Creative people often speak of their morning road map, their routine or practice, that familiar pattern of activity that stirs the creative juices and catches ideas when they begin to flow.
Artists mention meditation, a morning beach walk, or spending time alone.
A creative warm-up routine could be something as simple as “I get my coffee, and walk outside to greet my morning. I stroll and look at the leaves, listen to the birds, or feel the rain or falling snow. Then I come back inside and pick up my morning pen to see what it has to say.”
Poet Mary Oliver goes for longs walks every day in nature. And look what she comes up with. Pretty good stuff!!!
Stephen King gets a cup of tea and water, turns on music, and sits down between 8 am and 8:30 every day, with all his papers arranged in the same way, at the same desk. He said it is a routine that lets his brain know that it should begin dreaming.
Winston Churchill woke up about 7:30 every morning and remained in bed for a substantial breakfast and reading of mail and all the national newspapers. For the next couple of hours, still in bed, he worked, dictating to his secretaries.
A well-known composer friend in Los Angeles, now in his later years, has had breakfast every morning in the same restaurant for the past 25 years. After his morning meal, he goes back home and works in his studio, writing music (mainly jazz) or works on a sound track for a movie.
These are examples of how creative people connect with themselves. They have a tradition, a pattern that works for them.
Connecting with OTHERS
In your family, how do you connect with your partner? Your kids? Extended family? Family relationships can surely use this kind of intimate check in. Do you have any traditions? Any patterns of activity that make connection with each other easy?
In my Mom’s family, for as long as I can remember, there has been a family letter. You write your letter, add it in with all the other letters, and send it to the next person on the list. Sometimes you add photos. With a large family, the letter pack gets pretty fat! There were times when one person would forget to write and hold up process. Sometimes the letter would take a whole year to get around to all the families.
A family of three started the tradition of leaving sticky notes to each other on the door from the garage to the house. It is a door covered with love notes and notes of appreciation and acknowledgement to each other.
They collect them for a month or so and then start over. Either that or, I don’t know, maybe they will have to build a bigger door. You know what I mean…
(I wish I had a photo to show you, but she just took all the sticky notes down to start over….)
Another family created what they fondly call a “wall of fame.” It is a really long wall in the hallway of their home covered with photos of the family, like a visual timeline of their life together. It is tastefully arranged, very inviting, and it draws you in. Instead of words, they use images.
Eric and I started a tradition recently. We have a small book with a beautiful cover that we pass back and forth to each other. I like the size of it — not too big, not too small — and it has a ribbon for a page marker. The book travels from his pillow to my pillow with messages of appreciation to each other. Every time I see the book on my pillow, my heart skips a happy beat. I love reading what he says and the opportunity to write back.
We say things to each other in this book that we don’t seem to say verbally. It is a treasure.
What are the express-your-love traditions in your family? Feel free to state your tradition(s) in the comments section. Maybe you’ll inspire someone else!
Ever find yourself yearning for a shot of creativity when you need most it, not when it needs you?
Oh, wherefore art thou my pen, my brush, my song of songs?
C”mon creativity, where did you go? Where is the “on demand” feature?
And, despite the pleading and the begging, your creativity is apparently off to see the wizard.
OH, WE DO LOVE CREATIVITY!
There is a yummy feeling that comes with the energy of inspiration flowing through us. It is the energy of life moving through our veins, and we know it. There is nothing like it. And yes, it keeps us young and happy.
In a state of bliss, all seems to go well — effortlessly! The big blue sky of creativity opens up, shining happy streaks of sunny love color all over life and we’re sparkling with ideas.
WEST ASHEVILLE COMMUNITY CHOIR
Recently, I went to hear the West Asheville Community Choir. On that particular day, I was truly muddling along, ready to be uplifted by song. I had never heard of this choir, but I can tell you that when they sang, the cells in my mind and body woke up. In less than 30 seconds after they began to sing, I was lifted into “oh, now THAT’S better….” and within 45 seconds was transported straight to happy. After a whole minute, I was floating over the moon and the floating lasted for the rest of the hour.
Time disappeared. I was in a state of wonder. The sounds were beautiful. I found myself wanting to stand up and shout, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” It was also meditative. Gorgeous. Intricate. Simple. Moving to my heart.
THE FLOWER OF CREATIVITY
Moonflower Opening -- photo courtesy of Lois Yeager
The 50 member choir sang traditional a cappella songs, from South Africa, the Balkans, Caucus Georgia, as well as American Shape-Note and Gospel songs. Suzannah Park and Nathan Morrison, the directors, also sang a duet together. I don’t even remember the song really, not because the song was not memorable, but because the emotional experience of hearing them sing together took center stage.
I vividly remember the feeling of the song. It was not your average listening experience, that’s for sure. I don’t even know what happened to me when they sang, but I know their expression changed me somehow. When Suzannah and Nathan sang it seemed as if the entire audience expanded to make room in their hearts for whatever it was the two were offering. The audience opened. I opened.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………….!!! Now that’s much better!
THE JOY FACTOR
I don’t know the best way to get anyone’s creative juices flowing, but it sure helps to “get to happy.” What gives you a boatload of joy? Do more of that.
Suzannah and Nathan are downright darling. They love each other and make no bones about it, but it’s not syrupy and it’s not an act. They have known each other since they were 14 years old. Suzannah, when she is talking, but especially when she’s singing, is like a 1,000 watt light bulb. You can’t help but catch the rays of her bright love. She is unabashedly happy when she sings, directs, talks about her husband or how much she loves the choir. She includes you in her energy field, and yes, it’s HUGE, and pretty soon you are transported to wherever she is singing from if you let yourself go there.
And I did.
And I’m glad.
As of this writing, the experience was 48 hours ago and I’m still flyin’. Joy is very good medicine.
IS CREATIVITY YOUR LONG LOST FRIEND?
Artist: MacKenzie Joy Crosby
Missing your creativity? Find what makes you laugh. Find the young kid in you. If your pets are funny and help you into a good mood with no effort, spend a little time with them.
Play a little. Jump up and down, dive into a pile of leaves, roll down a hill. Dance. Sing. Play with your kids or grand kids. You’ll feel better when your life-giving juices begin to flow. Being able to play — being able to get into a playful mood at will — is one of the best ways to deliberately create joy. When you have joy, finding the creativity button is easy.
Or, hey — go listen to the West Asheville Community Choir. Or the music of Suzannah or Nathan. Bon Jovi. k.d. lang. The New York Philharmonic. Leonard Cohen. The Beatles. Diana Krall.
Do whatever opens the floodgates for YOU, darling, because that makes the world a better place, immediately and forever.
SING OUT, PEOPLE!
It seems to me that most of the world’s problems could be solved by singing.
Try singing an argument
It’s hard to sing and fight, sing and be angry, or sing and be in a bad mood for long.
Have you ever tried to sing an argument?
OK, imagine doing it.
My point exactly… See what I mean? You can’t stay mad for long.
It could work. World peace could be closer than you think.
If you have a story about how the simple act of singing works wonders for you and your creativity, I’d LOVE to hear it.
Or when do you find yourself in your highest creative state? How do you get there? Do tell!
Note: Moonflower Photo courtesy of Lois Yeager. For more information on artist MacKenzie Joy Crosby go here.Continue Reading
You’re broken down and tired Of living life on a merry go round And you can’t find the fighter But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out And move mountains We gonna walk it out And move mountains
And I’ll rise up I’ll rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again And I’ll rise up High like the waves I’ll rise up In spite of the ache I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you For you For you For you
When the silence isn’t quiet And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe And I know you feel like dying But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet And move mountains Bring it to its feet And move mountains
And I’ll rise up I’ll rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you For you For you For you
All we need, all we need is hope And for that we have each other And for that we have each other And we will rise We will rise We’ll rise, oh, oh We’ll rise
I’ll rise up Rise like the day I’ll rise up In spite of the ache I will rise a thousand times again And we’ll rise up High like the waves We’ll rise up In spite of the ache We’ll rise up And we’ll do it a thousand times again
During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.
Sometimes we ask intimate partners to do for us what is actually ours to do.
We ask our partner to give us the reassurance, love or appreciation we feel is missing in ourselves, with the hope that they will give us what we’re asking for—and then we’ll feel better. They’ll take care of our problem.
But when they do give us what we’re asking for, it can never be enough, because we have insufficient context for what they’ve given. We haven’t build the inner foundation to receive it, hear it, welcome it, believe it. They try to help, but their love for us falls into our void, our black hole, our love bucket with no bottom.
As always, there’s hope. Check out the video below.