Join this series of Creative Mindfulness exercises to help you explore why it can be so hard to create. Each lesson offers practical tools and big insights to chew on.
Read each lesson below and then follow along here as I share my own creative process and insights along the way....
This is part of a larger series check out the rest below...
Introduction: My process
A creative exercise is shared in the introductory lesson as a way of opening up our exploration to our creative practices.
What image, shape, line, colour, texture, or word would you use to symbolize your personal relationship to your creative practice?
A flower? A hammer? A squiggly line? The colour pink? Bumpy sand? A simple word?
What symbol fits for you? Trust your impulse and see if you can express this through your imagination rather than your words. Let this question ruminate in your mind for the next week and see if you can settle on something that you feel really characterizes your relationship to your creative practice…. Trust this process, you might just surprise yourself!
My own personal response to this question began as I walked through my home looking at various objects. Asking myself if they were connected to this question. I had a few fleeting thoughts or connections that didn’t stick. I looked up and saw a rock sitting on a shelf and thought “Yes, something heavy.” That was all I really knew at the start. A simple yes in my gut and an idea that felt right around weight. I went and grabbed this rock. Touched it, played around with it and decided that this was a good fit. I had some thoughts and imagery around its weight. Carrying and lifting rocks and boulders. I just let that sit in my mind waiting for the next part to the exercise…
Lesson 1: My Process
The next step as outlined in Lesson 1 is to imagine that the symbol you chose is actually a teacher here to help you see your thoughts around your creative practice more clearly.
What would this teacher say if it had a voice?
How is it connected to your thoughts?
The next step in our process is to take this object and pair it with some expressive writing.
Take a few moments and write a few lines of poetry or give this teacher a voice. Trust the process and simply follow the words that come to you. See what your teacher has to say. Don’t think, don’t worry about spelling, or how good the writing is, just write 4-6 lines.
As you write notice the thoughts that pop up. As you notice them see if you can create just a sliver of space between you and the thoughts. Making a decision to let some fall to the side and nurture others.
Look back at what you have written and underline 3-5 words that you think are most important.
Take these 3-5 words and in a new writing explore how these are connected to the thoughts that show up for you in your creative practice.
My creative practice is a rock.
Sometimes it feels heavy, ancient, made up of complexity that I can’t quite understand.
Each time I pick it up it feels like it has its own gravity, like it so big I don’t know how to handle it. So sometimes I put it down.
Or I just walk away. I am reluctant at times to hold it for too long. I am scared of its weight.
Sometimes I wish it was a pebble and not a rock.
Other times I like its weight. I like that it has so much to offer.
Something natural, beautiful, connected, bigger than me. That’s what keeps me coming back.
My Underlined words were: heavy, reluctant, connected.
My second piece of writing exploring how these underlined words are connected to my thoughts around my creative practice…
My thoughts are often that my creative practice is too heavy, too much weight that it’s too scary to just pop into and out of.
But I also have thoughts that my creative practice is something natural, connected, and nourishing that it comes from something bigger than me.
I think of it as a rock but sometimes I wish it was a pebble. I want it to be different. Feel lighter not so serious and weighty more playful.
Lesson 2: My Process
The next step in our process has two parts:
Think of a character from a film, book, or tv show that is beloved to you. Take a moment and recall or write out what this character’s journey is all about, or the wisdom that connects with you from their journey.
In a new journal entry take a moment and ask yourself what can this character’s journey teach me about my own creative practice and finding a new story about it?
My character is Maria Von Trapp from The Sound of Music. It’s funny because I love this film for reasons I haven’t explored before. I could have chosen others that maybe would have had more obvious wisdom but I went with my impulse and chose this film. The moment I thought about it I could see it very clearly. Maria is a serious soul who wants to do right, well, be good, faithful. She tries very hard to be all things with depth and weight. The harder she tries the further she moves from herself. Of course the great transformation for her comes when she surrenders her expectations her ideas around what is worthy and important and lets her self be swept away. Swept away in love to family and husband. Swept through song. Through her pure expression of self. Playful, open, joyful seemingly the opposite of the weight of the nunnery she wanted to belong to but in the end just as valued and important.
I can see lots of parallels here between myself and Maria. The desire for weight, the burden of weight. Not knowing how to fit into the molds. Not sure where the right venue for her expression is. Feeling a call to the mountains, to her expression, unable to not answer the call! Through the release of the weight she can finally become who she was meant to be. There is something about the song and the air the breath and movement that feels pure. She is no less, she is more.
Part 2 of the Process
We now want to make space for a new story to emerge. Grab a piece of art paper and your favorite colour mediums. You can choose to do this in a few different ways.
-Write out the 3 words that you found in your writing exercise last week and jot out a few ideas around how they connect to your old or new story on your art paper.
- Or take your writing from above with your fictional character and jot out a few of the key ideas on your art paper.
⁃ Layer on whatever colour, shapes, or lines feel right. It may be that a certain image or symbol has emerged for you that you want to depict. Trust your impulses and just add colour over your words.
⁃ Let your image dry. Take a pair of scissors and begin cutting the page into shapes. Again, trust your impulse. Is there a certain shape or line that feels right? Just keep cutting the paper until it feels complete.
⁃ Lay out your pieces and look at them. Are their pieces that you love or others that can be removed?
⁃ Take a few pieces that are calling to you, play with them and lay them out in a way that feels right noticing shape, line, colour and texture. Find an artful way to display the cut pieces.
⁃ As a close to this exercise (I promise this is where your insights will finally emerge!) take a piece of paper and begin writing “This space I have created is telling a new story about my creative practice by….. “
This space I have created is telling a new story about my creative practice by showing me that beauty comes through me, not because of me. I worry so much about what it all means and why I am making it but my expression happens like a breathe, a dance, a movement. Perhaps I need to see my creativity less as something to hold and manipulate and more of something to let move through me. Less mind more breathe. I can see growth, movement, balance and space. I can see beauty and softness all because I was open. I felt that my creative practice was heavy and rock, I thought the solution was just about breaking it down making it more of pebbles so it would feel lighter. But this little creation is saying something else. It is showing me that I can rest, let it just move through me in the directions I need. That a balance will emerge when I trust and play and open myself up. Today I will put down the rock and pick up air.