Cultivating Creative Flow
Last year, I participated in a wonderful online art community and art course called ’52 Paintings’ run by the gorgeous Faith Evans Sills and Mati-Rose over in the US. This year I am involved in a second year with this gorgeous group called ‘Painting the Sacred Within’. Last year, Faith invited me to write a post to share with our group about a practice that I do in the middle of the day to cultivate creative flow in my work. I’d love to share that article with you guys too, I hope you enjoy!
On most days, about an hour after lunch, I find myself yawning and lacking energy, can you relate? I could put it down to having two young children, my habit of rising early, perhaps even my need to quit sugar. My need for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up is always there.
I have been a meditator for many years now, on and off, and I’ve long been sold on the benefits of having a regular practice. For me that regular time is in the morning, before the household rises, I sit and connect in, with myself, with the divine, with nature. It’s the most brilliant way to start the day and feels me with beautiful energy.
So when I realised that my body and my sprit needed an energy injections around the mid-afternoon, I sought a way of going about it that would meet two needs – my need for body rest, and my need to pep up my spirit. I instinctively developed the following practice which helps me to both rest AND cultivate the feeling and attitude that I want to bring to my work after my little rest.
First I lay down on my bed or on the window seat in my studio. I plug in my earphones to my iPhone and listen to one of my favourite pieces of relaxation or meditation music ( my current favourite is the “I am Wishes Fulfilled Mediation Music which you can buy on iTunes here)
Then I go about allowing myself to feel the feelings that I most want to feel every day. The quality of these feelings is really beautiful and I have a list of them that I work through: feeling Connected, Flow, Divine Resonance, Joyful and Creative Genius. I literally imagine the feeling of these feelings until the are palpable in my body, like I am living them and engraving them on my cellular memory. It is the most wonderful process and feels so blissful and amazing.
I first got onto meditating on my core desired feelings through Danielle LaPorte’s wonderful book The Desire Map. Her theory is that everything we are doing in life, all the goals that we make, and all the striving that we do, is us simply trying to do what we THINK we need to do to, to FEEL a particular way. We think that when we achieve a particular goal that we will feel a certain way, like successful, or if we find the love of our life, then we can feel loved.
Danielle suggests that we have it all back-to-front, that we should first get clear on how we want to feel, and then evolve our goals and our action-taking out of those feelings, ensuring that everything that we are doing in our lives is actually in alignment with the feelings we most want to feel every day. The genius of her approach is that it sits so well with the basis of manifesting – that in order to bring something into your life, you first must feel the feeling of it already being here.
So this practice of mine, has become my way of injecting a bit of manifesting magic into my afternoon nap / meditation. Sometimes I fall asleep for a few minutes during it, which while not ideal in a traditional meditation, is wonderfully restful. Upon awaking, I feel totally revitalise and refreshed after completely allowing my spirit to drift into sleep on a river of beautiful emotions and effectively hit the refresh button on my day.
One of my favourite places where I have seen results in this practice is in relation to my painting.
One of my core desired feelings is ‘Creative Genius’. To me, Creative Genius is not so much a quality that lives in me personally, but an energy that I can choose to tap into. So feeling creative genius is all about feeling like a completely open channel to the creative energy of the universe that wants to flow into me and out of me. To me, creative genius is all about my openness to allow unique language to come out of me, whether that be written, visual or spoken. Having creative genius to me means to trust and respond to my intuition and instincts in flowing from one moment to the next in the art making process.
In describing this to you now, I can feel how it feels when I am in contact with my creative genius. This is what I feel during my meditation. Instead for waiting and hoping that this intangible feeling will arrive while I am working, I stop working all together and allow myself to feel the feeling itself, just for a few minutes. I merge with it. I rest my whole consciousness with it.
I try most days to get my admin work done in the morning and begin my creative work after my afternoon meditation. When I approach my painting from this space of being in connection with the energy of creative genius, it feels like a whole layer of doubt in my ability has been shed like a skin. I feel in connection with that mysterious force that flows through me when I’m ‘in the zone’. And I get into the zone of ‘letting go’ so much more easily. It’s no longer about what ‘I’ as an individual can achieve with my skills, it is about being open enough to the experience of Creative Genius that it has a chance to move through me, if only a little. Another place you can learn more about this idea is Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book ‘Big Magic’.
So perhaps you might like to give it a try, before painting, before writing, whatever your art may be. Put yourself in the feeling of being Creative Genius before you even begin. Or do it part way through your art-making. Play with it, see what happens when you allow yourself to deeply connect to the feeling of Creative Genius.
Til next time! Suse xx