Underneath the clamour and chatter of our busy world, in the very depths of your being exists your own inner stillness. Yet because the focus is so frequently on the externals, all that exists outside of the self, it can be easy to forget that this inner sanctuary can be accessed whenever you choose. Regularly retreating to nurture and nourish your inner world is key, in life and creativity.
Creative expression is not a process of the mind but a fusion of body, mind, and soul. If the body is tense, muscles tight and you stiff, it can be far harder to slip into that place where your creative expression flows uninhibited, liberated and free.
Equally, if you head is full of thoughts or spirit heavy and burdens too, to create and write with the fluidity you yearn for, attending to a few simple but powerful techniques as consistently as your own life allows can help your writing, art and everything else in this great adventure to be far lovelier too.
There are many other ways to rebalance your being and awaken your creative soul. Let this year be the year your creativity rises like a phoenix from the ashes with renewed vitality and joy, with you also ascending to greater creative heights and renewed passion too.
Returning to Centre
Beneath the thoughts of your mind, under any stresses, tension or imbalance, there lies a stillness and calm. Much like the great and turbulent ocean, though there are crashing waves and wildness, in its depths, the seabed is still. Returning to centre is about relocating this space of serene calm, no matter the weather on top.
Like a single drop in the ocean’s great expanse, a single moment of reconnection can bring a much-needed calm to your day, helping you relinquish a need to react or control circumstance. Accessing that inner silence and breathing with an empty mind is one of the finest practices of all to return to centre, find stillness and awareness too.
In order to create a metal shift, wherein you optimise your own connection to both yourself and your world, and in turn initiate the creative process with ease, try the following 5-step process to return you to centre and inspire creativity and calm.
Yoga Practice for Creativity
“There’s an incredible high that comes with being in the flow of artistic expression. Whether you’re an amateur photographer, professional filmmaker, summer knitter, or weekend woodworker, art-making can give you the feeling of being completely present, awake, and alive,” says writer and yoga instructor, Karen Macklin.
“And while yoga is often thought of as a tool to help us find ease in the body, quiet the mind, and get in touch with our true nature, it can also be a way of helping us tap—and mine—our creative selves.” If your mind is cluttered it’s naturally far harder to create.
Having a consistent yoga practice engages and connects your body, mind, spirit and soul, in a moving meditation and is one of the finest ways of all to rebalance your being. Pausing to stop in asana for even a minute can clear any resistance or creative blocks, frequently offering new inspiration too.
“Yoga gets the energy body moving, and the energy body is the source of creativity,” says Anne Cushman, yoga teacher and author of the novel Enlightenment for Idiots. When you loosen those muscles, stretch and breathe deeply into them, oxygenating your body and releasing tension, your writing can in turn feel supple, you mind and spirit too, entirely renewed.
“There’s a way in which asana breaks up the habitual patterns of thought that keep that sense of freshness and creativity constricted…. It’s as if writing is a crop I am trying to grow, and by doing asana, I open the irrigation gates and all of this water flows into the field. When I sit down to write, I am more available to myself and to that creative flow,” says Anne Cushman.
Everything is better after a session of yoga and much like writing and creativity, it is always dependant on where you are now in that you need to work with where you are, begin from where you are. Some days all you need is to sit in asana and be present; other days your practice [of both yoga and creative expression] can extend to hours.
You may enjoy these 7 Yoga Asanas for Writers and Artists or try 5 Yoga Poses to Boost Creativity | Yoga Sequence for Creativity. Many writers, neck and shoulder pain from spending too long at their desks can interrupt or distract from the creative process and yoga is truly amazing for lessening or even banishing those aches and pains. Try these 3 Poses for Neck and Shoulder Pain from Yoga International.
Liberate Creativity with Chi Kung and Tai Chi
From tai chi and chi kung, to hsing yi and pa kwa, the East offers exquisite practices for moving your body while calming your mind and healing your spirit. Creative souls can naturally become so drawn into their creative work that they do not move their body for hours.
Writers so frequently spend too long sat at their desks, artists in awkward positions to make their art. One sculpting artist friend I know routinely requires a “good pounding” as she says, simply from the odd positions she must maintain to sculpt her work. Staying still for too long or in unnatural positions isn’t good physically or mentally.
During tai chi, your mind can flow more creatively because you are relaxed and the internal chatter that thwarts and distracts you stills, bringing you creativity and calm. Through the graceful movements, your body becomes lose, in turn loosening your writing, enhancing your creativity and allowing you to also relax into the process.
To have your mind buzzing with inspiration and body energised and relaxed too, try this simple tai chi warm-up with Master Lam or this beautiful Kuan Yin Chi Kung Warm up with Anamarta. Learn more about the styles of tai chi in this video with the Barefoot Doctor or try his highly recommended Tai Chi Training Course here. For a seven-part free series of T’ai Chi videos by co-founder of Universal Healing Tao Kris North, click here.
Enhance Your Creativity [and Life] with Meditation
If your inner voice is being drowned by all the noise and events of the outside world it can be far more difficult to create. Creativity is not a process of the mind but a fusion of expression that comes from the body, mind, and soul and meditation the finest of all means to finding and enhancing that expression. It is vital for both you and creativity to cut off, turn inward and connect to your centre.
“Meditation and yoga grant us access to the deep places of our psyche and consciousness that inspire creative ideas to emerge, while simultaneously offering us tools to work with some of our biggest obstacles as artists. No matter what kind of art you call your own, your yoga practice can more fully connect you with your creative mind, body, and soul,” says writer and yoga instructor, Karen Macklin.
Nurturing and rebalancing every level of your being enhances your ability to create with more joy and ease. Even just five minutes of meditation can calm your internal chatter, reduce creative anxiety, and refresh your passion and creativity too. Meditation helps us to connect to the deepest part of ourselves, the very place from which all our creativity pours.
It’s one of the finest practices of all for staying creatively vibrant and inspired. Try the Hunsani Meditation before you sleep or this simple Five-Minute Meditation for Beginners. You may also enjoy: 7 Reasons to Meditate if You Write or Make Art.
Journalling: Put Your Pain on the Page
As writers and artists we depend on our ability to create for far more than just the love of it. It’s a vital and powerful purpose in our lives. So when the words don’t flow or we feel off-centre, unable to articulate on the page or translate our vision onto the canvas, it’s as of our very life itself takes on a less lovely hue.
Instead of turning inward and letting those feelings stir like rumbling thunder or sit, unmoving like the thickest winter fog, grace yourself with a gift and rebalance yourself by releasing any pent up emotions with the potent technique of journalling. You can do a stream of consciousness exercise and free-write, or simply release your thoughts. Putting your pain on the page is healing, nourishing.
“Each time we write, we are strengthening our connection to our creativity. The beauty of journaling is we write without expectation and allow what needs to come forward, come forward,” says Jackie Johansen. “We strengthen out ability to put our words together, to bring our thoughts to form. We become more solid in who we are and how we express ourselves. Writing helps us see our unique perspective, how we communicate with the world and it helps us bring our beautifully unique voices into the world.”
Start Where You Are
Lao Tsu (Laozi) famously said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. “All of it begins at the beginning, with the first small and scary step. Wherever you are is always the right place. There is never a need to fix anything, to hitch up the bootstraps of the soul and start at some higher place,” says Julia Cameron. “Start right where you are.”
Some see creativity as something bestowed on us by a capricious muse whose favour is required each time we feel stuck or uninspired but instead of considering it as something that exists outside ourselves, creativity is not a process of the mind but a fusion of expression that comes from the body, mind, and soul. Nurturing and rebalancing every level of your being enhances your ability to create and also ensures it becomes far easier.
For optimum creativity, nourishing your mind with beautiful novels, art, and exquisite poetry, your body with good food and mindful movement, and your spirit through meditation, yoga, or whichever practice you are drawn to that nourishes your spirit, this blissful combination puts you in a state where your expression becomes all the more natural, no matter whether you feel inspired or not.
Don’t be put off by those days where creativity seems far harder to coax out. Instead, vow to follow wherever your own adventure takes you. Some days every writer and artist feels a little stuck, other days it’s as if that metaphorical muse delivers a cornucopia of creativity. You can always begin anew, it’s one of the joys of the creative life. As Maya Angelou so aptly said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”