What does it mean to live “creatively?” Often, we imagine the stereotypical “starving artist” -- an eccentric character who lives in a dark, dingy apartment where they drink excessively and create madly, as though possessed by some sort of artistic yet masochistic spirit. We imagine that this person has forsaken healthy relationships, stable income, and longevity of life in order to create their art, and we view them as a (potentially famous and flashy) slave of their talent. However, creativity does not at all need to look like that. Before you can build a creative life for yourself you must first accept that:
You might be wondering, “Okay, but why should I engage in a creative practice? What’s the point if it won’t be my career, win me fame, bring me a fortune? What’s the point in me doing this activity, if 392,083 people are already doing it - probably more proficiently than I can, anyway?”
My response: creativity feels good, and that goodness seeps into every other aspect of your life.
My response: Creativity empowers you; it pushes you in new ways and allows you to take risks, think of new ideas, and partake in that juicy feeling of inspiration.
My response: why not?
In order to create in a consistent and nourishing manner, I ask you to do the following:
Take a moment to close your eyes. Deepen your breath, and slow your mind. I want you to now think back to the last time you felt truly light and engaged and excited and alive. Maybe you even felt a sensation of wonder or inspiration -- goosebumps rising on your flesh. What activity were you doing?
Were you dancing? Painting? Building a cabinet, or tending to a garden? Maybe you were hiking or ice skating or riding a bike or baking a new recipe or even singing in the shower for heaven’s sake! Whatever it was, give yourself a moment to imagine that you are once again in that space, engaging in that activity. Notice how your body feels - how your breath feels - as you dwell on the experience. Maybe you even allow a small smile to creep onto your face.
It feels good, right?
Now I want to you think of how often you actually do that activity. Maybe you’re thinking, “Heck, I do that daily! I prioritize it in my life and often allow myself a chance to relish in that experience!” and if that is the case - fabulous. You can stop reading this article and go do your thing.
But maybe you’re realizing that you do it once a month.. Or even once a year.. Or maybe you haven’t had a consistent practice of this activity since you were a child or maybe you have only ever done this activity once in your whole life. And if that’s the case, read my next two steps for ideas on how to get back to that pursuit and spend more time immersed in that beautiful feeling.
Anything creative comes with fear. That’s just a fact. We worry how well we’ll do or how original we’ll be or what others will think of us. In the Western world, we also tend to carry some guilt about pursuing things that aren’t overtly “productive” or “logical”. Basically, any way you slice the pie, you will see fear is an ingredient. All we can then do is accept that.
In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert poses a fabulous metaphor: she describes creative endeavors as roadtrips where she, creativity, and fear are all in the car and along for the ride. While she grants fear a seat, she does not let it control the temperature or the music or hold the map, and she definitely does not let fear behind the steering wheel.
This is the agreement we must arrive at in order to create. We must know that fear will always be there, but that we don’t need to let it do anything other than observe. For example, you might love dance, but feel self conscious about your coordination. You can still feel self-conscious, but don’t let that fear keep you from going out and dancing. Step onto the dance floor anyway. Only once you’ve realized that fear will always be there can you choose to do the thing anyway. And you might be surprised to find just how empowering it can be to make that choice. As the adage goes, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the assessment that something else is more important than that fear.”
Like anything that you want to become a habit, you must be disciplined in your practice. Work this creative pursuit into your life anyway you can. If it is a small thing - meditating for example - make it a part of your daily routine. If it is bigger - fishing for example - then make it a weekly task for yourself.
Write it into your planner, schedule an alarm in your phone, join a group / class dedicated to the activity, tell anyone who will listen so they can hold you accountable -- do whatever you have to in order to make a routine of this activity. Only by practicing regularly will you gain all the benefits of a creative endeavor.
And finally: create for the sake of creating. Do not worry about the project or result; do not carry an expectation of any certain outcome. Create simply because it feels so good to create. Create because you like who you are while creating. Create because to not create would be to not live as vibrantly.
Create, because you can.
Brooke is a contributing author for Tada Rugs. Tada Rugs is a 5x7 yoga mat disguised as an artistic area rug that you never have to put away. Tada is short for tadasana, or mountain pose, and our own backyard in the San Juan Mountains of Durango, Colorado is where we find our inspiration. Check out our new designs, enter for a chance to win a new Tada Rug, and be sure to follow us for deals and insider specials! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, or contact us through our website! Tie a room together and bring your practice home.
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