“Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax. If you relax, it comes. If you relax, it is there. If you relax, you start vibrating with it.” ~Osho
I am an artist.
A life where I am not creating—new words, new art, new recipes, new gardens, new photography—is frankly unthinkable.
I don’t spend time (anymore) wondering if I am an artist and a writer. Those questions have been placed aside. I know what- and who I am. I have accepted my right to create in the very marrow of my bones. The artist is in my DNA. I could no sooner stop creating than I could stop breathing. I don’t justify my art, or worry that others won’t like it and take away my right to write.
I came to the conclusion long ago that art is art for creation’s sake, and not for the sake of approval.
So why then, does art sometimes allude me?
If it is not self-doubt, not the overwhelming desire for approval, then why? Why the completely blank moments when the well of creation seems to crackle and shrivel like a hot desert ground?
It’s a matter of confusion.
You see, I begin to think that the art is coming from Me. That I am the source of the creation, that I can produce—at will—the beauty I desire. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Left to my own power, I have no more creativity than a robot.
When I push for it, demand that some great story, play, vision come forth—I typically get nothing.
I am a vessel of creation, not the actual creator. The Creator is a source, a power that runs through me, a muse, an energy, a vast wisdom I believe is available to us all.
If we tap into it. And I believe we all can.
I have often said that my most creative moments are when I have my hands in water, or when I am driving a car. Why? Because my brain has relaxed and that inner chatter has let go of all of its daily grind. My mind can drift. I can listen. However, neither of those ways are purposeful ways of connecting to the creative source. After all, it isn’t like you are driving around in circles hoping the muses will appear. (At least I hope you aren’t!)
There are more purposeful strategies to inspire creativity and connect to the Source of all Creation.
Letting Go and Letting Zen- Tips to Tap into the Creative Source
Create for Creation’s Sake Only. When you let go of the need to create “good” art, creating becomes a natural spiritual state that comes from within. The muse awakes and is free to explore and communicate through the medium of art.
Listen to Spirit. You have something to share with the world. When you open yourself up to become a vessel and listen deeply, and pay attention to your internal dialog, you will be amazed at the creative stuff swirling around in there. Pay particular attention to anything that begins with “What if…”
Meditate. As of this writing, I have been on a streak of fifty-five days in a row of meditating, usually twice a day. I can tell you personally that this one is a game changer. The benefits of greater focus, serenity and inner peace means a deeper artistic expansion of ideas. To use meditation as a creative exercise, try this modification: instead of trying to keep your mind empty, let it run wild. Close your eyes, find your center, focus on your breath and watch whatever pictures, ideas and stories pop into your head. Don’t try to interact with them or judge them, simply watch what shows up on the imagination screen of your mind. Here is a hint, keep a notebook and pen nearby, the ideas can be fleeting when you come out of your meditation, just like waking from a dream. Grab that pen and write!
Walk -or run- in nature. The Muse has plenty to say when we get out and exercise in fresh air. Actually any exercise seems to work for me, but there is something freeing about breathing deeply of the clean fresh air that brings on creative thoughts.
Be in-or around- water. I can’t explain this, but I know it to be true. Water is a conduit for creative magic. If you are blocked, relax in water and let your mind wander. Again, keep paper close by!
In the Zen
How do you know when you got there? The funny thing is, you won’t think about it until you come back out. When you are in the Zen of Creativity, it is an effortless, streaming, pouring forth of information that you are privileged to try and capture as much as you can. You relax into it, you feel the vibrating, pulsating energy of it and you are engulfed by it.
You don’t wonder, “Is this any good, will they like it, what should I do with it…” You simply try to capture it before the moment passes.
And when it does, you- the artist- will do your best to interpret the magic you experienced, to the best of your limited, human artistic ability.
That is where the dedication and hard work comes in. And the insecurity, wondering if you can do the vision justice. Have faith. Be the vessel. If it was given to you, it was meant for you to share with the world.
Relax and let it happen.