More…evocative verbs, apparently, useful for getting out of the rut and piquing the reader’s interest — one of many heuristic (now that’s a good word!) processes I was taught at a recent workshop for writers.
Other techniques included deconstructing and rearranging ideas, words and sentences; experimenting with minuscule and gigantic stationery (every single person in that room had some form of stationery fetish, it turns out); and drawing Tarot cards to get unstuck.
It’s all to do with the mind; how to spark creativity.
If I may impart my major learning from this writers’ workshop, there are only two things to do with your mind, if you want to be creative:
a. use it.
b. lose it.
The process of thinking and writing in random and preposterous ways demonstrated very clearly to me how creative inspiration arrives more readily to a confounded mind.
Once you know how your mind works — how it filters information, forms associations and designs forms and narratives — you can use it to your advantage.
And when you’ve done enough of that, make sure to get out of it!
Confounding or dropping the habitual mind creates space. Silence.
It feels breathless. Suspended.
In that silence, we return to presence. Physical presence.
When we become present in our bodies, we are more attuned to our “feeling” state, our senses, our “beingness”, and the mind becomes more receptive to new perceptions and inspiration.
As the imagination kicks in, we experience feelings, pictures, as well as sound, smell and taste. Language comes later.
What happens if we don’t get out of the linguistic (and habitual) mind?
We tend to reproduce the same or similar patterns of thought and language — and also broader perceptions, expectations, behaviours and, ultimately, life experience.
So, what’s your choice?
Same old, same old?
Or let inspiration in?
If it’s same old, same old, you don’t need a coach…
If you want to let inspiration in, I suggest you:
a. get physical
Take breaks during your day and make a point of breathing more deeply, moving your body, shaking it out, making sounds, noticing what’s around you and engaging your senses vividly — especially valuable if you’re mostly sitting down and working hard mentally. You’ll feel refreshed, energised, and will be able to think more clearly and creatively. (You’ll also become more present to your emotions, and perhaps discover a deeper truth about yourself, your needs, wants, desires, what pains you and what gives you pleasure.)
There are many different types of meditation that will help you to stop the mental chatter and drop into your body. Mindfulness is one that’s become very popular and works well for most people. Tantric meditations employ breath, sound and movement, and there are many accessible and beneficial practices to choose from. As for the Taoists, well, they knew all about dropping the mind and being in the body; there’s even a special meditation practice that makes sure all your centres of intelligence — in your head, heart and belly — are balanced and aligned for optimal performance and well-being. It’s called “Three Minds in One”; it’s deceptively simple and works a treat for de-stressing, relaxing physically, feeling at peace, and enhancing creative thinking, discernment and decision-making.
c. de-stress, rest and play
Don’t let responsibilities weigh you down, or take yourself too seriously. It helps to have a sense of humour, especially when in a tight spot, and take opportunities to relax and unwind, so that stress doesn’t take a toll on you. Discover the activities, environments and people that nourish you. What lifts your spirits? When are you most joyful and playful? It’s crucial that your lifestyle allows enough rest (this includes good quality sleep) and play: you’ll be much happier, more productive, creative, attractive and have much more to offer, if you’re not stressed and burnt out.
d. be curious
Leo Burnett puts it succinctly: “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” It’s this curiosity, a learner’s mind that enables new perceptions to arise, and new experiences to be seeded in our consciousness. You can even make a game of asking yourself open-ended questions, for example, “if there was more for me to perceive / know / understand in this situation, what would come into my awareness?” and then stop thinking and listen. Listen deeply, becoming sensitive to the response of your body-intelligence, your heart and belly, and available for inspiration to enter your mind. You’ll be surprised how much more you become aware of. (Honestly, try it and tell me what you got!)
e. do something new each day
Routines can be helpful, when it comes to maintaining fitness or mastering a skill, for example, but they can also kill your passion for life and romance, your originality and creative spark. Repeating the same ways of thinking, feeling and behaving all the time gets you stuck. If you’re not as fulfilled as you’d like to be in your career, home, relationships, or any other area of life, it may be time to get more creative with your life choices. Do something differently each day. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just do something different. Listen to some new music. Have something new to eat. Rearrange things in your house. Take a different route to work. Travel to a new destination. Go out somewhere new and meet new people. Learn something new. When you make a point of doing something new and different regularly, you’re retraining your mind to look for the new and thus are setting yourself up for new experiences and possibilities. (Needless to say, I recommend choosing new activities that are more pleasant and advantageous than your current ones…)
Fear may strike. It appears anytime you are faced with the unknown.
The legendary Susan Jeffers was spot on: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Simply put, the fear response is natural and normal, and it will very likely show up when you’re breaking patterns and being more creative.
What you could do to overcome fear is:
a. get some perspective, examine the bigger picture (help is at hand, if you need it)
b. increase your motivation (compare the pros and cons of being stuck vs. being in flow)
c. break down bigger actions into smaller, more actionable steps
d. resource yourself, so you can take that first step in the new direction
e. be kind, compassionate and encouraging towards yourself, celebrate every sign of progress and keep at it!
You’ll be stretching your comfort zone — best done gradually.
Each time you do so, you’ll be building your confidence and reaping the rewards of a richer experience of yourself and of what life has to offer you.
Ultimately, to use Osho’s words:
“the experience of creativity is an entry into the mysterious. Technique, expertise and knowledge are just tools; the key is to abandon oneself to the energy that fuels the birth of all things.
This energy has no form or structure, yet all the structures come out of it. It makes no difference what particular form your creativity takes — it can be painting or singing, planting a garden or making a meal.
The important thing is to be open to what wants to be expressed through you.
Remember that we don’t possess our creations; they do not belong to us.
True creativity arises from a union with the divine, with the mystical and the unknowable. Then it is both a joy for the creator and a blessing to others.”
How do you find this Tantric perspective?
As with every teaching or philosophy, the real test is the extent to which we can embody it.
Private coaching sessions and group workshops help you gain insights and put in place the practices that enable you to do just that: embody the understanding; be the new man or woman you want to be.
Upcoming workshops, Soul Mate Connections for men and women, and Women’s only events help you to:
- drop deeper into your body
- listen to your heart
- connect with your feelings
- discover your authenticity
- open to inspiration
- allow more happiness and pleasure into your life
You’ll experience different styles of meditation and a variety of individual, partner and group exercises that enhance your ability to communicate, make new connections and cultivate confidence, positivity and self-esteem.
You’ll also increase your knowledge and gain practical tools to improve your well-being, career, relationships and overall quality of life — and will enjoy the benefits of being part of a growing community.
On Tuesday, 14th June, the Women’s Circle meeting features special guest, Samjhana Moon, sharing her wisdom on Menstruation, Inner Seasons and Being in Flow. Samjhana addresses common problems associated with hormones and menstruation and shows women how to get back in tune with natural cycles and navigate hormonal tides for a happier, more productive and pleasurable life. Read more and register.
On Tuesday, 21st June, the Women’s Circle meets again for a Summer Solstice Cacao Ceremony with special guest, Catherine Hale on the theme of Integrating Duality. When we move beyond polarization, we can experience a new kind of intimacy and begin to honour that which is beyond duality. This is the sacred dance of the Masculine and Feminine, God and Goddess. Read more and register.
On Saturday, 2nd July, we have a special Day of Soul Mate Connections with Ceremonial Cacao and Sound Bath, together with sound healer and Reiki master, San Lau. Ceremonial Cacao is a Medicine of the Heart, helping us to connect with and embody the joy in our hearts. A gentle healing journey balances the livelier music and dance part of this unique workshop experience. Read more and register.
Later this summer, Women are invited to join the Summer Retreat in Southern Spain, 20th – 26th July. A wonderful opportunity to de-stress, recharge and energise intentions: this is the retreat for women who are ready to shine, willing to step up, share their gifts and enjoy the fruits of their efforts in every area of life. Led by Elena Angel with Samjhana Moon, Sarah Rose Bright and Ma Antar Kiya. Read more and register.
Questions? Want to make a group booking? Or enquire about private coaching?
Contact me here, and let’s get started!