Today’s topic is The Creative Process. Do read to the end of this post for a full list of carnival participants.
When I think of mindfulness, I think of lower stress levels, letting go of anxiety, and learning to be comfortable with all that is uncomfortable. Mindfulness can be thought of as mental exercises to clear the mind of its constant chatter about the past and the future.
Mindfulness lowers blood pressure, helps ease the symptoms of mental and physical illnesses, and brings a host of other well-researched benefits to a person’s overall health. Mindfulness meditations have been shown to improve interpersonal relationships, job and sports performances, and academic success. The practices also show an increase in satisfaction reported by people in every area of their lives.
With all this clarity and calm, mindfulness has another benefit. Without the the monkey mind jabbering away, there is room for new, better ideas for solutions to everyday problems. Put simply, mindfulness makes space for creativity.
There’s a common phrase in mindfulness literature called, “beginner’s mind.” It refers to the time when someone first approaches a task without the context of previous experience. Context can sometimes hinder one’s paths to solving the task. When someone is an absolute beginner, the possibilities for resolution are wide open. There is no fear of doing it a particular way, so creativity can be utilized.
Mindfulness uses the beginner’s mind concept to tap into our memories of what it feels like to approach a problem without prejudging ourselves or the issue. It allows a space for play and curiosity. Creativity can bloom in this environment.
Another phrase often heard in mindfulness practices is single-pointed focus. This is when you choose one thing and concentrate on it, allowing all other thoughts and feelings to float away from you. If you notice that you float away with them, you let them go and return to the focal point.
Single-pointed focus mimics the feeling of “being in the flow” that is often described by those experiencing creative inspiration. They are able to focus on whatever it is that they are creating to the exclusion of everything else and they’re able to return to the flow when they are distracted by other things.
The more often that things like clearing meditations, beginner’s mind, single-pointed focus are practiced, the easier it is to allow creativity to happen. But, there is another way that mindfulness practices allow creativity to blossom:
Mindfulness creates a quiet mind, that is more resilient from stress, and more creative at problem solving. This means that it also helps to mitigate those frustrating times when creative energy is lost due to things like writer’s block, burn out, and even depression. When in the grip of difficult symptoms, mindfulness practices can help someone bounce back to creativity more quickly or can make the symptoms less severe.
Starting or continuing a mindfulness practice is leap of faith. There is trust in the process and in oneself that it will garner benefits. It can be frustrating when those benefits are slow to come or are not as large as hoped for. But, training the brain to be creative or even taking time out from creative blocks in order to gain some mental space will work.
If you’ve ever been stuck with writer’s block or felt frustrated about not being in the flow, then you know how beneficial a mindfulness break can be. Even if you never labeled your going for a walk, getting a change of scenery, simplifying your commitments or letting go of your worry or expectations about the project so that you can push your reset button, these are mindfulness practices.
Often after these breaks, there comes a breakthrough and new levels of creative thinking are reached. It’s that in between time that I think we all need a little self-compassion and mindfulness.
I often use mindfulness practices to increase my creativity. What about you? Have you tried it?
Photo credits: (1 & 2: Flikr:ConnectIrmeli)
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- Carnival host and author of The Rainbow Way, Lucy at Dreaming Aloud looks at the common lies we tell ourselves about creativity in The Eternal Summer of the Creative Mind.
- Caitriona at Wholesome Ireland – from start to new beginnings.
- Hannah M. Davis writes about Unleashing Your Authentic Voice. So many of us would love to write a life-changing book. How do you get over the blocks and barriers that hold you back?
- Sylda from Mind the Baby compares her creative process to a maelstrom of weather warnings.
- In “As an Artist”, Lucy Pierce at Soulskin Musings offers a poem about how the creative process beckons her through many of the archetypes of womanhood.
- Jackie Stewart at Flowerspirit.co.uk talks about how creativity is opening up a space for the unknown to reveal itself to you in ‘Creativity Flourishes in the Sacred Unknown’.
- Alex at Art of Birth shares some practical tips on how you can unlock your creative goddess within!
- Nicki at justlikeplay shares a love letter to her muse.
- Marija Smits has a conversation with her muse and reflects on the difficulties of catching and creating from the Goddess of Inspiration.
- Zoie at TouchstoneZ reflects on her creative process.
- Licia Berry, Illumined Arts “Creativity and Healing are Ideal Partners”. The creation of visual, musical, or expressive arts is the quickest, most effective and painless way to heal.
- Kirstin at Listening to the Squeak – My creative process and how to break creative blocks.
- Ali Baker talks about connecting
with the call of the wolf when she cries to us to do so means giving
our time and permission to honour the creative process within all of us.
- Mary at The Turquoise Paintbrush reflects on her creative process.
- KatyStuff thinks that projects need time to mature, that is why she is a fabric and craft hoarder.
- Aimée at Creativeflutters goes into her creative process and looks at what makes things tick or flop in “Spontaneous She – How to Keep Your Muse at Work”.
- Kae at The Wilde Womb muses about her common creative blocks as a parent and how she systematically breaks through them.
- Angela at Peach Coglo tries to get comfortable with her own creative process.
- Biromums write about their creative processes.
- Dawn at The Barefoot Home believes the creative process can’t be taught it has to come organically and at its own pace.
- Tara at Aquamarine Art began uncovering her lost inner artist over 5 years ago and shares her experiences and inspirations in “From Spark to Bonfire: The Evolution of A Creative Process.”
- Georgie at Visual Toast explores what the creative process looks like for her.
- Creative Woman at Creator’s Corner is not concerned with the end product or the outcome but with the process and all the richness that it brings.
- Jennifer’s Art Blog explores what the creative process feels like for her.
- Fiona at Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers reflects on her creative process.
- Sharron at Adventures on the mindful path writes and creates in between (and sometimes while) chasing two little boys and a puppy.
- Trying to discover her own methods to the creative process, Jasmine at Brown Eyed Girl, digs deeper to find what it is that really triggers her creativity.
- Jessica F. Hinton shares why finding creative spaces as a mother is important and what her space looks like.
- Laura at Authentic Parenting reflects on her creative process.
- Ingrid at My Peace Tree says Creativity as a living thing – and examines ebb and flow, expectations vs. realities (our own and other people’s), inspiration and how to find it.
- Darcel at The Mahogany Way examines her own creative process.
- Woman’s Art celebrates her own creative process.