I fell in love with music at an early age.
Between piano lessons, chorus, musical theater, concert and jazz band, and a cappella, music has been a guiding force throughout my life, illuminating my purpose as both a performer and storyteller. Music has the power to take us on a journey, broaden our perspective, and inspire new thoughts and emotions. Music highlights what is personal and meaningful about our human experience, and enables us to engage with a force greater than ourselves.
During this era of social isolation, I’m reminded that creative practices like music are more crucial than ever. Engaging in creative acts can give us the freedom to feel what we’re feeling and not apologize for it. Writing, visual arts, dancing, and music are all ways to activate our childlike spirit and access our most liberated state: the place where our mind, body, and spirit are in harmony. Beyond being super fun, activating our creativity can lift our mood and work wonders for our mental health.
If you need a creative boost right now, check out these healing arts practices and notice what they activate in you.
Whether you’re strumming a guitar or enjoying your favorite song, music can be deeply nourishing for the mind and body. It’s one of the most accessible mediums for healing, and is known to soothe anxiety and help restore emotional balance. You may explore music by listening to a fun playlist, singing, learning a new instrument, or finding a live video of your favorite band (I’m a fan of NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts, which always spark a certain kind of joy). To engage with music on a deeper level, try designing a soundtrack for your life. What songs, musicians, and sounds can you gather to tell your story? How is your story told through song?
Freewriting is one of my favorite ways to release pent-up emotions, spark new ideas, and get the creative juices flowing. Without planning, following a template, or stressing about your handwriting (guilty!), try freewriting for five minutes. No prompt, no agenda, just free-flowing thoughts. Opt for a notebook or journal rather than your laptop, if possible; stream-of-consciousness writing works powerfully when you engage with your hands instead of a screen. Simply notice how you feel. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to write for longer. You may even explore journaling to specific prompts, or writing a gratitude letter to someone who has positively impacted your life.
Anyone who has experienced a “runner’s high” knows that movement can be pretty powerful. The good news is, you don’t have to be an ultra-marathoner to experience the benefits of a movement practice. Dancing, practicing yoga, or simply going for a walk can get our heart rate up and allow us to move stagnant energy in the body. If you’re feeling low, consider a heart-opening yoga flow to inspire a feeling of expansiveness and combat any heaviness you may be experiencing. I recently tried The Class by Taryn Toomey, an eclectic experience that inspires creative movement without judgment. Bonus points if you can blend your movement practice with music for an extra-special healing experience.
Painting, photography, pottery, jewelry-making…the possibilities with visual arts are endless. Admittedly, I have been a magazine collector for years, and have always loved the feeling of making a collage! Try gathering magazine clippings, pages from old books, and craft supplies to create an inspiring collage or vision board. I recommend turning on your favorite playlist, exploring mediums that you are drawn to, and making your board in ways that feel intuitive, rather than trying to create a particular “look.” (If you’re low on supplies, you can always head to Pinterest!). Try not to overthink the process; the sweetest creativity comes when we turn off logic, and lean into our intuition.
Know that you can always cultivate a sense of creativity in your everyday life, even if you are spending most of your time indoors. We are all innately creative, and engaging in the healing arts allows us to express ourselves through new mediums, while ultimately bringing us closer to something greater than ourselves. This week, take a moment and find some inspiration in sound, movement, art, or the power of words. You may be surprised at what you discover.