pets and creativity
Have you ever wondered if Fido the dog or Princess the cat who you enjoy around the house can influence your creativity? As a cat guardian for nearly four years, (there are no such thing as a cat owner...if you have a cat, you understand), I was curious about the relationship between our cherished pets and the creativity process.
From my research on the subject, it turns out there are several ways that our fur babies can help us with our creativity:
1. Connectedness: According to writer, Miriam Thiel-Alberts when "you live with your animal, you connect to their specific heart energy." This relationship allows both your pet and you to know exactly what each other is feeling without sharing a word. This heart-based connection not only helps connects us to our pets, but also our environment. "Animal energy is a bit like Reiki energy; it helps you clear your energy channel in order to experience the energy around you. And this flow of energy can help you with your creative projects."
2. Play: My cat Athena reminds me of the joy of play. When she gets the zoomies and races around my home or when I use the laser pointer and she tries her best to capture it, she reminds me of the importance of play in everyday life. We need to be reminded of the importance of play because it helps us let our guard down and provides new ways to open ourselves to new ideas for our creative projects.
3. Meditate: Some animals, like cats, can zone out and observe something for what seems like hours, whether in the house or watching something outdoors. This action reminds me that I need to take time to connect to the spiritual energy within which is the source of my creativity. Research has suggested that meditation has a positive impact on clearing blocks to our creativity.
4. Curiosity: Animals are naturally curious. They are interested in exploring objects inside a home and outside. They use their senses....smell, taste, touch and listen when they are curious about something. Their curiosity can sometimes get the best of them, but I admire their courage to check things out. That's the same level of courage we need to have as we create...to ask questions, to touch, listen and yes sometimes taste. To get underneath something to discover if it will work. This discovery process is beneficial for a creative life.
What other ways have your pets benefitted your creative practice? Share in the comments below.
Source: 5 Ways your Animals can help Boost your Creativity by Miriam Thiel-Alberts Journal, April 25, 2021.
Finding and healing from the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming and also takes a lot of time. The grieving process can be slow and painful mentally and emotionally. At this writing, the United States and many other nations across the world has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and it's aftermath. Not only are we grieving the many senseless deaths from the virus, but also we have griefed the changes that have up ended our daily lives such as limits on social gatherings, masks, etc. Grief affects us in a variety of ways, whether through death, divorce, break ups, loss of employment, etc.
There are many ways to deal with grief. One way is to lean into our creative practice or activity. Developing a regular creative practice can provide a routine to help us overcome the sadness, depression and emotions that surround us as a result of grief.
Here's some ways on how a creative practice can help us deal with grief:
1. Creative expression helps us express thoughts and feelings we may find hard to put into words. We may find it hard to write or talk out our feelings when dealing with the emotions that affect us due to grief. Doing an artistic or musical activitity helps us to explore our feelings in a way that may be less vulnerable but still effective in our expression.
2. There are a variety options for expression that we can explore to fit our interests or mood. As stated above, we are not limited to the kind of creative expression that we engage in as an outlet for our grief. Whether words are your thing and you write poetry as a result, or use the canvas for painting, the choice we make to work on our healing is still effective.
3. Engaging in creative activities is good for your health. Research has indicated that creative self-expression can help with stress, depression and other emotions associated with grief. The calming affects of creative activities can enable your body to relax, which results in less stress and better health outcomes.
4. Creative self-expression opens doors to connect with other people It provides you with who are grieveing. Creative activity can be done in solititude. However, there are opportunities to participate in group creative classes or activities. If you are interested in writing or visual art, you may consider joining a group with others who may be experiencing loss. By participating in a group or class, you find that you are not alone in your healing journey, and you may connect with new friends and acquaintances that share your creative interests.
Take time to explore the kind of creative activity you wish to engage in or try. Sign up for a class online, in person or watch a YouTube tutorial to try another activity at home. Dedicate some time during the week days or weekends to explore your creative outlet. Give yourself time not only to explore your creative practice but also to work through the grieving process.
Have you use your creative practice to work through grief? How has it helped in your healing process?
Source: Grief and the Power of Creative Expression, https://www.hospicebasics.org/grief-power-of-creative-expression/
Managing creative anxiety
Are you finding yourself not creating as often as you would like? Do you find yourself avoiding the art studio or your laptop altogether? Procrastinating much? Do you have a tough time deciding which creative project to start? Finding it difficult to complete a creative project? Resisting marketing your creativity project or product?
If you find yourself with one or more of these symptons, you may be have creative anxiety. According to author and creativity coach, Dr. Eric Maisel, creative anxietiy is "this kind of anxiety regularly stops creative people in their tracks and makes their experience of creating more painful than pleasurable. It stops would-be creative people entirely, preventing them from realizing their dreams. Anxiety is the number one problem that creative people face, and yet few know about it." Couple this with the uncertainty of a nearly two year old pandemic, socioeconomic crisis and social unrest, our ability to create at all can be at stake.
Just about every creative gets some form of creative anxiety at some point in their life. The trick is to find a way to deal with it when it rears it's ugly head so you don't become or stay immobile as a result. Creative anxiety is designed to keep you from being productive creatively....or the spend circles in fear, procrastination, "research" for your project or just not attempting anything at all.
So what can you do to deal with creative anxiety? Here's a few ideas:
1. Adopt mindful habits to deal with your creative anxiety: Mindfulness activities such as meditation, yoga nidra, and other similar activities can help immensely. If you are embarking on a creative endeavor, consider getting into the habit of doing a guided meditation focusing on creativity that will help relax your mind and focus on the task at hand. If time is a factor, a series of deep breathing exercises (breathing in from the nose and out from the mouth) can help as well.
2. High vibe sounds: Consider having a playlist of favorite songs or music that inspires your creative impulses readiy when you begin to work on your creative project. I find certain music like low-fi hip hop or jazz helpful when I am writing. I like classic rock when I am creating. Some people like classical or acoustic sounds. Find what suits you and have it available when you create or write.
3. Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy, which is also known as essential oil therapy is defined as a "holistic healing treatment that uses essential oils to improve the health of body, mind and spirit." Essential oils are made using natural plant extracts by steaming or pressing different parts of a plant and then capturing the compound which produces the fragrance. Aromatherapy has many benefits including helping reduce stress and anxiety. By placing a few drops in aromatherapy diffuser, on your skin (check to see if the oil is safe to do so or needs a "carrier" oil), or in the bath, the fragrance can help with creative anxiety before working on a project. Some oils to consider include wild orange, lemon, tangerine, lavendar, peppermint, sandalwood, jasmine, bergamont, chaomile, and ylang ylang.
4. Perfectionism: As creatives we all want our work to be a near perfect as possible. Quality control is imperative. However, an obession with perfection can put us in a hamster wheel that can force us to never finish a project or get stuck because it's not "good enough". Find a way to relax and write an affirmation that you can see that addresses that doing the best you can is enough or that all your efforts are enough. Work with that affirmation to help overcome the anxiety that if things are not perfect it will never be ready to be completed or sent to the world.
Creative anxiety can get the best of us but also can be overcome. How do you deal with your creative anxiety? What would you add to this list?