Think you're not creative? Think again! Creativity is not just for artists. It is an inherent desire to express ourselves. We are all creative, but we're not all in touch with our creativity. When we were very young, our only voice was that of our inner child, and that voice made itself very clear about what it wanted, what it liked, and what it didn't like. I think of this voice as our intuition, or the voice of our inner divinity. The voice encouraged us to do things like dance just for fun, or make up a play, or dress up in costumes. As we grew older, we were taught to conform to other people's needs and desires, and the voice of our inner child got pushed to the background. As a result, as adults we often become so successful at ignoring the voice of our inner child that we forget we were ever creative.
The good news is that the creative voice of our expressive child never leaves us; it's patiently waiting for us to come out and play.
Re-connect With Your Expressive Voice
Your non-dominant hand is the hand you don't normally use for writing or throwing baseballs. Writing or drawing with this hand allows your right brain to do the thinking. The right brain allows intuitive, creative, spontaneous, and playful ideas and thoughts to come forward. Take a pencil or pen and a blank piece of paper. With your dominant hand (the one you normally write with), start by asking the voice of your expressive child "What's your name?" Then answer the question with your non-dominant hand, allowing the answer to simply flow, without controlling or judging it. If you don't try to steer the voice, it will come. Other questions you could ask are "How old are you? What do you like to do? What do you want? How are you feeling? Once you establish contact with this voice, you can integrate it into your life. For example, invite it along to the store to buy groceries (what does it like to eat? Mine likes tapioca pudding) or let it plan a party or a day off.
How this works:
When you establish a relationship with your expressive voice, you are in closer touch with your innate creativity. You begin to accept yourself as a creative person, which opens you to try new things and maybe even take some creative risks. I define a creative risk as something that threatens the status quo; it stretches us outside our normal way of doing things.
Here's Some Ideas for Adding Creativity to Your Life
Sign up for a class- Is there something you've always wanted to do but thought it wasn't practical, or that you weren't "the creative type?" Has something been 'nudging you,' like the desire to sing, dance, try community theatre? How about Italian cooking, or creative writing? Well, now you are the creative type, if you're willing to see yourself as creative, so try it! As long as you're willing to not judge yourself as you learn, the worst thing that can happen is that you don't like it.
How this works:
When you step outside your normal thinking and take creative risks, you are energized simply by your willingness to try something new. Even if this doesn't work out, chances are it will lead to another creative idea as you allow yourself to follow the guidance of your expressive voice, and this OTHER idea may be something that you really love.
Creative Ideas for Self-Care:
Think of creative ways to add self-care to your busy life. Buy a stretch or aerobics video and substitute 10 minutes of daily exercise for TV. Get together with a few other women and take walks. This way you'll be combining exercise with socializing, which is a great way to nurture yourself. Organize a book group, where you all read an inspirational book, like Spiritual Doodles & Mental Leapfrogs (my book!). Get together for discussion and mutual support. If you have kids, they need a lot of your attention, but you also need your attention. Carve out time each day just for yourself, a time to do creative things. Even if it's 10 minutes, it will help you feel more balanced and nurtured. I do this as a spiritual practice.
How this works:
When we take good care of ourselves, we get an instant boost of self esteem, and we feel more spiritually connected. Whenever we exercise, our body produces endorphins, which are natural anti-depressants. When we fly in an airplane, we are told to put on our own oxygen mask first, before trying to help anyone else. As we take better care of ourselves, we are more available to take care of others.
Creative Games in the Car:
This is a fun game for adults as well as kids. As you are driving, think of five or ten reasons why something is happening. For example, traffic is stopped ahead. What are 5 wacky reasons for the delay? Maybe aliens have landed and they are waving to the cars ahead. Or someone is throwing money off of a freeway overpass, or a truck spilled 100 gallons of chocolate syrup.
How this works:
Creative thinking comes from exercising our creative minds. The more we stretch our thinking by expanding the possibilities of what could happen, the easier it is for us to come up with creative solutions to everyday life issues, like career and relationships. For example, we might think, "How many ways can I be nice to the woman at work who doesn't seem to like me?" As we practice creative thinking, it's easier to think of ourselves as creative, and we start to expect that we can always come up with new ideas, so we do!
Doodling to Relax the Mind:
Doodling is using a pen or pencil to randomly express ourselves without a goal and without criticizing what we draw. It is something we do purely for fun as we let our expressive child playS Doodle on scrap paper or on letters and notes. If you have a family bulletin board, or one at work, add doodles to your messages as a creative way to add your unique touch. The good news is that the doodles don't have to look like anything. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, especially if you don't judge yourself (the MOST important part!).
How this works:
Doodling puts us in touch with our spontaneous creativity. It puts the rational and analytical part of our brain on hold, which gives our busy brain a welcomed break. It helps us to relax our overstressed mind and get in touch with our intuition, giving us a feeling of peace and calmness. As we share our doodles with others (especially our kids), we are encouraging them to express their unique creativity.
As Rumi says, "everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in our hearts." Everything we do is creative, so why not discover for ourselves the passion in our hearts, so we can share it with the world?"
� 2003 by Katherine Q. Revoir.
Katherine Q. is a spiritual entrepreneur, working as a spiritual counselor, curriculum developer, speaker, and creative mentor. She is the author of the recently published book Spiritual Doodles & Mental Leapfrogs: A Playbook for Unleashing Spiritual Self-Expression (Red Wheel/Weiser). Her books and playshops explore the links between creative self-expression & spiritual development. Visit her web site at www.SpiritualDoodles.com for more information about her work/play.