I see a movie, read a book, find an interesting article, overhear a random conversation and I hear the Universe talking to me and inspiring me.
Somehow these disparate images and sounds, the multi-media, multi-lingual puzzle all coincide and start to make sense to me in a new way that inspires me to write or paint. Creativity is inspired by anything that speaks with the same vibration or frequency as our soul.
Creating something new out of our own vision of the world to communicate how we feel, what we think, who we are or are becoming is one of the most amazing parts of being human. We are all born with some drive, desire or need to create. As children, we are close to our imaginations, which is the primary vehicle through which we learn about the world, so we are compelled to create connections to explore our worlds. As children, we hadn’t yet learned the hateful art of self-deprecation and self-criticism, so we were freer to express ourselves unabashedly.
Sometimes as adults, we find it hard to connect with that ancient, necessary part of ourselves.
Recently, someone asked me how I am able to tap into my creativity and find that spark that creates something new. It is a process that is simultaneously complicated and simple. My art studio, where my paintings are born, is always flooded with music, light and the shelf to my right is always stocked with a delicious selection of high-end dark chocolates.
I can find inspiration in a song, photograph, story, a conversation, almost anything can trigger something in me that I’m driven to express, but chocolate is king. Chocolate is my Greek muse (or Mexican, actually).
Whether our self-expression is in the form of writing, music, visual arts like drawing or painting, tattoos and body art, culinary arts, physical activities like dance—anything else—what inspires ideas to burst forth from our souls?
How can we unblock our creativity?
After surveying (and probably annoying) more than a few creative people, I have compiled a list of 18 strategies and practices that we can use to tap into our creativity regardless of how we express ourselves, and let loose the passions of our souls.
1. Create conducive environments or spaces that give us the space and freedom to let lose our inhibitions.
2. Find like-minded, open-minded people with whom to collaborate and with whom to bounce ideas around.
3. Observe the randomness of life and appreciate serendipity—our ability to notice the world around us and translate that into something else is uniquely human.
4. Appeal to the Universe or spiritual muses for inspiration (just as the ancient Greeks).
5. Ingest delicious and evocative foods that literally feed the body and soul.
6. Consider (occasionally and in small amounts) using alcohol to loosen inhibitions and quiet negative self-talk.
7. Peruse the internet, print media and social media for inspiring ideas and photographs as many times the work of others is a catalyst for our own work—Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, SnapChat, YouTube.
8. Exercise or dance, either solo or socially. The movement of our bodies can increase in circulation that unblocks our chi enough for creative juices to flow.
9. Listen to music to create a mood and release emotions and to encourage movement or calm.
10. Watch a movie, video or read a book, article or poem to recharge, help memories resurface and focus closely on images and senses.
11. Self-reflect on feelings and responses to situations and relationships in your life.
12. Laugh. The release and relaxation of shared laughter is invaluable—and sarcasm is a sign of intelligence and creativity (just ask Seth MacFarlane).
13. Walk or hike in nature while breathing deeply and taking in the beauty of the natural world—all that exists in harmony around us is often very helpful.
14. Fall in love and/or have sex—the energy, resurgence of youthful enthusiasm and physical passion have fueled centuries of beautiful art.
15. Spend time with small children—their unbridled energy and exuberance and lack of critical, self-judgment can be very refreshing as they inspire us with their wonder and excitement.
16. Think deeply and with focus—whether it’s just staying positive about the creative task, trying to look at things from a fresh, new angle can help us hone in on what we are trying to communicate.
17. Daydream—allowing ourselves quiet time to let our minds drift off into randomness can often lead us to new, unexpected places.
18. Walk away—walking away from a creative project and giving ourselves time can give us the distance we need to release pressure, change our perspective and recharge our energies.
Maybe even reading this list inspired creativity—wouldn’t that be serendipitous?