When do you create the most? What are the best conditions for you to implement your creativity and put it into real tangible goals?
I have noticed that there have been several periods in my life when I have been uncreative and distracted. In these moments I felt entirely unmotivated to pursue my creative goals. My mind was overloaded with obligations and negative thoughts. I was feeling a lot of stress and was preoccupied with worry about the future outcomes of my choices or the past choices I had already made that were now guiding my current circumstances. During these times, I experienced a lot of irritation and self-accusation. The flow of inspiration was strained and I was feeling no drive or energy to get into action and materialise any of my creative endeavours. So what was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I perform? Why was I feeling so “displaced” as if I was in the wrong place at the wrong time?
After a long self-awareness trek, I arrived at the precious understanding of what was causing all this disturbance. I wasn’t present. In other words, I wasn’t living in the present time and place. My mind was constantly lingering between the past (fears, nostalgia, and bad experiences) and the hypothetical “what if” future (expectations, projections – both fearful and pleasant, and negative or wishful thinking) without ever considering the NOW moment! And it is in the NOW that we humans actually have the power to create. It is the only spatio-temporal frame that allows us to be efficient, artistic, and happy about our creativity. It came as a great shock to me to realize that despite the fact that I consider myself a creative person, I was actually adopting a lifestyle totally incompatible and corrosive towards my creativity. It took a lot of effort and practice to implement new lifestyle habits in order to tune myself back to the NOW moment, to start cultivating and growing my creative muscle again. I have adopted seven initial habits that when successfully carried out helped me to exist in the NOW and I would love to share them with you:
#1. Tune your senses to the NOW: feel, look, smell, hear, touch. Train these senses to observe and analyse only the elements of the present environment at the present time. Enhance your perceptions to stay conscious of the present moment and analyse only information from the NOW. This attitude prevents your mind from wandering around the past or the hypothetical future and strengthens your focus on your actions in the only place that they can take place: NOW!
#2. Be grateful for everything you have or experience right NOW. Show your gratitude for the water you are drinking, the sun that warms you, the house you live in, the friends surrounding you right now, the wonderful song you are listening to, Here and Now. And do that repeatedly during your day. Gratitude is a powerful, positive emotion that provides us with joy and energy to move on, while at the same time dispels the negativity and emotions of fear, stress or anger that nest into our daily behaviour.
#3. Embrace your emotions. Cultivate your emotional intelligence, welcome all the emotions you may experience, learn how to decode their message. Accept the fact that your negative emotions indicate there is something you do not like in your life right now and you need to deal with it. Accept your positive emotions that indicate you are on the right track. Welcome each emotion and say: I am feeling [emotion, e.g. fear, stress, anger] and it is OK!
#4. Focus on your inner voice (gut feeling). The more you listen to it the more you get synchronized with the NOW, thus permitting your creative ideas to flow and flourish. If you are used to trusting your inner voice, you receive the most reliable information about what choice to take Here and Now. Even when your rational mind tells you otherwise, the inner voice will surprise you positively with its accuracy. By the way, it only works well when you are tuned to the NOW!
#5. Make the “bold” decision to reorganize your daily life. Organizing all the pressing things you have to do will take away a lot of stress. This stress may be imperceptible in small amounts, but when it is even slightly present it is enough to preoccupy you with negative thoughts and emotions that take you far away from Now. Start dealing with the small daily stuff you have been postponing, such as paying old bills, decluttering your cupboard or the “doomed” corners of your house that have become a storage space for useless items. It’s also important to take care of relationships that are causing stress. Have that conversation with your friend with whom you have had a conflict, and clear out the situation. Schedule that special date with your partner or lunch with a friend you keep meaning to spend time with. Reorganize your professional agenda and start prioritizing the duties you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
#6. Start introducing happiness into your daily routine, from the simplest things to the most complex. Use a colourful soap with a nice scent. Wear your favourite clothes. Listen to the music you prefer in the morning before going to work or on your commute. After a difficult day, promise yourself a nice gift, like a great meal, a warm bath, a drink with your friends. Put at least ten happy occasions into your daily activity. Even simply acknowledging them will provide you with a wave of positive emotions that will enhance your focus on the NOW without the danger of ruminating and feeling upset.
#7. Look at the beauty around you. Great psychologist William James supported this idea: “Your reality goes where your eyes look.” Aesthetics was very important to Greek philosophers. “Cosmos” meant something aesthetically beautiful as well as something divinely in order, thus the “cosmetics” meant the jewelry and “cosmos” means the universe. When people are surrounded by beautiful environments, their psychology is uplifted, they are more focused on the environment they see and they experience strong positive emotions like awe, admiration, joy; these emotions are important enhancers of creativity.
Through my personal experience as well as my professional experience as a psychologist and creative coach, I have noticed that the periods when we feel most creative are when we stay entirely focused on the present moment, NOW and HERE. Our full attention is on what we want to create, our senses are focused on the present environment, our mind is used only for thinking about our creative process and nothing else.
What do you do to be in the present moment? Have you been using these or other techniques to reinforce the continuum “Presence-Creativity” in your life? What are the results or the obstacles you have observed?
Last modified: February 27, 2017