Lately my creative energy has seemed all over the place. I have a million projects happening at once, and while they are all positive and beautiful and highly-creative, I was getting overwhelmed. And in the process of doing so, I lost my inner sense of peace and feminine softness. I got sucked into my comfort zone: pushing, reaching, making to-do lists and beating myself up when there weren’t enough hours in a day. Ignoring the signs my body, at first gently, showed me to try and tell me I was moving too fast. The little headaches, slower digestion, a few aches and pains. Then, my body, ever on my side and somehow way smarter than my ‘thinking’ brain, spoke louder. The little aches began to turn into some of the numbness that lead to a pretty serious oboe-related injury I’ve talked about here. I felt exhausted, even with plenty of sleep. My skin broke out like crazy. I was feeling uncomfortable and fatigued most of the time.
Ok, body, I get it. I have been moving too fast, reaching for too many things at once, and putting pressure on myself that drains me instead of motivates me. My mind has been in overdrive, trying to both think and do at the same time, which, it's not really meant for. I've been allowing other’s expectations to define how I approach my tasks, and as a result my creative acts have become motivated by an external force instead of a flow from within me. Dear body, I’m sorry for ignoring you for so long. I am so grateful that you take care of me as I move through the world.
Unfortunately our culture tends to work this way, especially in the work force. Tasks, problem-solving, and making things happen in a direct, 'doing' way are all very male-oriented ways of approaching the world. They work great for male minds, but when I start masculinizing myself for the sake of productivity, I'm quickly reminded that my body (and mind) is just not designed that way.
Even though I was in the middle of so much rushing and so many projects, I took a day to slow down and honor my body. Interestingly, as soon as I did I felt my inner peace return and my headaches wane. I threw out all of my to-do lists (in the virtual trash can, that is, since I organize my life with Google), even though it was a little scary, and then allowed my ‘being’ space to dictate my next move. This didn’t really look like much at first, since I was committing to not falling back into my comfort zone of to-do lists, tasks, and plans (during my rushing phase I had basically outlined the next six months in great detail so I felt like that was pretty much covered). I practiced less, wrote less, did less, and just emptied my space until I was told how to fill it again. And I let go of all of the thoughts that were telling me that I ‘should” do this, or that, or that if I didn’t, so-and-so would think _________. This way of being and being open to receive, it's much more gentle, easy, and feminine. Women are much better designed for this and this tends to work way better for both our minds and bodies.
I listened to what my body wanted. I know that sounds weird, it did to me at first because it seems so vague and I love structure, organization, and the concrete. Instead of reaching outwards, I reached inwards, drawing from the feminine energy that was waiting patiently, quietly, and serenely within me. I allowed her to come to the forefront and I asked her, what will fill me? What will make me feel vibrant, healthy, radiant, and peaceful? It turns out that my body already knew that I would feel good if I ate more greens, drank lots of fresh veggie juices instead of coffee, and came home after work without another agenda for the things I ‘needed’ to accomplish before bedtime. My body and mind would feel the best if I did more yoga, deep breathing, and prayer of the heart. With this trust that my feminine self (really just my authentic, true self) knew how to take care of me, I could spend less time in my masculine, task-oriented, thinking space and more time in a feminine, feeling, being, heart space.
From this place, my creativity was allowed to flow - or not. And for a little while, it didn’t. I allowed that, because it seems that creativity has a rhythm to it, sometimes cascading and sometimes just floating along. And when my creativity came back and began to move again, I didn’t find it stressful or overwhelming. The ideas and motions, to go practice, to go to yoga, to turn my attention back to a project, they came from within. They felt right, and they felt good, and the tasks associated with them came easily. They were fun, exciting, and engaging. If one idea caused any kind of anxiety (felt right in the center of my stomach above my belly button), I breathe deeply and let it go for perhaps another time when it’s right.
This is what it means to listen and follow your creative flow. Creativity that is pushed or rushed is simply not very creative. The art, the soul of it, gets lost when forcefulness is involved. And this doesn’t just apply to music or writing, this is whatever your creativity looks like for you, whether it be accounting or practicing law or hula-hooping. Our physical bodies are innately tied to our creativity. They are the vessels in which we ‘do’ our creativity, and they provide us with constant feedback about the state of our internal workings and subconscious health. If there is a block in our creative expression, it will show up in our physical body. And when we are honoring our creative flow, we tend to feel pretty good in our physical bodies too.
How do you feel today? Close your eyes, maybe put a hand on your heart, and really feel what's there for a moment. What does your body say? What might you need to shift or let go of in order to allow a more peaceful, easy creative flow to move in your life?