Discipline for creative geniuses - 3 ways to stay in flow
Creativity does not perform on demand unless trained how to. Your expression is absolutely necessary - the world cannot wait for you to be ready. Here are 3 ways to stay in flow and keep creating.
Laptop open. Fingers poised, eyes staring blankly at the flashing cursor. My head starts to ache in a wide band from forehead to base of the skull. I close my eyes and rest my head back on the wall behind me. Blissful darkness soothes me, my mind is quiet and still. But then a niggling, fidgety feeling in my tummy and chest propels my eyelids to flick open and I muster a movement of fingers as if this might tempt an idea, a sentence - even a word, something...but nothing comes. N O T H I N G.
This is me attempting to type a blog "on demand" - like Netflix or Sky Movies but so much less entertaining and responsive. There are many moments when I feel inspired to write, however, the moment I comprehend that I MUST write, that is when it becomes impossible. Or at least, the thought occurs that it is impossible. I know it isn't.
Our creativity is the heartfelt expression of who we are, the story of us in this world. Telling it not only brings fulfilment but touches others in ways that we may never know. The ripples we initiate are bigger than we could imagine. What can ease the repetitive struggle belonging to all artists - of procrastination, blocks, the seemingly inevitable periods of fruitless endeavour? Here's 3 to begin with, more to come in Part 2.
1. Do it every day
A couple of years ago I decided I would write every day. My reasoning was that if I could think every day, breathe every day, eat every day etc then why not write? It comes naturally to me after all. So I did. I wrote every single day and I still do, even if it only one sentence (which it very rarely is, once I get started). For artists of other persuasions, I still propose that each small act of artistry, when committed every day, comprises an array of masterpieces, the point is not even that you are getting nearer to THE masterpiece - which is such an illusion anyway - they ARE ALL IT. So sit; take the brush, the pen, the clay, the instrument - in your hands and just do. Do what you do.
Do what you do for a set time and stick to it, every single day. There is no greater remedy for churlishness than consistency and no greater refinement to your art than practice. Believe me, I should know.
2. Attend to the body
Without doubt, physical blocks are intertwined with psychic blocks and vice versa. The mind and the body being two parts of the same system rely on each other to be fully present, healthy and switched on. A tired body or a body in need of physical sustenance or comfort of some kind is very much like a child who missed lunch and their nap - irritating, whiny, needs coaxing and still takes ten times longer to do anything. This is not to say that some astoundingly precious work may result from moments of physical crisis (usually as a result of emotional crisis) this is how some brilliant pieces are manifest, however it is not sustainable or preferable to always be in this state of emergency and thus it's a good idea to remember to eat fairly regularly, stay hydrated and take some air and sunshine frequently. We need this - it restores our equilibrium and soothes our brain in a way that cannot be overstated. It's amazing how many creative geniuses forget to eat - write it in your diary.
3. Wu Wei - effortless non-doing
The Taoists knew a thing or two about a thing or two. Wu Wei - one of their central concepts - is the epitome of work as play, primarily because our actions are effortlessly in alignment with the flow of life. When we stop struggling and fighting, we allow space for life to happen without the notion that we must somehow orchestrate the proceedings from start to finish. Losing this sense of responsibility leads to a deep, intrinsic relaxation from which we will often find a clear and simple path back to the source of who we are. In this place of knowing who we really are, creating is completely instinctual and suddenly we are back in flow.
Cultivating a method of coming back to this realization is key to keeping equilibrium amidst the storms and dramas of life as it happens. Whether it be Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong or another mind-body practice - mastering this is like turning on the tap of inventiveness, inspiration and genius and allowing it to flow out into the world, which is what everybody needs most of all.