Imagination is the primary trait that defines a person as a Creative, whether one’s creative expression is the form of the written word, music, dance, or visual arts.
The ability to see things beyond our immediate reality is the Creative’s unique ability, but imaginary things can be elusive at times.
Whether you create for a vocation or hobby, a time will come when the ability to generate anything new vanishes into thin air. The wellspring of artistic inspiration drying up is the universal fear of all artists whether they are a poet, a guitar player, or a painter of flowers.
Where does the creative flow go? And how do we get it back?
I’ve noticed my writer friends struggle with staying in the flow, as well. I am not alone in this battle. We accept resistance and blocks to be part of the process. I resigned myself to the belief that creative inspiration was beyond my will. I became accustomed to waiting for a manic wave to descend upon me. I played the role of victim to the beast of dormancy when days of staring at a blank page transitioned into weeks and sometimes, God forbid, months.
Patience is a virtue, I told myself.
Sometimes I filled the creative void with distractions, like watching reruns of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion show. My compulsion to curl up on my sofa with a fresh bag of microwaved popcorn would overcome me even when I knew the show would be on perpetual rerun status for the rest of eternity. I was transfixed with the bubble gum pink high heels. Then one day, on my fourth viewing of the same episode, the highly-glossed silicon lips of all the ladies started morphing together and I transcended the inanity of the back-and-forth bickering.
Divine inspiration struck me. Maybe I didn’t need to wait for a cosmic wave to magically come upon me. Maybe I could do some paddling of my own to put myself in position to catch a creative wave to surf upon. In a brief moment of a television commercial break between the backstabbing brawls, I asked myself a few empowering questions:
How can I break free from the reruns of reality TV?
How do I transition from a state of being transfixed on contrived chaos to creating my own imaginary world of words where my protagonist and my antagonist battle for relevancy on the page?
And in that moment, I broke free from the trance of grown women finger pointing with their pretty polished nails. I thought: What if I made it a daily practice to be creative? What if I abandoned the concept of being a pawn to forces greater than me?
Meditation has been part of my daily routine for years. I am a certified meditation instructor after all. Would it be possible to put myself in a creative flow meditative state every day?
The answer is yes. And here are the three essentials I identified to igniting my creative spark:
1. Commit to the practice of Creative Flow Meditation.
I dedicate a small amount of time each day—15 minutes is adequate.
The most important thing is to stick to the commitment of doing it. I ritualize the process by making it part of my daily routine. I allocate a quiet space (disruptions from the spouse, kids, dogs, the boss, or any electronic devices are not allowed). This is part of taking care of myself. By nurturing my creative spirit, I can better take care of others. Solitude is not required. A creative flow meditation practice can be a group activity, but all participants must agree to the no chatter rule during the defined time period. I stick to this practice even when my creative production lulls. The practice is one of training my spirit to being attuned to receiving and responding to the universe, regardless of the outcome.
2. The focus of the Creative Flow Meditation is to be in motion.
The intention is to be fluid and the focus is to be in motion. This process is external to any projects I may or may not be working on. Each day is a separate exercise unto itself. Thoughts will arise during the process—it is the nature of the mind to think after all. However, I do not give them any attention. I simply allow analytical, critical, or disruptive thoughts to pass through me. I enter every Creative Flow Meditation with a preset initial prompt to reset myself, if necessary. For example, as a writer I may use a writing prompt such as: “What I want you to know is…” The prompt I choose is irrelevant; the only important matter is that a prompt exists in my back pocket to trigger a fluid action in the event of a stall.
My only objective is stay in motion, to keep my pen moving across the page. No stopping. No pondering. No pontification.
3. Be open to the experience.
I let go of any expectations of results. This daily exercise is not a results-based process. I refrain from trying to create anything specific. I am kind to myself and my work, and I remove all aspects of self-judgment. I give myself permission to create imperfect things, freeing myself from rules and artistic guidelines. I allow myself to have a beginner’s mind, releasing inhibitions.
I have no obligation to anything that emerges. I might dispose of it or I might treasure it and keep it forever. That’s irrelevant as long as I remember to be kind to myself in the process. The value is not in the production, but rather in breaking free from my overly analytical mind.
The point and purpose of this Creative Flow Meditation is to be in the practice of shutting down conceptual thought and to open the floodgates of inherent creative intuitions. And like a traditional sitting meditation practice, the benefits to the practice occur outside of the meditation.
Divine inspiration may not come upon me in that dedicated time slot, but I guarantee you it comes at the exact moment in my life when it is suppose to come.
I trust the process.
Creative Flow Meditation is how I foster and grow seeds of creativity. This is where I discover the organic and raw parts of my being. This is where I practice being dynamic and being in tune with my emotional and intuitive aspects. This is how I transformed my reality for being a TV viewer to a story creator. I encourage you to create a practice of your own.
After the daily ritual, you are free to resume your regular activities. Regardless of how you choose to go about your day, I can almost guarantee you will experience it with more imagination. My protagonist and antagonist agree.
If you don’t Believe you are Creative, Read This.
Author: Becky Owens
Editor: Travis May / Assistant Editor: Ellie Cleary
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