Reclaiming creativity is my new, important, goal. The lovely thing about this goal is that it is already happening. New ways of doing what I do already present themselves. My job is to listen to the promptings of my mind (or heart) and to respond. To watch out for synchronicity.
For too long, I’d been wandering in a creative wilderness. The landscape dried up without me noticing. The same thing seemed to have happened to my creativity.
Injuring my calf muscle late last year, and a recent bout of the viral illness shingles, flattened me. I wrote about them here and here. Perhaps I had not taken enough care of myself. Maybe I needed to rest and take stock. My afflictions were not only physical, but mental and emotional as well.
My need to survive overrode my desire to live creatively. Writing anything more than a blog post seemed impossible. Sometimes, even blog posts did not get written. Low energy levels do that to a person.
At its worst, the dis-ease takes over and must run its course. We withdraw, retreat and protect ourselves. We crave the comfort of our own space. Solitude. We are content to be passive, to allow other people to take over.
The recovery process from physical, as well as mental and creative, malaise is similar.
Recovery expects attention from the convalescent. It demands an act of faith. We hope that our lives will, in the end, return to normal. We must make a decision to get better. To take tiny, deliberate steps. To be gentle with ourselves. To listen to what we need next. Not to rush the process.
Recovery from physical illness demands
- Adequate hydration
- Nutritious food
- Plenty of rest
- Gentle movement leading to full exercise
- Re-engagement with the world
- Return to former life
Reclaiming creativity requires
- Refilling the creative well (of images)
- Feeding our minds
- Gentle creative activity of any kind
- Meditation (for example writing morning pages)
- Taking small creative steps
- Re-engagement with creative work
In reclaiming creativity, my go-to-guide has been Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I set out to work through this book, week by week. At the end of Week 7, I am almost back on course. Morning pages flow. Little dates with my inner artist suggest themselves.
The draft of my new novel no longer sits, an undigested lump, on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. I printed it out months ago ready to read and rewrite. I haven’t had the energy to do anything with it. I wrote a plan to finish it by April next year. The printed plan sits in solitary glory on my notice board.
Ideas about my writing pop into my mind when I’m walking. When I’m doing the dishes or in the shower. I’m taking Julia Cameron’s advice. And the words of Albert Einstein about creativity pop into my mind.
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