*originally published January 18, 2023
Is stillness part of creativity?
Is being creative something we can DO or BE by getting still?
I’ve been thinking a lot about these questions, especially in these winter months when I am allowing myself the freedom to be still and rest.
This might be the first winter in my adult life when I am actually stopping or saying NO to things that feel too much.
I am creating boundaries that allow me to take a pass. To find a way to honour myself. To let others know that it is truly NOT them, it is me. I need space and time and rest. And so, I’m taking it.
As I work on this and figure out how to be kind to myself and others, I am abandoning my lifelong need to please other people.
I am embracing the darkest time of the year by cozying down at home and in my studio (mostly). I am preparing my spirit for the months of growth ahead.
I am dreaming. Manifesting. Nurturing. And even celebrating the fact that I am getting through these dark months (which I normally dislike) with a bit more positivity. It IS possible.
So, in my stillness, I breathe. I meditate. I stretch. I write. I create.
I still work and play, but I do both of these things while really listening to my body and my needs.
I give myself grace.
So, stillness is most certainly part of my creative wellness strategy.
Let's talk a little more about WHY stillness is important to creativity and what you can do to cultivate it.
One of the things I hear from so many people that come to my workshops or who respond to my emails is:
“How do I know what creative act I’m called to? I’ve never considered myself creative?”
I believe that a lot of this boils down to listening to your inner voice.
And how do we find that inner voice? Get still.
So, just stop. Right now.
You might be multi-tasking so just STOP.
Take a big deep breath.
Breathe in for 4 … hold for 4 … out for 4 … hold for 4.
Do that a couple of times. What do you feel? Did your shoulders release a little? Did your stomach knot start to ease?
When we breathe slowly, our heart rate and blood pressure decrease, which can lead to a state of relaxation. Slow breathing can also help to decrease feelings of anxiety and stress, and may even help to improve our sleep. Additionally, slow breathing can help to increase the amount of oxygen that reaches the body's cells, which can improve our overall health and well-being.
Can you see how that would be a more fertile ground for getting creative?
A few other tools that I like for focusing on stillness. Yes, it’s a focus because many of us never slow down. Our minds are constantly racing. Our bodies are always in motion.
If you find that your mind IS racing, grab a sheet of paper, a pen and do some flow writing, also known as stream of consciousness writing. Perhaps you need to get some things off your mind so that you can actually be still. Put them down. Write until you feel a calm come over you. Notice that in this calmness you may start to see things differently.
Another one to try ...
Pull up the Insight Timer app. Search for ‘sound healing’. There are a bunch of free ones there and you can sit and just listen. Try not to fidget. Go with a short one to start. Advance onto the longer ones and sit still longer, if you like. Another one like this is ambient music.
One more you can try today to get still: a body scan, perhaps focusing on the chakras?
Here’s how this one works …you can do this one guided (which I suggest if you are new to this) or on your own. You’re going to find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. Start with some box breathing to calm yourself. Then, starting at the crown of your head with your eyes closed, imagine a bright, warm stream of light working it’s way from the top of your head all the way down through every part of your body. Use your mind to really tune into every bit of your body from the tip of your nose to the back of your knee. Go slowly. If you lose concentration, just come back to your breath and keep working your way down your body.
This takes practice and you may find yourself thinking of other things or even sleeping. It’s OK. Try it again tomorrow.
So, these are a few things you can do to bring more stillness into your day. It’s intentional stillness, not sleeping. That’s different (and important, too). But that’s a topic for another time.
If you want some more ideas of things you can do TODAY, grab my free workbook.
And then once you have focused on your stillness and may be feeling a wee bit of space for creativity, you can check out the workshops on offer at my studio, read some of my other blog posts or follow me on social for ideas on what to do with that energy.
- Carmen xo
p.s. Sign up for one of my FREE live virtual masterclasses in February HERE (and I'll give you 5 strategies to help you find your creative spark TODAY).
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