Our brains are magnificent things, capable of creating and destroying whole worlds, or, as John Milton put it, ‘making a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven’ and bringing our deepest desires into form. But what do we do when our brains get stuck in a rut?
It happens to us all: the dreaded creative block, where inspiration seems to run dry and our minds and hearts become arid places of dead and dying half-thought-out plotlines and mediocre projects. No idea feels good enough to commit to, if there are even ideas coming in.
Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but it sure feels like that.
Inspiration comes from the Latin word “inspiratus” and means, literally, to breath in. Our breathe is our connection to the Divine and feeds our creative fires, which allows us to give form to the formless within us. When we tap into the infinite potential of our creativity, we are connecting with the creative force that moves the universe. When we are tapped in, we feel in alignment, can reach the state of flow where time and energy are limitless, and our desires seem to manifest instantaneously: we become truly aligned with our purpose, passion, and creativity. But sometimes we fall out of the flow and it feels as if our well of inspiration has run dry.
When those creative blues hit and you find yourself stuck in a rut, what do you do? How do you get your heart from being a desert wasteland to a lush, fertile rainforest filled with thousands of new species of ideas to discover and share?
First, a short meditation:
Find yourself in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Inhale deeply, so deeply that you can feel your abdomen expand to contain your Inspiration. Find a comfortable rhythm of breathing: deep inhales through the nose and long, steady exhales through the mouth. Bring your awareness to the center of your being, the pelvic bowl or womb space where your creative fire resides. Breath gently into this space, fanning the flames of your creative expression with your breath. Notice what calls to your attention here. Notice any constriction, restriction, or fluidity. Ask yourself, what do you need to feel fully and wholly supported in your creative expression? What brings you joy and feeds the fire in your soul?
You may feel the urge to journal, draw, or jot down the images and feelings you receive during this meditation. Do so now. When you have finished, read over the following strategies and pick one that calls to you most. Dedicate some time (about 20 minutes per day or one hour a week) to explore each of these strategies. Take note of your creative energy field before and after each session and harness the newfound flow of creative power within.
Five simple strategies to help bring Inspiration back to life:
Break Your Routine:
We often sacrifice our creative will at the feet of efficiency, getting things done, and checking off the boxes on the to-do list. We get up and go to bed at the same time, we go to work, we make sure our day is set up for maximum doing-ness. Breaking up our routine forces us to use our minds differently, disrupting our usual thought patterns and letting in some fresh air of inspiration into our usually jam-packed mind.
Breaking your routine doesn’t have to mean throwing a wrench into your plans. It can be as simple as doing something you always do, differently. Take putting on your shoes as an example: usually we put on the same shoe first every time without much thought. Breaking your routine can mean putting on the opposite shoe first than you usually do. Or brushing your teeth with your nondominant hand. Our brains get so used to doing the same things over and over again to the point that we stop thinking about them, banishing our lived reality, the fodder for our creative power, into the realm of the subconscious. Breaking your routine in simple ways disrupts your usual patterns, forcing you to slow down and be present in the moment.
Talk to your block:
Have a conversation with it. Don’t try to reason with it, guilt or shame it, or reject it. Acknowledge it is there, accept that it has a lesson for you, and let it express itself. Ask it questions and don’t judge the answers, like you would a friend that’s working through a difficult time. Be supportive and nurturing to yourself and your block.
Play with your Inner Child:
Often, our creative lineage is marked with limiting beliefs like being creative is wasteful, lazy, and doesn’t lead to anything productive. Our Inner Child is a reservoir of creative power, hidden away under years of conditioning that taught us we need to ‘DO’ to be worthy of praise and attention. So get in touch with this little magical part of you, the part that knew in her heart of hearts that magic is real, imagination is a force of nature, and you are Divinity incarnate. Let her (or him) know that it is safe to express themselves, be creative, and play with reality just like they used to. Imagine yourself as the parent, or big sibling, to this younger version of you and give her the advice, the encouragement, and the reassure that you craved as a child
Do what you’ve been avoiding:
Even if it has nothing to do with your creativity or where you think the block is. Do the scary thing, have the uncomfortable conversation, face the fear and do the damn thing. Often where we THINK the block is, isn’t actually where the energy is stuck.
Get back in touch with your body:
laugher, movement, sensuality, pleasure, pain (the good kind, whatever that means to you) are all catalysts for creativity. We put so much of our lived, bodily, experience into our subconscious and unconscious in favor of our thoughts and figuring things out, and seeing how it will all work out that we essentially numb ourselves to our own lived experience. If you’re feeling stuck anywhere in your life, tune back in to your body. Get it moving, give it some variety in what you feel with your senses. Awaken your body to quiet your mind and let that Inspiration move through you!
Remember, feeling like your in a creative funk can put a lot of pressure on you, which will make it even harder to let loose to be creative. Have fun with these activities without putting too much expectation on the outcome or result. The point is to get your mind thinking in new ways as you play!