Blocked Or Uninspired? Tools To Clear The Path

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Although everyone may not call their self or identify as an artist—I hold the view that all of us are creative beings and as creative beings we can probably relate to being blocked or uninspired whether it is in our jobs, in a relationship or in our lives.

So…what is the difference between being blocked and being uninspired?

Blocks are seldom mysterious– they are recognizable defenses that need to be worked with in order to move forward with your creative work or project.

Resistance to the creative process comes up and needs to be worked through and it usually in the form of fear and doubt.

When a person is uninspired they are able to take action (ie: you are in the studio and you are painting) but there is no real juice—no connection to the project or passion. You are lacking originality and enthusiasm (slopping the paint on….).

Working with blocks and a lack of inspiration is a real feeling that can occur when you decide you want to engage with creativity on a regular or a full time basis.

Sometimes you can experience short term or mini-blocks that may last a few hours or days. Then there are the long-term blocks that can be for weeks, months and for some people years.

Feeling blocked will show up differently at different times in your life. You may feel distracted by a life event that is happening. Maybe someone close to you has died, you are going through a divorce, or you are having financial struggles. When big things happen in our lives it can be difficult to connect to other areas of our life and we may even feel like our creative time is meaningless.

Everyone comes up against blocks and feeling uninspired so how do you deal with it when it happens? Here are a few suggestions to help you break through that block that is in your way and get re-inspired.

Mindfulness –Take a breath, take stock and get still listen internally to yourself to find out what is going on for you. If you pay attention, being blocked or feeling uninspired is information that you may need to take a break, do something differently or refill the creative well. It may be a short term solution or you may need to look at the bigger picture of your life and what is going on to evaluate long term.

Little and Often –Spend shorter amounts of time on something smaller and often. I find this really helpful when I am struggling to get back on track. It takes the pressure off of producing something big and it actually builds up my enthusiasm and inspiration to create again.

Daily Practice-Moving from little and often is daily practice-building the creative muscle back up again. Again, engaging in creative acts that don’t feel pressured or judgmental can help foster inspiration.

Do Something Different –Take some workshops and classes. I can’t say this enough and this is definitely my go to for new inspiration and just being around other artists. There are so many ways to express creatively and I find it fun and fascinating to see what other people are doing out there.

Refine Your Skills-Take some classes- Get back to the basic. Refresh and refocus your skills in your medium(s). We all get stale!

Write/Journal-Maybe you are not a writer and it may be helpful to journal about what is going on or write down some different ideas. Maybe write a poem or short story about your Block. Conversely if you are a writer maybe you can paint or sculpt your Block. The point is to have fun with it and loosen up!

Change of Scenery-Change your environment or change your perspective. I love to get out in nature. Go to this blog post Change of Scenery for a list of 10 suggestions.

Look To The Past- Review your work and see the path and the journey you have travelled so far. Maybe something is buried that you forgot about and you will be re-inspired.

Put Some Music On And Dance-WooHoo! Break out the dancing shoes and move your body to free up some of that stuck energy. Also putting on some good music when you don’t do it normally could be the inspiration you need to produce a different result.

Don’t Be Attached- The outcome is not being as important as process. What if you let yourself really enjoy the process of what you are creating? Pay attention to that-what does the pen feel like in your hand as you write (maybe if you type on a keyboard write with a pen), what does the paint feel like under the brush, or the clay in your hands…

Support-Get out of isolation and go on an artist date with someone. Being a creative person can be extremely isolating and it is good to get out of your environment (and head for that matter). Call a friend, join an artists group or collaborate with someone.

No Guilt- Maybe you are setting unrealistic expectations and putting pressure on yourself. Try setting a reasonable pace and reasonable goals. Remember tomorrow is another day and you can choose to play and connect to your joy. Guilt will only keep you stuck. Accept where you are-let go and let yourself be!

Making Meaning – Maybe you think what you’re doing is meaningless and not helping anyone. If so, it is time to connect to the bigger picture and re-connect to what is meaningful about your work. Ask others how it impacts or has impacted them.

Maybe you have tried all of these things and nothing is working. Your self-esteem, self -confidence and doubt are unforgiving. There is no relief and you have no more tricks or strategies to try. At this point, it could be really beneficial to work with a creativity coach or you may need to work with a therapist if there are deeper psychological issues holding you back. Although you may be in a painful place, having the awareness of where you are will help you get clear about what choices you need to make to move forward.

How do you get unblocked and re-inspired? Suggestions and comments are appreciated!

5 Questions To Spring Into Inspiration!

IMG_0267Spring is unfolding here in Colorado although it is snowing today. It’s a spring snowstorm so it is quite beautiful and thankfully not sticking on the roads.

Spring time may look and feel very different depending on where you live geographically. The differences may be very subtle if you live in a warm or cold climate year round. However, no matter where you live there are probably noticeable changes to you!

Spring has been associated with ideas of rebirth, renewal, and regrowth. The days start to get longer and nature is waking up from the winter (you may be too!) Being mindful and noticing how the season has shifted (even if it is subtle) can be an abundant source of creative inspiration.

For example, when I go for walks I am mindful of how the environment changes around me daily and more noticeably when there is a change in the seasons. It has been mostly brown this winter with little snow. I have begun to notice the small buds on the trees that look neon and bright green especially against the dark brown bark of the trees. There are light and dark pink flowers blooming on the crab apple trees, violet lilacs, deep purple irises and little, buttery yellow crocuses coming up through the ground. There are brilliant colors popping out everywhere!

Everyday outside something new unfolds and reveals a tremendous amount of beauty and inspiration! As I tune into nature it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to my creative work. It is also a good time for me to let go of the old or what is not working and begin working on new projects or ideas. It is literally a creative spring cleaning after the winter.

As you move through the season of Spring I challenge you to be mindful of the changes in your environment and ponder the following questions.

1.  What changes in nature have you noticed in these areas where you live?

2.  What colors are appearing, what smells and sounds are you noticing?

3.  What animals are returning or re-appearing?

4.  Where do you want to experience rebirth, renewal or re-growth in your creative pursuits?

5.  How can the season of Spring inspire you creatively?

 

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It’s Never Too Late…

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It’s hard to believe we are in February 2015! Do you feel like you got a late start planning on what you would like to accomplish this year? Or maybe you began a plan on the first day of the year but you are not sure why you set some goals? Do you understand how some of your goals are going to make you feel when you achieve them? Whatever the reason, the information in the post can help you get clear and get inspired to start today if you haven’t already!

You CAN consciously choose and create the kind of life you want to have and live! Thinking about why you want to achieve certain goals and how you are going to feel as a result of doing these things will contribute to how you will feel throughout your day to day existence and your life overall.

When you are clear about why you want X and how it will make you feel once you attain it, then you will be able to connect to the why (do it in the first place) and the feeling (because this makes me feel great!) as you try to accomplish the goal.

Yes, things will come up that may be annoying, challenging, frustrating and a whole host of other feelings. However, when you stay committed to creating the kind of life you want to live and one in which you feel good, you will keep choosing activities, situations and people that support what you want to create in your life.

As you think about and reflect on each area below make a specific list of what you would like to accomplish for the year in each of the following categories. Also write down what it will give you and how it will make you feel once you accomplish this task. And be sure to include an attained by date so that you can see your progress in this area. Set it up in a way that makes sense and is user friendly to you! There are examples provided in each of the categories to help you get started.

Financial

Set up a spending plan

I will have peace of mind and no stress if my finances are organized

Date attained by____

Health and Wellness

Eat better and exercise a few times a week

I will feel good and be able to do more activities with my family

Date attained by____

Spirituality

Pray and meditate

I will feel more connected to myself, my community, and the world at large

Date attained by____

Free Time

Go see live music and take music classes

I want to grow as a person and have fun

Date attained by____

Creativity

Make time to draw

I enjoy being creative and making things for other people

Date attained by____

Relationships

Spending more time with family and friends-

These connections are important to me

Date attained by____

Career

Connect with a mentor or get supervision

So I can grow as a professional in my field

Date attained by____

Making a Difference

Donating money or time to a charity

I would like to give back and help others

Date attained by____

It can be very challenging at times to create what you want in your life. If you are not in alignment with your thought and feelings and with what you want, it can make it much more difficult to stay connected to your vision over the long term.

As you face various obstacles knowing why you want to achieve something and how it will make you feel can be the fuel you need to keep moving in a direction that is closer to the kind of life you would like to create for yourself in 2015!

 

 

 

Have You Played Today?

As we move towards the end of summer, consider how much space are you allowing for play in your life and in your creative projects?

Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that summer is the only time to play! You may feel like there is more freedom and time to play and have fun in the summertime because winter is over, your kids are out of school, or you have a family vacation planned.

What is so important about playing and having fun?  You could possibly experience:

  • SpontaneityIMG_0308
  • Joy
  • Inspiration
  • Creativity
  • Light heartedness
  • Laughter
  • Curiosity
  • Wonder
  • Openness
  • Camaraderie
  • Connection
  • Overall positive feelings

These are also feelings you can potentially experience while playing in your creative life as well particularly if you are feeling blocked or stuck.

Instead of being attached to a particular outcome or finished product what would it be like to surrender and play with whatever medium you are working in?

Instead of being rigid or controlling, what would it be like to let go and use a color you have never used or tried a medium that maybe you had some fear around trying?

What if:

  • You turn you work upside down and keep working on it.
  • Make a collage.
  • Use a different tool to push the boundaries of your medium.
  • Write a poem or a short story.
  • Dance by a campfire and sing songs under the moonlight and stars.
  • Act out a play or a movie. (Charades anyone?)

Bringing a sense of playfulness has the potential to open new doors and new possibilities for your life and your creative work. It may also help you become un-stuck and be able to move forward with something you are currently working on or trying to figure out. If you don’t like the end result at least you will have fun!

Engaging in play can free up your restrictions, control, and maybe the heaviness and serious mindset you can get into when you are trying to create something or trying to “get it right”. Maybe you need to get it wrong for a little bit to shift into getting it right or the way you envisioned. Maybe the outcome will not be what you envisioned and it will turn out so much better than you could have ever imagined!

Watching children play is such a great reminder of how to play. It can look kind of crazy at times but they really engage their imagination in ways that the “adults” have forgotten. Coming up with different worlds, acting like different people, pretending, making up stories and adventures. What can be so fascinating are the limitless possibilities and potential for something new to arise.

photoSometimes the older you get the mundane aspects of life take over and you may feel stuck or confined into a routine and responsibilities. This is where play is so important. It can help to free up that energy in life and in your creativity. It can open the door to be goofy, laugh and lighten up. Who doesn’t want more fun and lightness in their lives?

I challenge you to take at least 5-10 minutes a day and make it a point to do something playful! It can be as simple as drawing a doodle, hula hoop, or trying a different creative medium to work in. It may inspire you to make play a larger part of your daily life again!

I’d love to hear how you played today.

Manifest Destiny!

What Will You Create in 2014?

I believe that we are all artists in our own lives we create every day without even thinking about it. We create by how we dress, how and what we cook, what activities fill our time and so on. Can you imagine what it would be like to be more intentional and conscious of how and what we are creating our lives?

We are already six weeks into the New Year and if you haven’t thought about what you want to create for 2014 now is a great time! One of the first steps to being more intentional and conscious of what we want to create is to figure out what has not worked or is currently not working in our lives.

In my last post, Letting Go, I presented some questions I use to help me let go of what is not working for me in my life. This process helps me clear out the gunk and provides space for me to think about what I want to intentionally create for myself. The following are some of the questions I reflect upon and write about to help me intentionally and consciously create what I want in my life.

  1. What, do I want more than anything in 2014?
  2. What goals would really inspire me and put a smile on my face if I accomplished them by the end of the year?
  3. What goals do I want to accomplish in each of the following areas, why do I want them and how will it make me feel to achieve them?  (Career, Finances, Health, Free Time, Family Time, Personal Growth, Spirituality and Creativity)
  4. How can I bring more fun and play into 2014?
  5. Who will I have to become to have all that I want in 2014?
  6. What is my theme for 2014?
  7. If I did nothing else, what three things would make 2014 a success for me?  (This last question identifies the top 3 goals to focus on)

All of these questions help me dig a little deeper into what I want to focus on in the upcoming year. I can be intentional and conscious of what I am creating in my life. It creates an awareness of how I spend my time and energy and with this awareness I am able to consciously choose if I want to do something or not. This process helps ensure that my current actions are serving my larger vision and purpose for my life.

Manifest Destiny!  Take some time for yourself and try this exercise out to determine what will you create in 2014!