Finding our Inner Artist

June 8, 2010

By Dr. Carolyn Anderson

Creativity is harnessing universality and making it flow through your eyes
Peter Koestenbaum

Blocked Creativity
Many of us wish we were more creative. Some of us even sense that we are at some level but can’t seem to tap into our creative forces and realize our dreams. We want to write but are blocked. We want to paint but can’t visualize. We want to dance but don’t move. I think we have to stop telling ourselves it is too late to pursue our passions. Stop telling ourselves that dreams don’t matter and that we have to be pragmatic. Stop fearing what others will think of us. And stop telling ourselves that we are not creative.

Finding Your Creativity
I believe we all have it in us. All of us can be creative if given the chance to unleash it. Retirement could be a catalyst for finding your creativity. Sometimes it takes giving up a career you have done for years and really taking the time to follow your passions. When you do this you can uncover a creative side that you never knew you had. I have had patients in my practice that finally after retirement had the time to pursue photography, painting, writing, music, sculpting or acting and they are now embracing these activities. Their own personal creative juices are flowing and enriching their lives.

My mom has always loved to sing and since retirement has pursued her passion. She has entertained at Senior’s Centre’s and even cut a couple of CDs in a studio for fun. She is having a blast and feeling the energy that comes from unleashing your creative forces.

Unleashing Your Creativity
So how can we unleash our creativity? One way is to spend time thinking about it and developing it. There is no such thing as an excellent first draft. Usually our first ideas or inspirations are not exceptional. If you look through history many of the geniuses such as Leonardo da Vinci wrote lists of ideas that could be developed further. He was famous for his pages and pages of notebooks. Thomas Edison used to list out all the inventions he thought possible. Most geniuses list their ideas and then pursue the ones they find most compelling. Write a list of your inspirations and ideas. We often need a long list to hit on one that is really compelling.

Artists Way by Julia CameronOften people categorize themselves as not very creative. But all of us have the ability to be creative. We all have amazing potential. I recently read Julia Cameron’s impactful book The Artists Way where she discusses very practical ways to unleash your creativity.

Creativity Exercises

One idea is to write something called the morning pages. She recommends waking in the morning and picking up your journal and writing non-stop in what is called stream of conscious mode for 3 pages. You do not need to have any regard for whether or not this is grammatically correct or is even making sense. You can write the same thing over in different ways. Just follow the flow of your thoughts and keep the pen moving. There is no wrong way to do the morning pages. Nobody is allowed to read your morning pages but you. If you write about anger or negativity, that is fine because you are writing about what you need to process. All of this is standing between you and your creativity. Try to do the morning pages consistently for the next month. Do them as soon as you wake up and see the impact this simple practice will have on unleashing your creativity.

The second practice is something she calls The Artist’s Date. This is a block of time about 2 hours per week that you set aside to nurture your creative consciousness. This is time you spend with yourself in solitude and really listen to yourself and what resonates in your heart. Take a long country walk, a solo trip to the beach to watch the sunset, a visit to a great antique store or to an art gallery. Whatever you feel like really doing. This time with yourself will increase your capacity for great creative work and lead you to what your heart desires.

Creativity is often seen as a spiritual force. “There is a central will to create that is part of our human heritage and potential. Because creation is an act of faith and faith is a spiritual issue, so is creativity”. So go out and find something your heart desires to pursue. Unleash your inner artist and find your potential. It is never too late.

What’s your creative side?

About the Author: Dr. Carolyn Anderson is the founder of Impowerage. Her mission in life is to empower older adults with the information they need to continue living healthy active lifestyles.

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