. How can you make your daily life more creative? Maybe this means wearing your favorite creative t-shirt or outfit. Maybe cooking an extra fancy meal or buying flowers for your desk. Listening to art-making music while you do something mundane. Make a Spotify list for just this occasion. Do you have a favorite super hero? Put her or him near your workstation as a reminder. Dress up like him or her for Halloween too. Think about what helps frame your days from creative lens of abundance instead of the humdrum of daily living. Add them to the daily ingredients of your life.
In the end, I must return to my definition. Creativity flows from a commitment to curiosity and learning. Stay curious, keep learning and keep creativity flowing.
What I’m Reading
Reading is another source of inspiration and a ceaseless wellspring. Right now, I’m focusing on finishing this book: The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment by Adyashanti. It’s blowing my mind.
Did you get my free book?
There are many new people in this community and I want to make sure that you get a copy of my free e-book; The Art Ritual. It’s a little book of paintings, poems and writings. In it, I write and paint about the things that get me excited; motherhood, life, courage, expression, magic and more. Please check it out and tell me what you think.
You can download it here. https://marikareinke.com/receive-digital-copy-art-ritual/
Guess what? YOU are an Artist!
25% Discount for Artists!
All you artists get a 25% Discount at my Etsy Store. I’ve stocked it with new pendants and earrings and even a few in-stock prints. They are popular gifts that sell fast. Thank you for your support!
Use this link for your discount: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MarikasArtStudio?coupon=ALLMYARTISTS
(C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.
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