Creativity and the Mindful Mindset

When my husband and I moved into our new house over the summer, deep at the bottom of a box that hadn’t been unpacked during our two previous moves was my old, beloved copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.  If you haven’t read The Artist’s Way yet, you simply must.  It is a beautiful, suggestive book that offers some incredible valuable advice and exercises for reclaiming your inner artist by recognizing and then disidentifying from your inner critic.  

The book’s sudden reappearance during our move seemed consequential in every way.  It was almost exactly twenty years since I first began reading The Artist’s Way, and the rediscovery of my old torn copy of the book offered a very tangible reminder that mindfulness and other contemplative practices aren’t meant to dampen creative expression, but, rather, to open up and allow more direct access to creative potential.   

As The Artist’s Way makes clear, everyone has the ability to be creative and, once you learn how to unleash your inner creativity, you’ll be able to tap into it.  One of the most useful tools that I have found to connect to my own creativity is regular formal seated meditation and equally regular informal mindful practices throughout the day.  By developing a daily mindfulness practice we can connect more fully and more authentically with own inner artist and by first turning inward we are then able to turn outwards again to manifest our creative ideas, plans, and visions.

There are several things that you can to you in order to further develop the relationship between your mindful practice and your creative output:

  • Begin a journal—if you haven’t done so already, begin here! 
  • Use a reflective meditation to sit with the notion of creativity and what that word and concept means to you.
  • Use drawing, doodling, sculpting, or any art practice as a form of active mediation by connecting your breath to each movement 
  • Notice the details.
  • Draw upon a different medium to move through creative blocks.
  • As you dance to music that inspires you, pay particular attention to each part of your body working in unison.
  • Choose to avoid energy drains like social media, apps, and tv programmes which don’t inspire you. 
  • Explore.
  • Don’t rush outputs: give yourself enough time on projects to allow them to fully emerge.
  • Show gratitude for the simple forms of inspiration like a sunset, a flower, or a piece of music. 
  • Choose to avoid judging others.
  • Use your meditation practice to develop the relaxation that will enable your best creative thinking.
  • Trust the small steps to build into something bigger. 
  • Imagine a problem that you face from a different perspective.  How do you see the problem differently?
  • Stay curious and ask ‘what if?’ 

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