People come to me for creativity coaching and say, "I should do more creative work. If I spent an hour a day making art, that would be great."
But creativity doesn't only have to happen when we sit down to write or paint. It can be part of every moment! Have you spent time with those people who seem to make magic out of every moment? People who invent a game out of jumping into their car, dance their way through the supermarket, belt out their favorite song at work, and create entire theater pieces with inanimate objects. Your creativity is a muscle, and it wants to be pumped! Try the following creativity exercises and incorporate them into your day to get your creative juice flowing.
turn your socks into sock puppets while you're getting dressed
think of a song you don't like, and write new lyrics that express the opposite sentiment of the song
write down all the excuses you make for not making your art in bullet points. in a second column, write what you did instead of making art. then, choose a silly accent, and read each of them aloud to yourself.
take one day and invent life stories for each stranger you see on the street
wear a unique piece of clothing that people will comment on, and then make up a different story for each of them about where it came from
For added synergy, fill your well with stories of others' art and life to inspire you even more.
"The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to
leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your
intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover
I just saw the brilliant video of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin from Saturday Night Life.Â First of all, Tina Fey was way hotter than Palin, and way funnier.Â Secondly, Tina would make a way-better about-to-be-president than Sarah.Â I read recently in an article from Naomi Wolf that several reputable dermatologists have said McCain currently has a virulent and life-threatening form of skin cancer.Â They say he's really only got two to four years to live.Â And if it's two years, that makes Sarah (Makes Me) Pale a very likely default US President.Â This is a woman who thinks baby Jesus cries when you wear a condom.Â A woman who tried to have books banned from a local library.Â A woman who's attended a church since she was 12, whose preacher even thinks George W. Bush is going to hell.Â (W. is too liberal for Palin???)Â A woman who is the next figurehead for Karl Rove and Dick Cheney's reign of terror.Â A woman who cut Alaska's funding for teen moms (and is anti-choice, and thinks abstinence should be the only sex education we give kids in schools.)Â What does she expect all these teen moms to go?Â Perhaps she could invite them to stay at her house, and have a slumber party with Bristol and her baby?Â And they could watch Saturday Night Live–oh, wait, maybe not such a good idea with Tina Fey in the picture.Â
Sometimes in my creativity coaching practice, my mind flashes to an image of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It is a pyramid that states what the basic necessities are for people to become self-actualized, i. e., to become our fully-expressed selves. Remembering to care for the foundation of one's pyramid, the first three levels, is pivotal to having the space needed for creativity. I believe that creativity can work inside every stage, but it's hard to
feel excited about cooking a creative meal when you're too tired to
I like to remind myself every day that I need to care for my basic needs so that I can feel free to create from a place of security and not from the place of fear that my needs won't be met. The base biological and physiological needs are: air (breathing!), water, food, shelter, sleep, sex, and warmth. The next level is safety: needs like protection, order, limits, money, and stability. After safety comes the need for belonging and love: affection, partnership, family, community, working with people.
The needs for esteem, meaning, beauty, self-fulfillment, and helping others toward self-fulfillment (transcendence) build upon all those. Covering these needs at each level is really an act of self-love. If you were to design your own personal hierarchy of needs, what would it include?
"Self love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting."
Do you find yourself repeating behaviors that sabotage your creative work or your enjoyment of life? Self-sabotage started as a coping mechanism that helped us get through something difficult when we were younger. When the situation we were protecting ourselves from chages, we no longer need that coping mechanism. But it can be difficult to see how to let it go.
Try this meditation:
sit with your back straight, feel your feet on the floor, close your eyes
take several deep breaths, sending your breath down through your feet and into the earth
when you feel held and supported by the earth, call the part of you who seems to "sabotage" your best efforts, imagine him or her standing in front of you
ask gently what their role has been in your life
thank them deeply for taking on that role, and let them know you're choosing to respond to stressors in a new way
give them a new job: perhaps they are now a witness or an observer for you
ask if there's anything else they'd like to tell you, and then send them home
notice if you sense any shift in your body, and allow whatever is occuring
take several deep breaths, feel yourself connected to the earth, slowly open your eyes
Integrating all parts of our being and overcoming self-sabotage is sometimes a slow, meandering process, sometimes it happens in an instant. Each of us unfolds in our own unique way, always moving toward freedom and openness, even when it seems the opposite is true. Be gentle with yourself in this unfolding.
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
Living a creative life, especially deciding to make a living from your art involves taking a giant leap of faith–of a very big cliff. It's easy to back off from the cliff when the inner critic starts to pipe up.
Often, artists say things like, "I'm not a very good business person." or "Don't worry if you don't see my show, who knows how good it'll be." or "Maybe I'm
just not ready to hit the big time." Us creative types tend to either downplay or oversell their creative work. Why? What makes us think our work is less valuable than the paving of a road, or the filing of a dental x-ray, or the programming of a computer?
Think of the most important moments in your life, those that were inspired, those that brought you to a new level of understanding about what life means to you. Was art part of that? Was it something you read in a book or a piece of music your heard? A film you saw? Each of the creators of those works pushed past the internal and external voices that said, "Don't bother."
Not all of us will make a living from the creative work that comes from the core expression of our being, but perhaps there could be more singing road pavers, dental x-ray painters, and authors who program computers. We can take the myriad of voices who find all the reasons to say "No" and transform them into voices who say, "You do your creative work, and I will support you by thinking logically, planning for the future, and helping you pack the parachute… if you insist on jumping off this cliff!" __
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence… Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
In my creativity coaching practice, I work with all kinds of performers. A client of mine just told me that she had quit performing for a year because of some unkind words from a booker. The booker's words had nothing to do with her performance; he was upset about something else. She knew that, but was so shocked by such treatment that she didn't return to the stage.
Guess what she did with that year: She spent it honing her craft. She recorded and watched herself performing over and over again, rehearsed every day, and created a rock-solid repertoire. (Insert montage sequence with the theme from Rocky here.) When she worked up the courage to return to the stage, she knew her talent and skill was unquestionable. And if a booker (or audience member, or anyone) ever speaks unkindly again, she'll know without a doubt that it's because they had a bad day. And more importantly, she's knows she's earned her self-esteem and her place on stage. I just saw her perform for the first time, and she's soulful, highly skilled, and beautifully in touch with her heart.
Her commitment to her goals in the face of fear inspires me.
"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."