Saturday, July 20, 2013

Harnessing My Chi

watercolor pencil 
It's been a little over a month since my 365 project  wrapped up, and let me tell you, I have had to exercise insane amounts of patience while my muse is off gallivanting on her summer vacation. She's due to return any day now, but in the meantime, I've taken my own little mental vacations- an evening here, a weekend there- to just decompress.

It's not that I haven't been inspired. I have a bounty of ideas to pull from, but somehow the days have slipped by without much art getting made. I blame it on creative burnout. I showed up for myself so much over the last creative year of my life that I simply needed a break from showing up. A year ago, I would have let my inner critic tear me a new one over this "wasted time," but now I just tell her to take a hike. I'm harnessing my chi. 

I must admit though, a few weeks is enough for me to recognize that I deeply miss that intentional  connection with my creative spirit that occurs when I dive deep into the creative process. While I know that showing up and committing to some play time with my paints and papers may very well bridge the gap between burnout mode and creative connection, my cluttered mind makes me hesitate.

But rather than getting depressed at my lack of creative output, I've been spending time combating the mental & environmental clutter. I think I finally (finally!) recognize that this just needs to be a regular form of maintenance in my creative life. Instead of waiting for the physical and mental clutter to pile up and spending days or weeks working through it, I need to check in with myself on a regular basis. I need to move some things around. I need to move the energy around to keep a healthy flow.

This week, it's looking like this:
Organizing ephemera for collage, cleaning up the project files on my computer, sorting through a mass of photos, and writing affirmations against all the unproductive thoughts that inevitably creep in during such down time.

I've been jotting all these little tasks and affirmations down in my daily planner as a way to recognize that I am making progress in my creative life. I know these baby steps benefit my greater good. They've kept my antsy inner critic at bay, and they've allowed me time to process the swell of emotions that came (rather unexpectedly) with the culmination of my last big project. Best of all, they are all efforts towards creating space, both in my environment and in my mind. Space allows for clarity and clarity is what I need to decide where I'm going to focus my energy and attention next.

I know all these organizing tasks will get forgotten when I'm off and running on my next passionate project, so I'm simply looking at this ebb in my creating as time that I've been blessed with to get things in order. I remind myself, yet again, it's a necessary part of the process. I'm learning that the creative life is not just about flinging paint and producing satisfying works of art. Though we may wish the bulk of our creative time was spent at this,  it also takes daily maintenance to keep our minds open to receive inspiration and to keep our intentions aligned with our values.

Creative energy ebbs and flows. How do you harness your chi to get the energy flowing back where you want it?

No comments:

Post a Comment