While creativity may be a feminine muse who is temperamental at times, the way to attract her into our lives is masculine and direct. Opposites attract. They are meant to be together. Something as elusive as creativity isn’t found through equally mysterious behavior. It is found through discipline and determination.
Creativity Strikes in Tragedy or Near Death Experiences
Now I will qualify that there are times in life where we have a shocking experience. Maybe we almost died in a car accident. Maybe our spouse leaves us. Maybe something we relied on fully and completely comes undone at the seams. These moments cause us to pause long enough to look at the meaning of our lives and the things we have accomplished so far. They are often the doorway for awakening.
But these are not the kinds of experiences we want to rely on in order to wake up the muse. If we become reliant on pain, then we become addicted to suffering and drama. We unwittingly bring drama into our lives. But we are actually tearing down our own lives and the lives of others for the sake of art.
Focus on the Quantity and Let Quality Reveal Itself
No, a much more predictable and reliable source of creativity is having the discipline to produce work regardless of its quality. Julia Cameron, writer of The Artist’s Way, has a prayer that goes, “I’ll take care of the quantity, you take care of the quality.”
For the artist, nine pages out of ten might be thrown into the trash. Yet because they are committed to their art, that tenth page renders enough material worth sharing.
Many artists or writers commit themselves to write as their very first action of the day. The beauty of this commitment is that procrastination can’t get a handle on us: we have already decided before we go to sleep the night before that we are going to do the most important and most challenging thing as soon as we get out of bed.
Sync your Circadian Rhythms with Nature
A mentor of mine, Cate Stillman, says for anyone who is battling depression to take a walk facing the rising sun every morning; the first energy of the day is sacred. If we spend our time doing something sacred during those hours, we start the day right and it makes it harder for the rest of the day to go wrong.
Many people who suffer from clinical depression stay up late. Their circadian rhythms are off. They are living out of sync with nature and out of sync with themselves. Some people believe they are born night owls but this is actually something that can be easily changed. The easiest way to reset circadian rhythms is to go camping and don’t use any electronics. When it gets dark, the only light you use is the campfire and the night sky. Darkness secretes melatonin- the sleep hormone. Artificial light blocks it and makes it harder for a person to go to bed.
Self Care is a Must
There are so many positive habits that fall into place when we go to bed at a proper hour and wake up at a proper hour- we start our day with its most sacred energy. The Yogis call this time Brahmanuhurta, God’s time. Ayurveda says that the ether element predominates in the early hours of the morning- there is a stillness in the air. This time is excellent for meditation, creativity, or doing the hardest thing (yet magically making it feel easy.)
Waking up early isn’t something that can be done on the tailend of carelessness. Waking up early is preceded by a host of good choices the day before, every day before. If not, it is not sustainable. If I eat junk food at 10pm and go to bed at 1 am, I might be able to force myself to wake up at 5:30 am a few times. Eventually though the body’s needs catch up. The food I ate has to finish digesting, the body has to recover, and within three days I am back in bed sleeping until 11 am.
So if I want to cultivate longevity of creativity, it starts with making choices in which I treat my body like a temple that is lovingly tended to: I eat healthier meals earlier in the night. I wind down hours before bed. I read instead of watching television, etc.
Establish a Goal and a Purpose
When I was a student at the School of Metaphysics, there was one equation teachers drilled into my head: Goal + Purpose + Activity= Success. This is because it’s hard to wake up in the morning and be disciplined about anything if I don’t have a vision of who I am becoming through the process.
Who I am becoming must be fleshed out in the mind and felt in the heart. The goal in the equation is the physical, tangible measurement of what gets accomplished on the other side of my actions. The purpose is my why- why does it matter whether or not I do the hard thing first every day? Purpose forces me to consider the larger picture of my life and whether or not my daily actions align with my ideals.
Feeling truly connected to a goal and a purpose allows me to draw from deep wells of energy. Those deep wells are what inspire me toward discipline. I can wake up in the morning and know deep inside my cells that I am waking up and getting on the horse today. The deep wells of energy are there when motivation is low. They remind me life is better when I make the harder choice now. As the alchemist says, I am refining lead into gold.
Do you want to get connected in purpose, discipline and self-care? Check out our events at Elemental Yoga or contact me for a free goal setting session.
Me at First Light of Day