The death of creativity
Once upon a time there was a girl who loved nothing more than to write. For her, it was a way of dealing with her difficult childhood and to feel safe. One day her primary school teacher tore up one of her stories and said: “We do not tolerate such fanciful ideas. Nobody wants to hear the thoughts of a silly little girl. Write a proper story”. On that day, the girl stopped writing. It took nearly 20 years before she could hear the call to write again rise in her soul. On that day she picked up a pen again.
How “shame wounds” can block your creative flow
Unfortunately this is not an isolated case. Studies show that almost 1 in every 3 people harbours such a “shame wound” in the context of their own creativity. Many of us have had similar experiences to the girl in the story – we were not taken seriously, criticised or laughed at. The result: we have internalised beliefs such as “I cannot write”, “I can’t sing” or “I’m not creative”.
The girl’s story shows how vulnerable we are when we express our inner self, but also that we have a deep natural urge to express ourselves creatively that can never be completely silenced. The deepest nature of our being is creative, and our desire for self-expression is in fact our desire to “share our soul with the world”.
But instead of being creative, many of us become consumers. We listen to music instead of singing or making music ourselves. We admire the works of great artists instead of painting, weaving, making, dancing or producing films ourselves. In extreme cases, we numb ourselves with alcohol, or some kind of intoxication, excessive sport, etc. in order not to feel the pain that our innermost being is not allowed to express itself. We feel the pressure of what lies in us like a hidden treasure that wants to escape to the outside world. This results in tension, a dissatisfaction with life and a deeply felt emptiness.
The importance of being aligned with yourself
Letting our natural creative flow dry up can even make us sick, because we do not live in harmony with our true nature. “Musicians have to make music, artists have to paint, poets have to write if they want to live in peace with themselves,” said Abraham Maslow, the founding father of humanistic psychology.
Get in touch with your creative source
Each and every one of us already has everything it takes to be creative. The only question is: how do we access our creative source? How can we tap into and find the artist in us? This is where Yoga can help us.
Create a space that is free from judgment
Creative ideas can only emerge if they are not immediately silenced by the judgmental opinions of the thinking mind. In creative self-expression, there is no right or wrong – just as there is no right or wrong yoga pose. Every body is different, every human being is unique. What is, is allowed to be; what wants to come forth, is allowed to reveal itself, without censorship. Like yoga, creativity is a path to truthfulness.
Perseverance and letting go
In yoga we know the principles of abhyasa and vairagya. We need perseverance and self-discipline to get back on the mat every day, despite all distractions and our impulse to resist. At the same time, it is important to practice yoga unintentionally and to let go of the attachment we place on the fruits of our practice. We need to replicate qualities our writing habits if we want to fully develop our creativity. It is a common misconception that one has to wait for the Muse’s kiss to be creative. Pablo Picasso explains this succinctly:
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you at work.”
Give your ego the heave-ho!
Have you ever been mesmerised by a concerto pianist? They appear to merge with the piano and music. It’s as if the sounds do not just come from the pianist. Such brilliant musicians and artists connect to a source that does not come from within them. They give their ego the heave-ho and feel like a vehicle for a force that is beyond their comprehension. When I write or illustrate my books, I feel as though I am being guided. It flows from within me somewhere and I do not and cannot stop until it is complete. I then stand back in wonder and say: “Did I really do all that?” Sound familiar?
Powerful, authentic writing stems from the ability to merge with what we write, from the fact that our ego dissolves and the words can emerge through. We are the vessel. There is no expectation of success clinging and dragging down our creative process.
The creative process
If we manage to step aside and not let out ego interfere, we enter a creative flow. In this “state”, the writing, pairing, singing, drawing all flow freely and we act as the channel. It is the same with yoga. Those same blissful moments in your yoga practice where effort and resistance dissolve and we suddenly feel that our breath is moving us, we feel as though we are floating.
Being at one with ourselves
It could be said that a trait of a genius or an intuitive with a keen imagination, is a person who seeks to be alone to feel in close touch with themselves and Nature and be inspired by this sense of balance. Already we are drawer closer to this sense of being “at one”, state that we approach through the practice of yoga. Moments of being alone, of retreat, of silence and of listening are necessary to feel how connected we are to everything. They also help us switch to receiving and open us up to inspiration – the muse’s kiss.
Silence your voice of doubt. Heal your shame wound
Both the practice of yoga and the creative journey contain blockages and self-doubt. Every so often we feel stuck again, paralysed and immobile, whether physically or mentally. And we all hear those inner voices whispering to us that everyone else is talented, better and successful – but not us. Vincent van Gogh once said, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
Yoga as well as creativity is about getting moving, facing up to your self-doubts silencing those harsh judgments from teachers. Just start with a deep breath or a few words to mark an empty page, the rest will follow by itself. One thing leads to another and we get into the flow.
Yogitivity© – embracing the benefits of yoga to boost your creativity as a writer. Feel free to join one of our Yogitivity Workshops (held in the glorious grounds of Rudding Park) using yoga to improve your creativity as a writer.