Thoughtful Thursday: Are You Creatively Constipated?

0166EURS2013Do you feel like your creativity has been stifled?  You want to share your travel experiences in a unique way but you don’t know how to express yourself – do you hop on Instagram, write a long blog post, or just post witty remarks on Facebook?  Sometimes we get caught up in this creative rut and don’t know how to get yourselves out!

In this week’s edition of “Thoughtful Thursday”, Christine Hassler explores the idea of ‘creative constipation’ and what you can do to combat this.  Read on!

Guest Blog Post by Christine Hassler

My guess is that your self-expression is a little backed up. How am I so confident in this assumption? Because a lot of us suffer from creative constipation!

Self-expression is not very encouraged in today’s society, which tends to reward more for achievement and appeasement. Today in celebration of a huge creative release for me (turning in the first draft of my next book), I am a cheerleader for your self-expression!

Why is self-expression so important? Because it is one of the ways we channel and release emotions. If we don’t express on a regular basis, we are likely to suppress which leads to things like irritability, fatigue, lack of motivation and sadness.

If you are thinking, “Well I am just not that creative” you are absolutely incorrect. We are ALL creative; we just express it in different ways. Thinking you have to be good at something like painting, writing, singing, or dancing in order to enjoy expressing it is stifling your self-expression.

Here are six easy steps you can follow to get your creativity flowing:
1. Make time. Since creative expression is not something that feels urgent or attached to any goal (and boy oh boy do we love goals and results!), we often do not schedule it in. Honor your self-expression by putting it on your calendar. Go here for my blog about creating white space.
2. Tune in. Creativity is one of the ways Spirit expresses through us. Before you go into self-expression mode, make time to connect through prayer, meditation or spending time in nature.
3. Make it sacred. Just like you’d set the mood for a romantic evening, create an atmosphere for your creative process. Use things like music, candles and sacred objects.
4. Be a kid! Children are the best teachers of self-expression. They create with so much enthusiasm, curiosity and joy without any attachment to the end product. Bring that childlike wonderment to your creative endeavors and enjoy the process!
5. No editing. Do not judge yourself or attempt to edit your expression while you are creating it – it will interrupt your process and radically shift you from your creative brain to your analytical one (and don’t you spend enough time there anyway?). Just allow it to flow. This is how I write my books. First I just write, write, write and let the creative juices flow freely. Then later I go back to edit and fine tune.
6. Celebration. After you create something, acknowledge yourself for it! Perhaps even share it with a friend or put it on display somewhere like parents put their kid’s pictures on the refrigerator. Celebration is key to honoring (not evaluating!) your self-expression.
I was recently interviewed in Tommy Rosen’s Recovery 2.0 conference (you can still attend free here) about depression. One of the things I shared is that I notice people experience depression from suppressing their creativity. This is especially true for individuals who are highly right-brain dominant/creative but grew up in very left-brain dominant/logical households. Since their creativity was often misunderstood and discouraged, they had to suppress it. If you resonate with this at all and perhaps feel a little depressed, get your creativity flowing ASAP!

Self-expression is vital to our well being. All the kale and yoga in the world will not lift your spirits if you are creatively constipated. I hope you take my encouragement today and commit to finding ways to honor creativity.

Love,

Christine

P.S.  Play is a very creative act!! I invite the kid in you to come play with me at a retreat in Mexico. All the details here.

P.P.s. I LOVE this Ted Talk from Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love on creative genius.  Go here to watch

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