Often when you talk to people about creativity, they put themselves in to either the camp of creative or the camp of “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”. While I could go on (and I am sure I will at a later date) about the fact that we are all creative and I can tell you why…I am not going to this time. I have something I want to say about creativity.
About my own creativity.
For many years now, I have been creating all sorts of cool things that I have enjoyed.
A t shirt company called Positive Threads with my co-creative Jay. We threw ourselves head first into creating inspiring t’s to send love out into the world with a message on each. One of inspiration and some of affirmation. That was maybe 5 years ago now. We sold them online, in shops and at the markets. We learnt SO much about the process of creating something that we love, not to mention business in general.
As our business reached that level where it required more investment to grow it to the next phase, both of us had to ask whether we wanted to invest more time and money in the creation.
With 6 kids between us, we needed to be really clear if that is that was the path we wanted to go down. Both of us knew that while we absolutely COULD do it, didn’t mean that that is what we truly WANTED to do.
So, we said NO to taking it to the next step and revisited what is was that we REALLY wanted to spend our time creating.
After we dissolved Pos Threads, I went on to study Life Coaching and more recently, Yoga Teacher Training. Both avenues geared to still helping folk, like in my old Registered Nursing days, but just in a different way.
Soon, Jay and I joined forces again and we created Soul Oxygen Retreats. A boutique style retreat designed to help mothers reconnect with their true selves. To step away from all the duties they take on and spend some time focussed on their own growth. We LOVE doing that, so we did more and next year we have more! Yay. We love that.
Anyway, what has all this go to do with creative blocks? Good question…trust me, I’ll get there…
If anyone has read any of my past blogs, you will know that I had a small issue of being pretty darn unwell physically for the first half of this year (I am much improved if you are interested 😉 )
This unwell-ness hit me at a time when I was planning great creative things. Great stuff to help and support others in their growth. Needless to say, when the illness struck, it left me kind of flailing. Trying to understand wtf what happening. I mean, REALLY happening.
I know enough about this life gig to know that life gives us what we need…not what we want…well, sometimes it gives us what we want (yes, settle down law of attractioners).
Life gave me a HUGE lesson and still is teaching me as I sit here now.
One of the lessons am still learning in the lesson of emotional avoidance. Or actually, more honestly, it isn’t actually a lesson about emotional avoidance it is an opportunity to explore the fact that I have been pretty emotionally evasive for a lot of my life.
This truth seems to be at the core of my physical illness. Holding on to A LOT of unprocessed emotion. Emotional expression that didn’t find it’s way to the surface, multiple times over multiple years. Locked down. repressed. Held tight.
What this way-finder has found is that when us humans have emotional experiences along the way that are not completely processed, it is like hitting the pause button on the expression. That pause button stays held until the body says, “enough…I can’t hold this anymore”.
I read a thing recently about a psychologist who stood in from to her class, held up a half filled glass of water and said to the class. “So class, is this glass half empty or half full”. Sniggering the class mumbled and giggled, rolled eyes and commented in all the expected ways. The teacher stood, arm stretched out with the glass in her hand, waiting for the response she was anticipating. The response didn’t come. Soon she started to grimace.
The class asked her if she was getting frustrated with them because they weren’t responding as she had expected.
The teacher took a deep breath and said, “It really doesn’t matter how much water is in the glass, it matters how long you hold it. It is causing me such pain right now”.
Imagine for a moment. Imagine that each time we felt pain, we actually acknowledged “ouch, this is pain”…and then put the glass down.
Imagine when someone says something and it hurts your feelings you say, “uh yowch, pain!” Imagine instead of going silent or pretending we weren’t affected and holding tight to the glass… we said, “whoa that really hurts”. What would that be like?
Me, I am someone that when I am hurt, you are unlikely to know it. Unless of course, you encounter me after I have stockpiled an amount of ouches and then you give me a wee jab and hit a thorn that was probably embedded many years ago…you may get a sense “mumma aint happy” then.
Phew…so, the creative thing?
Yes, the creative thing.
I have been blocked creatively this year. My writing. My ideas. My inspiration. BLOCKED.
Again, I am experienced enough to know (thanks to a LOT of Brene Brown stalking) that if we block one emotion we block ALL emotions. The filter is non-selective. Block pain = block joy. Block disappointment = blocked creativity.
Block stuff = blocked stuff.
I tried all my usual tricks to unblock, but couldn’t.
Even a heart surgeon cannot operate on her own heart, sometimes she needs support.
So, I thought I would seek some support. My support is in the way of mentors and therapists. Yes plural!
Turns out, my blocks are completely emotional. Unprocessed pain. Unprocessed emotion.
Sure, some may say, “if you go looking for stuff you will find it right”. and I would say, “Uh ha..yes you are likely to….but who knows what else you may find”.
I am finding stuff. Hidden stuff. Stuff that if I hadn’t have gone looking I wouldn’t have found.
I am finding more inspiration. More wisdom. More creativity….AND it is as uncomfortable as f#$k at times. But god damn it, I am worth it. I am worth the effort. I am worth being supported.
If I want to support others as they find their way (and by the way that is my life calling), I sure as shit need to be supported finding mine!
Yes, there is pain there, and right, who wants to feel that pain? I mean, the reason it is there is that I didn’t have the skills to process it at the time right? I mean, who shows us how to feel through the disappointment of divorce or the pain of abuse? If we aren’t shown, we just make shit up to survive. Thats what humans do!
The creative block thing…the solution for me…
Stop trying so hard. Stop freaking out that it won’t come back. Start asking questions.
Like, when the white pages arrives on your door step and you ask, “what am I supposed to do with this”, be prepared for the answer to come when you are laying on the acupuncturists table. Be prepared for the answer to be, “write to people in the book. You love to write, you love to give little notes of inspiration, so, use the book. Randomly select names and write to them”.
“Well, you love to write, you know how yum it feels to receive something in the mail that isn’t a freaking bill. Remember when we used to get mail all the time? Before the internet? I know right (clearly I am woman over 30…oh alright..40).
I started 2 days ago and I have had a flood of creative inspiration.
Removing the stuck energy of pain has opened up the flow of creativity to flow.
Who knows where it will go, but I trust that it is moving in the direction of love, and if that is true, only super cool learning can come. Pain or no pain, it is worth it!
Ahhhhh, the old saying, “this too shall pass” is really playing out as something I can say is true.
I am feeling the vibe again.
More honestly I am FEELING again. Full stop.
So my loves, this may or may not be an overly long an wordy blog as they can be and certainly usually are, but no matter…this one is for me…
Speak kindly to yourselves