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Blooming Blog

Nurture Your Creativity by Doing Nothing!

Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

Isn’t this the most delightful quote? What I love about it is the permission it grants to “do nothing,” not often a perspective relished by modern women. In our society, productivity is clearly more valued than idle time. However, creativity theorists also support the value of idle time in the creative process. Many major discoveries have been recognized after periods of time away from work. Of course, hard work in your creative endeavor is also needed in order to move forward, but knowing when to step back is also a necessary component. This is that “aha” moment that may be familiar to you as you recall a person’s name later in the day after being unable to retrieve it in the moment or unexpectedly solved a vexing problem.

The need for down-time is a new habit that I would encourage you to develop. Not only is this a good practice for your overall health and well-being, but it can also nurture creativity.

Go ahead and take a moment or an afternoon just for you!
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Daydream...

How is that done, you may ask? How do you keep going when you feel uncertain or tired?

Keeping up one’s energy is truly a matter of staying connected to your own creative direction. Granted, it doesn’t have to be what most people traditionally identify as creative. That connection can take the form of daily problem-solving or daydreaming.

Daydreaming and daily problem-solving both share the quality of distracting you from obligations and usual responsibilities. Having a bit of space throughout your day offers a moment to breathe. Stopping for a few minutes can revitalize your energy. Exercise, meditation, or sitting down with a cup of tea offer a break from typical daily responsibilities, and can help you to re-center yourself on what’s important to you, as well as those around you.

By honoring your own needs, you are engaging in self-care, which can be a challenge for many women who traditionally display a tendency to put others first. Put yourself first by treating yourself as you would a friend and you have taken the first step toward energizing yourself. Giving yourself permission to daydream - not to have every moment of every day scheduled - opens the door to increased energy and creativity.

Creativity thrives in the absence of over-scheduled days. This is part of the reason that free time and play are so important for children. The experience of feeling bored often occurs just prior to a creative breakthrough which energizes you! However if over-scheduled, you never have the “space” in which to feel bored. Those who have never learned how to manage the frustration of feeling bored have not had the chance to direct that stored energy toward a satisfying or creative activity.

One basic strategy to keep moving forward when you feel drained is to break your activities into smaller tasks. Accomplishing these small successes energizes you and helps you redefine yourself as capable and confident which always contributes to positive outcomes, creating a cycle of success instead of stagnation. Bloom where you’re planted and energize yourself!
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Energize yourself!

Spring is a time of rejuvenation – who can’t help but feel energized by all the beautiful flowers and trees in bloom at this time of year? And the concept of rejuvenation applies to your own creative process as well. It can be all too easy to become distracted or sidetracked by leaky faucets, the laundry, or even a leisurely stroll.  Read More 
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What Made You Smile as a Child?

I recently attended the funeral of a long-time family friend – someone who had known me all my life. Reminiscing with their daughter at the visitation and after the funeral brought back many childhood memories and shared experiences. Those discussions also sparked the question, what made you smile – as a child? And how is that important in our lives as adults?  Read More 
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Everyday Creativity

Creative expression is the song of your Soul. ~ Deanna Pledge

Creativity does make the Soul sing. It is absolutely one of the most joyful ways to bring satisfaction and connection into your daily life. I’m sure you have heard me suggest (perhaps more than you would like to hear ;-) that creativity is not just the realm of artists, poets, and musicians. Even though I have provided general suggestions, I wanted to share a personal example today in the hopes of making creativity far more accessible, and give you a concrete strategy to get started.  Read More 
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Be Yourself!

The function of education is to help you from childhood not to imitate anybody, but be yourself all the time.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Being ourselves as children may not have required as much effort as it can take in adulthood. Connecting with your own authentic self can spark creativity and joy, not only a better quality of life, but also a greater sense of satisfaction. . Read More 
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Creativity: Getting Started

"Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity."
— Chuck Jones
Warner Brothers animator

As this week’s quote suggests, discomfort is often part of the creative process. Not only do we have to give ourselves permission to create, but we have to be ready for the uncertainty that accompanies the process. Part of being creative includes not knowing exactly what comes next.
For many in our culture, particularly as women who maintain order and structure in family schedules, this uncertainty is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Learning how to move forward without knowing what comes next can be an important life skill as well as an important factor in allowing yourself to be creative.

Think about the last time you felt anxious, nervous, or uncomfortable…what did you do? If you are like most people, you probably tried to move away from those feelings as quickly as possible! Being able to “sit with” those feelings, however, allows you to move forward in new ways. Responding quickly to get rid of uncomfortable feelings actually limits the options available to you and reinforces old habits. Old habits often move us toward the known rather than the unknown. If you are at a point in your life when you are ready to explore new paths, thinking of these feelings as excitement about the changes may help you continue to move forward. Re-framing how you label your experiences as “good” or “bad” can give you greater potential to try new activities.

Try starting your creative process by thinking about what excites you. Make a list and figure out your best starting point. Possibilities include beginning with what requires the least amount of effort or if you thrive on challenges, try the opposite end which may include signing up for classes or working with a buddy to help you continue moving forward. Get excited and get started!
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Creativity

"In every work of genius, we recognize our once rejected thoughts." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love this quote by Emerson, because it invites each of us to re-visit our creative endeavors. Not only was he a creative thinker, but I feel he has unintentionally captured the experience of us as women, who often re-visit our creative thoughts periodically throughout our lives, picking up the threads of previously rejected projects.

The reason for rejecting creative pursuits usually has to do with competing demands. As women, we often experience what psychologists call “role strain”. Even though you may not have heard of the term before, I’m certain you are familiar with the feeling. “I forgot to go to the grocery story – what can we have for dinner? I don’t have time to stop before gymnastics or the ball game or that community meeting…” I can almost feel the frantic energy that often fuels the daily lives of busy women around the world. The details may differ, but the experiences are universal. And the outcome is often the same as well – deferring our creative efforts until a later time.

But let’s back up - do you even think of yourself as creative? I know many people hold the mistaken notion that only artists, musicians, or geniuses are creative. NO! Please excuse my emphasis, but that belief is simply not true. Creativity involves daily problem-solving such as figuring your way out of the types of daily dilemmas described above just as much as it involves creating in ways that we typically associate with creativity. I like to distinguish the varying aspects of creativity as existing on a continuum from “Big C” creativity to “little c” creativity. We are all creative….just in different ways at different times.

Let me challenge you this week to begin thinking of yourself as creative – perhaps for the first time or maybe it is “again” as part of that cycle of life progressing through different phases. What’s important in the challenge is giving yourself permission to be creative and that often requires a shift in how you see yourself first…enjoy!  Read More 
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