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Unleash Your Creative Spirit

What does the word “creative” mean to you?

Maybe it conjures an image of a great artist, like Michelangelo, Manet, Picasso or Basquiat.

Perhaps your favorite writer or performer springs to mind.

It could also be the neighbor who does arts and crafts.

But, do you see yourself?

Who, me? Creative? Naaaahhh… I can’t even draw a stick figure…

That’s ok - can you imagine one? Sure you can.

Close your eyes and see that stick figure come to life.

Look at that - you just created something where there was nothing. Good for you!

The truth is everyone is creative.

You don’t have to be a “born” artist, actor, writer, dancer... to experience the joy of creativity. Truly you don’t. You don’t need to have what is called “talent” either. You don’t ever need to compare yourself to those who society reveres as “stars” and “masters.”

Among other things, opening yourself to creative pursuits can result in a happier state of being, getting out of your comfort zone and exploring new avenues of expression.

Creative energy can transform lives.

Read on to find out how it can affect yours. 

Why Create?

Being creative comes with a ton of benefits, here are just a few to whet your appetite:

Self-Expression and Spontaneity 

Creativity is perhaps the ultimate way to express yourself. That might seem like a no-brainer, but is it?

When you get ready to create something, perhaps you first think about what it’s going to be, and the project ahead. But then the doubt sets in - is anyone going to like it? Am I good enough? Who the heck am I to think I can do this?

First and foremost, the type of creativity I am encouraging you to try out isn’t about all that, It’s about allowing yourself the moment to express something about yourself without fear of judgement or recrimination.

It’s up to you if you share it with anyone else.

Self-Connect

When you create, your mind is highly alert and usually another part of your body is too. For instance. if we are singing (yes, shower singing counts), your mind informs your vocal chords what to do.

Your larynx moves, saliva is produced, your tongue, teeth and lips all work in concert and a sound is produced.

All the parts connect at that precise moment. Beautiful alchemy!

It’s true with whatever type of creative work you are doing. One thing connects to another, then another, then…

During this process, take a moment during to stop and tune in to your body and mind to detect just how aligned you are.

Chase Boredom

I remember when I was a kid (pre-internet), whenever my siblings and I were bored, we went to the bookshelf.

There they were: the always reliable Encyclopedia and set of craft instruction books.

Just opening one of these volumes opened up an entire world of possibilities.

Within minutes I was tracing a map, exploring exotic worlds and making up stories. Other times I would make origami, do a collage or craft paper bag puppets.

One of my favorites was the huge diorama of Africa I built.

The point is, there never was - and never is - a reason to get bored when you can create something. Nowadays, with instant access to everything, simple creative pursuits might seem a thing of the past. But, they really aren’t.

And, I would venture to say, they are more important than ever. This isn’t only child's play, adults can, and should, allow themselves to enjoy these pleasurable pastimes.

When was the last time you made a paper airplane?

Release

Not having to worry about if something is “good” or not is liberating. It’s a release from constant expectation and demand that you be your absolute best all of the time.

Creativity is not about that. No. It’s about giving yourself space to be completely free and unrestrained. It is about throwing caution to the wind. It is about giving yourself over to the process without any preconceived notions.

Let yourself go!

Build Confidence

Expanding your horizons and letting yourself explore uncharted territory can be daunting, I know. But, after a while, you will start to feel comfortable as it becomes familiar and you start seeing the fruits of your labor.

Even if you never show your work to anyone else, you will discover a different part of yourself - one that has been lying dormant, just waiting to be unleashed.

You will also become more confident in your ability. Not necessarily your ability in mastering the creative avenue you are on, but more confident in your ability to face the world and your day-to-day with newfound discipline and joy.

Be in Flow

Surely you’ve heard the expression “time flies when you’re having fun.” That is what “Flow” is about. It has been described by athletes, artists and performers as a state of ecstasy.

It is the feeling that overtakes you when you are completely in tune with what you are doing, and the outside world seems to disappear.

You’ve probably been there when you’re deep into a project, with a loved one or exercising. It’s an amazing sensation, and one that being in a creative zone produces in spades.

Get Resourceful

Creative projects require creative problem solving. Especially when you don’t have all of the supplies you (think) you need.

When you’re in a jam, take some time to consider the options and plan how to overcome the obstacles.

For instance, if you are sculpting something and you’ve run out of clay, what can you do? Can you use a different material? Start over? Adjust the original vision?

Some of the most exciting art has resulted from the need to innovate on the spot.

Creative Ways

a. Doodle

We’re about to go old school! Forget the electronic devices for a while.

Grab a pen, a pencil, a marker or a crayon and a piece of paper.

Ready. Set. Draw.

Don’t think. Just let your hand start moving in whatever way it wants. Don’t judge yourself. That’s not what this is about. Let your mind reconnect with childish joy. To let yourself have fun creating a bundle of lines which may or may not actually look like something.

This is your chance to let go of what you think a “good” drawing, or piece of art, is.

Since there are no lines to begin with, you are absolutely free to draw outside of them! Go crazy with it.

When your hand stops its doodling, take a moment before you look at the page.

Now, with complete openness, look and discover what you’ve done.

It might be a mishmash of lines, circles, curly-ques, or there may be some recognizable shapes in there.

Whatever it appears to be, it is yours and yours alone. No one can take that away from you.

Try to doodle at least once a day. Maybe after you’ve written in your journal, or during a dull meeting, or when you’re feeling frustrated.

Doodling is an amazing way of freeing your mind and letting the creative juices flow.

If you feel like you want to take it up a notch, consider taking a sketching class or playing with paints.

b. Sing a Song

Singing in the shower can be a blast. You feel free to let your voice out without fear of judgement.

How about taking it out of the shower and putting it in front of people. Sure, it’s scary and can lead to embarrassment - but only if you let it.

Singing is a joyful experience and anyone can do it. No one is expecting you to be Freddy Mercury or Pavarotti. Just be yourself, grab that mic, and let your voice soar.

If singing is something you’d like to do more of, consider joining a choir, an acapella group or a community theater company. You might even want to take some voice classes.

In the end, it’s all about having fun.

c. Dance! Dance! Dance!

Dancing, like singing, is one of life’s great pleasures. I have a motto “dance like everyone is watching.”

That means don’t worry about who is looking, or what other people might think. That’s on them. Dance is one of the most freeing, liberating and exhilarating things we can do.

You can start by simply wiggling your arm, then the other one, now start tapping those toes, move the hips and walk, walk, walk. Let the music move you.

You did it! You danced.

To get more involved with this wonderful art, take a Salsa, Tango, Jazz or Ballet class. Or, do some freestyle.

Before you know it, you will be a dancin’ fool having a bunch of fun.

d. Act Out

Most towns and cities in the US have community theater groups. Find out where they are in your area, go to a show or two, ask about how to get involved.

Acting gives you the chance to bring a character to life, to let someone else occupy your physical space for a while and tell stories. It challenges you in every way, and the reward is tremendous.

Acting on stage is like walking a highwire without a net. Exhilarating and dangerous. But, unlike a highwire, the stakes aren’t deadly

If nothing else, take an improv or stand up comedy class. This is a great way to get out of your comfort zone, stretch new muscles and to meet new people.

Conclusion

There you have it, quick and easy ways to be creative. Explore these and more, and be mindful of how each experience makes you feel, expands your mind and enriches your life.

Please let us know how you do!

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for upcoming posts.
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