Feeling stuck? Get your creativity back in flow
There was a time in my life when I believed I was the least creative person alive- I didn’t paint, sing, sew, or write, and I considered myself a dry, boring scientist. Amazingly enough, I was churning out new ideas for my research almost every day like an idea-vending-machine, and yet, I didn’t count that as creativity. You know why? Because I was comparing myself to others- to people around me who were artistic and musical and all the things I wasn’t.
One day I woke up to a simple yet brilliant realisation- I am creative by default, because ALL living creatures are creative! We create circumstances, conversations, relationships, visions, meals, objects, art, music.. each moment of our lives is creative. And there’s basically only two sources of our creativity- love or fear, which are like seeds that carry all the information needed to generate an outcome. When we create out of love for ourselves or others, the seed of love spreads joy, contentment, and harmony. When we create out of fear, attachment, guilt, or shame, we spread seeds of misery and conflict. So it’s not what we create that’s important, it’s the seed of our creation that we need to be particularly attentive to.
After having these realisations, I’ve discovered two magic tools to get myself unstuck in moments when my creativity gets blocked.
When facing dilemmas, I use magic tool # 1- the “seed identity tool”. I ask myself, which choice has a seed of love, and which the seed of fear? I know this is abstract, so let me give you a simple example you may be able to relate to. Having just moved to India from Germany, I needed to find an efficient way to get paid into my Indian bank account by my German clients. While one payment system was easy to set up and use, it was expensive. So I started to look for less expensive options and landed on one that seemed ideal. However, a few weeks into using it, I realised that I wasn’t feeling valued by this company- they didn’t answer my email inquiries, their agent was rude to me on the phone, and trying to get paid through them was a major sink of my time. I was feeling stuck- I couldn’t find an inexpensive, reliable way to get paid in India, and this was badly affecting my mood and my business.
That’s when I started applying my “seed identity tool” and asking myself- where was I acting out of the seed of fear and what would be the corresponding seed of love? I realised that my voice of fear was saying: “Make as much money as possible, because you really need all the money you can get in this time of transition”. My corresponding voice of love was saying something quite different: “You’ve got more than enough money at the moment. Concentrate your energy on the work you love to do- write, coach, hold workshops, find a beautiful and peaceful place where you can live and work, and more money will follow organically”. So simple! By listening to my voice of love, I wasn’t stuck after all- I had already found the ideal payment system- it was expensive (no longer inducing fear in me) yet efficient (helping me focus on the work I love). Voila!
Another situation in which I tend to feel stuck is when I need to get something done- like write an article or design a workshop – but I’m simply not getting the ideas or motivation to move forward. Here’s where I apply my magic tool #2, which I like to call the “active procrastination tool”. I stop trying to do the task I’m feeling stuck in, start getting creative doing something that I am in the mood for, while bringing my attention occasionally to the task I feel stuck in. Sounds complicated? Let me give you another example to help you out. If I need to prepare for a workshop but am not getting good ideas, I let go of the workshop and start cooking an elaborate lunch. While thoroughly enjoying the cooking, and getting into a pleasurable flow, I ask myself every once in a while- how could what I’m doing right now relate to my workshop? Oh, I’m chopping Cilantro…hmmmm…fresh and fragrant- yes, I need something to make my workshop fresh and fragrant. What could that be? Oh, perhaps I need to do an outdoor exercise where people could pay attention to smell to activate their senses. Not a bad idea! And so I continue until my mind is brimming with ideas for my workshop.
I’ve realised that creativity is like a network of pipes connected to many faucets. You simply need to turn on the faucet in one aspect of your life and all others will get into flow. And you need to pay close attention to blockages created out of fear, for which the simplest solution is love. By using these two simple tools to shift your mindset, I bet you’ll be able to get unstuck in even the stickiest of blockages and dilemmas.
p.s. the photograph is of Sharmila-di, doing what she loves most: cooking for others and being in loving service. She is a constant inspiration to me.