A note on CREATIVE FLOW….
I’m “working” today. Wasn’t planning on it. It’s a sunny, gorgeous Vancouver Sunday. But since my kid is running around the block with his neighbour buddies, I’m using this time to write, respond, vision. Last week I filmed in LA, curled up with friends, worked hard, lounged. Had ideas in between film takes, took it easy, made big decisions, put big things into motion, and put ice on my eyes before photo shoots to make up for lack of sleep. I’ve got a two hour meeting tomorrow and the rest of the day will include park, bike, picnic (and I’ll probably come up with an idea on my bike for something new or better and text about it from the stop sign).
This is what creative flow is like for me. And this is why I’m mentioning working on a sunny Sunday.
It’s taken me a few years to dissolve the guilt of working when I “shouldn’t be” and NOT working when I “should be”…
A lot of people respond with a sigh of “I’m glad I’m not the only one.” And, “Thanks for the permission to go with my own flow.”
I would also add to my personal creative flow notes that…when I’m writing a book, which ends up being about 3 or 4 months out of every year, I go long periods of time without brushing my hair or doing anything other than walking the dog and ordering-in Pad Thai (mild, extra peanuts and cilantro, please). That’s the flow that’s called for, and it’s my idea of goooood times.
I can also ignore a lot of things until I feel sincerely inspired to respond — inspiration over guilt/obligation. And I tend to go on manic productivity highs after a week without dairy or gluten, or after seeing a great live concert. Wheat free AND a concert that week? Look OUT.
FREEDOM & GUILT
When we exercise our Freedom, then Guilt creep can happen. That guilt is similar to the resistance that occurs when we’re breaking negative habits. It’s a natural response, it’s totally annoying, and it’s great tension for busting old patterns and laying down new neuropathways.
Or more accurately, and paradoxically, Freedom is a way of being that you have surrender to with great discipline.
(Unless you were raised in an ashram, and liberation consciousness is like, no biggie for you. The rest of you, keep reading.)
You can train yourself into a freer way of being if you have enough self-love to honour when you most naturally want to work, play, and rest. It’s so ironic, but we need courage to follow our natural impulses — mostly because social and work structures manage to wring those instincts right out of us. Conform, achieve, conform, achieve. Hi ho, hi ho.
5 pointers for developing freedom-based creativity & work habits
1. Fierce but flexible is the mantra. Be really really focused on your vision — the capacity to lock on to a dream and tune out distractions is the difference between an idea and an empire. But be bendy about how you’re going to pull off your ambitions. Life might show you a circuitous-but-magical backroad to your goal if you’re awake enough to see the turn-pike — and daring enough to take it.
2. Pay attention to your core desired feelings. Really, that kind of clarity could overhaul your ambition, and it will most definitely create shifts in how you go about getting stuff done. In my business, there are a ton of tried n’ true things one could do to sell more, wrangle more, be more popular and all that, but if those tactics don’t make me feel incredible doing them, then I’m going to pass — without a second thought. Like… I “should” probably tour more. But that doesn’t help me experience “union,” so I don’t go on long gig n’ media hustle trips. I “should” probably maybe kinda listen to my accountant. But since one of my core desired feelings is “golden,” well, I’m going to do what I want with my gold.
3. Honour the muse. When she comes, she’s serious. And she’s not coming back if you don’t keep inviting her in when she knocks.
4. Nap when needed. And anywhere you can. Seriously. Here’s a mind trick for all of us productivity hounds. Tell yourself this: “If I take a break, I will actually be more productive.” This is true. It’s scientifically proven. But you are also “allowed” to take a break because your body and mind really need it. No proof or reasoning required.
5. Let the love take you over. Enthusiasm saves lives, I say. Be stoked about being stoked! And then do your stoke when and where you want to. You will be thanked for the good that comes of it.
Share with fellow creatives xo
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Photo credit: Catherine Just