I’ll never forget in graduate school when we were instructed to pick out a slab of stone and “just begin carving”. I had never once carved into stone before and had no idea what I was doing. The perfectionist in me wanting to chisel the likings of David, but at best I was aimlessly chipping away, sweating profusely, and cursing myself for taking this course.
The intuitive creation process was a far cry from the type of art I prided myself on creating. It had nothing to do with controlled-masterpiece-making, it was to simply let the process show us what we needed to see.
And, like most things that required letting go, giving up control, or getting out of my head, I fought it every step of the way.
But, what I began to notice was that the finished product was a mirror, rich in symbolism and messages.
The one thing I have witnessed in guiding others through the creative process is that when the voice is not there, either due to physical or emotional reasons, creativity is a mode of communication.
Both with others and with ourselves.
It’s a chance to be seen. A chance to tell our story. A chance to know our story.
The creative process is so closely connected to the soul.
If you watch a child create, they do so very freely and without instruction. They aren’t trying to win artist of the year, or host a gallery viewing, they are staying present and allowing the energy to flow through them.
Unfortunately, we quickly learn to color in the lines. To create for others, and for rewards. We look to our parents or teachers for guidance, to tell us what is right and what is true. And while this is not necessarily bad or wrong, we begin an outward search for our answers.
We learn that we cant trust ourselves or that we cant trust our feelings. Then we say things like “I’m not intuitive” or “I’m not creative”. When really, being intuitive and creative is part of being human.
So, where to begin when you have cut yourself off from this connection and form of expression for so long?
First things first, let go of judging yourself or striving for perfect. You do not need to be a professional artist to create. It’s about letting go of expectations and outcomes and simply trusting yourself.
Give yourself time and space to connect with your heart, and allow the process to unfold. There are no mistakes here.
Pouring your energy into worrying about whether you are doing it right, or about how it looks, will only block your intuition. Trust yourself and create from the heart center, not the mind. Be present with the experience, allowing yourself to remain open to intuitive messages that might come through.
It doesn’t have to be all serious and hard work, either. In fact, thats a good indicator that you are in your head. Experiment, play, and really loosen up: use your hands, and make a mess. Get to a place where you are flowing, using the process of creating as an almost extended mindfulness meditation.
- Put on some music.
- Focus on the sensation of movement: the movement of muscles in the hands, the breath as it moves in and out of the lungs.
- Approach the creative process with intent and practice mindfully, and consciously. The idea here is to simply be present with yourself.
- As you are moving through the creative process take note of what is coming up for you. Be aware of any thoughts or feelings that are coming up. If you would like, write these down in a journal.
Creative expression is an ability we all possess. It’s a tool for self discovery, and a process that connects us deeply with our inner wisdom, strengthening our understanding our ourselves and unearthing the many layers that make us who we are.