This blog is the fourth in a five-part series on Enhancing Your Creativity. Hub LA is reposting with permission from Jana’s blog.
“Creativity occurs in the moment, and in the moment we are timeless.” - Julia Cameron
Last week we talked about time and how we can use time as an excuse or a limitation to prevent ourselves from accessing our greater creative capacities. Which leads us to this week’s topic, how can you use time to serve you and enhance your creativity?
Simply put, you stop paying attention to time and you get present. You become aware and start paying attention to what is actually going on right now in the present moment.
Now there is a lot of talk (to the point of almost being cliché) of being here now and being present. I think it’s a vitally important conversation but it can also lead to a lot of confusion. What the heck does being present even mean?
For starters lets look at what being present isn’t. So often we are in the mental land of make-believe (nope not the Mr. Rodger’s Land of Make Believe, although it’s a fun throw-back) known as the past and the future. Being caught up in the past shows up as us replaying old stories colored with the tones of emotions, rehashing a heated conversation, or longing for what have felt like a happier time. Projecting over-selves into the future involves playing through scenarios that haven’t happened and may never happen. It can include worrying about a meeting, planning what we will say to someone, dreaming of a better future, or playing the mental game of trying to “figure everything out” in a linear, logical way. (I sense a future blog post on this topic already!)
The need to rush into the future to figure things out, actually kills our creativity. Creativity thrives in being present, staying curious with the process of life and iterating along the way.
Reflecting on the past and planning for the future are important faculties, but the problem occurs when you are always in the past or the future mode. That’s when you lose the opportunity to enjoy the vitality of the present moment, which is the only place you are actually able to create and make change through the wondrous vehicle of your body.
So what helps us to be more present?
Two very simple ways that help you be more present (and creative):
1) Move your body.
Every day. Walk, run, dance, do yoga, play soccer. Please do what feels like fun and not torture, your body will thank you for it. Moving helps to get your energy out of your head (that likes to live in the past and the future) and circulates the energy into the rest of your body which is living in the present. It’s a win-win, when you move your body you make it happy and you are enhancing your creativity too!
2) Pay attention.
Attention is a radical act of connection. Especially in today’s frenetic world. It connects you to the present moment. Every moment in life is an opportunity you can use to practice paying more attention. Start simply, using the 5 senses that connect your body with the sensory world. (Are we back in Kindergarten or what!? Hooray!) For example you can pay more attention to the way food tastes as you eat it, to the way a hug feels, to listening to what a person is actually saying to you. Whenever you feel overwhelmed in the past or the future lands of make-believe, just stop and pay attention to the world around you, even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
If you constantly feel like time is speeding up, its time to try slowing down.
CALL TO ACTION: It’s often when we feel at our busiest or when we feel we have absolutely no time, that what we truly need is to relax, chill out and get present in our bodies. This is super important to do especially during the holiday season, so next time you may feel triggered by the past stories (ahem when spending time family and old friends) or are rushing ahead in your mind to future events (work parties, social obligations, shopping, travel). Just stop and get grounded. Literally sit or lay on the ground for 10 minutes and just feel the earth or floor beneath your body. If you are in a crowded place, go excuse yourself and do it in a bathroom. If you practice yoga, you can do a 10 minute shavasana. If that made no sense to you, then just put your hands on your tummy and notice your breath. Feel where your body meets the earth such as your butt on the chair and your feet on the floor. Notice the temperature of the air around you, notice if there are sounds or smells. You do not need to fix or change anything during these 10 minutes. Just be aware and gently pay attention.
This a call to action, that I highly recommend you put on rinse and repeat.
Jana Carrey, MA, is the Founder of Creative Spirit Awakening, a dynamic form of transformational coaching & mentoring aimed to empower artists, writers, creative entrepreneurs and global game changers. She is a playful visionary, creativity coach & consultant, as well as an artist, writer and an intuitive.