We’re all Creative – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

We’re all creative. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. If you are alive and you are a human, you are a creative being. I first heard the idea in 1996 when I read  Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention  – our ability to be creative is what distinguishes us as humans.

That said, just because creativity is in our nature doesn’t mean it comes easy. Creativity requires attention. To create anything requires persistence. Choosing to be creative, working on a creative project requires effort. It’s hard to get into it, we need time and energy, confidence and a sense of commitment.

We’re all Creative but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Which begs the question, ‘Why bother?’
It’s not as if our life depends on our being creative.
And even if we show up and work on a project every day for month, it doesn’t mean that showing up and working on it the next month and the one after that won’t take just as much of a leap of faith, effort, stamina, persistence, patience, and imagination. Which seems an even stronger argument to avoid our creative urges.

Or not.

What do we choose? Just for ourselves. No one else. Our choice. The world doesn’t need you to follow that artistic impulse you have to paint your garden. No one is actually putting their own life on hold until they read your story.

These are the facts I face every day. But I keep showing up. Not that it’s ever easy, but I do it anyways. Which is why I really want to discuss the value of meditation. Whenever I’m having trouble getting started or re-started in my case, on a creative project, I meditate until all the reasons I don’t want to show up melt away.

Tune into Creativity with Meditation

I just spent four weeks on a creative project where I was able to apply all my  energy towards my book. Literally. I didn’t have to cook or socialize or go to bed if I didn’t want to. I had a goal. My desire met the opportunity. I reached my goal. Magic.
Then I took a few days off to relax and have some fun with my family. It was a welcome reprieve, but today, one week later, I’m struggling to pick up where I left off in my book project. I’m having trouble just sitting and working. My mind is full of a hundred things I need to accomplish and I don’t know where to begin. I’m feeling overwhelmed and I’m about to give up.
And that was when I remembered I need to stop and meditate. Thirty minutes. After an hour of yoga.

May I be well and peaceful and happy…

I learned to meditate as a teenager, after the Beatles introduced me to transcendental meditation and while I was first exploring yoga. For years I ‘used’ these techniques when I felt like it, but I didn’t practice on a regular basis. Then while I was in graduate school at OISE I took a class called The Contemplative Practitioner with Jack Miller  and discovered that meditation was the best way to sidestep stress and get all my work done. Jack presented meditation as a practical tool to gain focus and clarity and come to right decision. He suggested a simple technique to easily integrate with my daily routine;  ‘Ten to fifteen minutes each day at the same time, in the same location, sit, scan and relax body, focus attention on breathing, count a rhythm in and out, and/or add a loving kindness affirmation such as “May I be well and peaceful and happy…”

To date I’ve been practicing meditation for over twenty years. Pranayama, body awareness, and deep breathing meditation has become an important part of my day. It’s what I do begin my day, and then bring into my day whenever I need to focus, to quiet my mind full of worry, to turn my attention to taking the next step. I’m familiar with the feeling of calm that accompanies meditation. It only takes a few breaths now to experience a overall joyfulness. I can easily tune out distractions or accept them, whichever seems the right choice. Meditation is normal.

Meditation like creativity is a choice.

Until we actually try them, both meditation and creativity can seem like a far flung concepts, weird unwieldy worlds reserved for other people. We can assume they aren’t relevant or necessary.

But they are there for us. Our choice.

I know what I choose. What about you?

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