27 Feb Organise Creativity
Organise your creativity
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul…
Well if this is true, for the past two weeks or so, my soul has been craving the KFC of creativity. It’s the real deal. It doesn’t want a healthy or balanced amount of it. It wants the whole super sized family meal with an extra side of flair, passion, energy and may as well throw in some over excitement while your at it. It is something I have undoubtedly never been faced with before. This craving consumes me when I am awake and even when I am sleeping! In an attempt to explain this feeling to my husband, I said,
“I feel as though I have inspiration bursting out of every seam within me, I just need a day or two to get it all out on paper before I lose it.”
On Saturday just past, I reached the point where it was beginning to frustrate me. I woke up at 2am and my creative brain was alight with ideas, it began to throw them at me like executives in a boardroom. I was chairing the meeting, listening to the ideas, “No, hate that.” “Yes, love that!” “Write that down!” Except, I didn’t have a room of minions to scribble ideas on a whiteboard or a notepad, I only had me. So, I got up, I found my creativity book and started to mind map. I laughed with my friends that night and told them how I felt like Russell Crowe in ‘A Beautiful Mind.’ Tucked away, scribbling ideas, running away with myself, punching the air as I satiated in the brilliance of my mind…
Creative minds are rarely tidy and bottled up creativity is like a bomb went off. In this fit of creativity, it is impossible to silence my mind. The best way to explain it? I feel like I have had about 8 coffee’s in quick succession. I am excited, I am passionate, I am buzzing. I come up with ideas in the shower, on a run, in the middle of a weights set, as I am drifting off to sleep or even when I am sitting on the toilet! (Too much?) It is getting so out of control that it is creeping into my dreams, waking me up and landing me here…at 3:30am in the morning, furiously typing, trying to harness the motivation for dear life, before it leaves me… My creativity doesn’t come in the form of artistic talent – drawing, painting, dance or craft. It comes to me in ideas and inspiration for tasks and words. Things I want to write, things I want to teach my students, how I want to live my life. So to let it all out, I can’t just grab a paint brush and let it rip. My fingers and the keyboard work in perfect harmony to ease the weight on my soul and let my ideas dance out of me to a place where I can see them, organise them and relish in the happiness that created them. Seeing them transport from my mind to a page or into concrete plans is magic. I appreciate that through being present, observant and motivated in many aspects of my life, I have woven together a quilt of inspirational ideas that comfort me. My creativity is a reflection of the glorious workings of my mind. A mind that never quite felt like this before. A mind that says “yes” to ideas, “yes” to belief I am worthy of executing plans, “yes” to taking steps that may inspire and motivate others. This made me think about whether I have always been this creative and always just stifled it. Or have I grown a grown a tiny seed of creativity in recent months? Have I watered it with spirituality, sprinkled it with meditation, encouraged it with kindness and compassion and tended to it with self-love?
In my quest to learn more about a surplus of creativity and how exactly we discover it, I googled, “What does it feel like to be creative?” The first definition:
“Creativity feels like a deliberate, slow understanding and exploration.”
My eyebrow furrowed and I sat back a minute in my chair…not quite the answer that aligned with how I was feeling. Nothing about me feels slow at the moment. If anything, I feel like a freight train headed towards the next station, full of goods (my ideas and inspirations), with absolutely no one to unload the train. I, as the conductor, start to ignite feelings of dread. Will everything on board go to waste? What will happen at the next station? I have no time to be deliberate and slow at the moment. I’m not the tortoise…I’m the hare!
The best thing about Google is that if you don’t like one answer, you can always find another! Disregarding the first definition, I went in search of another and BINGO, I found one that hit the nail on the head. A man named Dąbrowski (I like the cute little tail on the A, how fancy!) did some research (so it’s for real!) on creativity in adults and coined a term “overexcitabilities.” Hello Dr Google! I think i found my diagnosis!!! Mr Dąbrowski shares how heightened reactions to both the internal and external world are very common if you are suffering a case of overexcitability. If you’ve tapped into your creative side, there’s a good chance that you’ll see yourself in at least one of Dąbrowski’s five types of overexcitability —psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational, or emotional.
Dr Google was so kind and broke down each of the types for me:
Psychomotor over excitability – involves a surplus of physical energy and expression of emotional tension, expressed in rapid speech, compulsive chattering, intense physical activity, nail biting and picking, pencil tapping, and workaholism.
Imaginational overexcitability – a richness of imagination (me!) and the capacity to live in a world of fantasy (not me). A heightened level of imaginational overexcitability has been linked to higher levels of insomnia, anxiety, and fear of “the ultimate unknown” — death. But it also has also led to the creation of some of the greatest art, poetry, and literature.
(I can definitely see how this could happen, as I begin to gravitate to a place of fear that I will lose my ideas, my anxiety is building and I am losing sleep).
Introspection, engagement in independent, reflective thought, and enjoyment of solving intellectual challenges are common indicators of intellectual overexcitability. This type of overexcitability can be expressed through curiosity, a need to search for truth and understanding, love of theory and analysis, conceptual integration, criticism, voracious reading, keen observations, and asking probing and insightful questions. (Okay, maybe this is me too… I am googling creativity symptoms in the middle of the night. I am also in the midst of wanting to learn everything and anything I can so am reading a few books at once, listening to podcasts, watching TED talks and anything I and get my curious little hands on).
Finally, emotional overexcitability involves characteristics and behaviors that many artists embody. Intensified feelings and emotions, deep relationships, and feelings of compassion and responsibility toward self and others.
(And here is where we land, back to the centre of my being at the moment – A Happiness Project, a blog sharing my feelings and emotions, resolutions to be a kind and compassionate person to myself and others. My purpose in life.
Creativity is what sets your heart on fire and overexcitability is a blow torch. My early morning research helped me to understand that I was buzzing physically, emotionally and intellectually with genuine creativity and excitement – no wonder I couldn’t sleep! As I pondered my diagnosis, I wasn’t worried, concerned or freaked out. This information came from an article called “How Creativity Makes us Feel Alive.” I mean, what a title! I DO feel alive. I feel passionate, I feel bursting with joy and appreciation for the brilliance of my mind at the moment. I am embodying something I have never felt to this degree before. I am 100% grateful for this moment. I have come from a place where at the beginning of the year I knew I SHOULD be blogging, or I SHOULD be planning or I SHOULD be taking actions to get happier. I was shoulding all over the place but wasn’t DOING much. Now I am at a place where I have so many great ideas on how to not only live my life and improve it, but work better, inspire others and cement plans for my future. I don’t have enough time in my day to action so many strategies. I don’t care that I am losing sleep or that my mind is constantly racing. All I want to do is document ideas, action them and then share them with others. I have come from a place where anxiety fueled my brain and bred feelings of negativity and sadness, to this new domain where I know there are so many paths that can take that will lead me to my ultimate life.
So now I have blurted all my feelings out, it is time to action to possibilities! Where can I go from here? What can I do with all this magic? If you are in this position, my strategies may help you. Or perhaps you aren’t even close to being filled to the brim with creativity and you are thinking, “I want whatever she’s having!!!” Creativity isn’t a gift that only some of us receive, it is something we are born with. If it isn’t standing right in front of you, you need to go looking for it. Don’t wait for it to show up, it may be hiding behind the couch! Fear hides creativity away in a place that is hard to find. Overcome fear, and you’ll find your creative side.
Learn about the multiple ways to be creative. Interestingly about a month ago, I began reading a book called “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat Pray Love). This book shares of all the ways you can be creative, commit to a life of creativity and how it pulses through the earth like an energetic life force. Before this creative influx presented itself to me, I read the book, and if I am going to be perfectly honest with you, I tuned in and out of it. It didn’t really connect with me. I knew that creativity was amazing. I posted about it in fact. But all in all, my understanding of it merely scraped the surface. When reading the book, I noted a few good points about how creative ideas present to people and got the main gist that if you don’t harness the idea and run with it, it will eventually leave you. Maybe I wasn’t so attuned to the book because I wasn’t feeling particularly creative at the time. I have always valued creativity but never felt its magic. But because I read the book, I knew how to welcome creativity in when it knocked at my door. My recommendation is that you read to book. It may ignite a passion in you straight away. You may pursue a passion to take up something you once love or always wanted to do. Or perhaps, like it did with me, it will live in your subconscious and tap on your shoulder to let you know when creativity sneaks up on you and give you ways to welcome it into your life without fear.
Notice coincidences and run away with them. Have you ever noticed how things around you just align? We call them “coincidences” and can brush them off. I now know that these events are the universe dumping opportunities on your lap. Creativity is my coinicidenct. The seed was most likely planted when I (kinda) read ‘Big Magic.’ I started to have my experiences with my creative genius. Then, i found out that my work is sending me to a conference about creativity. Finally, I looked over my uni course outline yesterday and found out I have an assignment on creativity… argh – life is fucking brilliant. The coincidences in my life are pointing me in the direction that I am destined for. Where are your coincidences pointing you to?
Cultivate creativity – Sometimes you need a push into the pool of creativity. I have only become this creative being once I started immersing myself in the ideas of others. Through reading books, articles and journals and listening to podcasts and TED talks, I have tuned into the ideas of others. This exposure has cultivated a creative side to me that I didn’t know existed. Through taking pieces of others creativity, you mould it into your own. Try reading more, listening to others and viewing the projects that others have poured their hearts and souls into. If you are a visual artist, it may be looking at art and reading about its history. As a musician, it could be helpful to listen to music and the message behind the notes or words. With a passion for personal development and teaching, it is helpful for me to read about the research and ideas of others. In my classroom practice, I love looking at what other teachers do and making it into my own. Pinterest is another amazing tool that I recommend. I have board upon board of inspiration. I have boards for home decor and others for teaching maths. I pin quotes about self-love and others on yoga. This collection of ideas and inspiration of others helps me to assemble an identity of my own.
Document your creativity – Ideas become great when you let them out. Interestingly, many pages I came across online would share ways we could be more creative as opposed to how to address the threat of overflow and surplus! This strategy would also work if you are trying to get your ideas flowing, Try capturing every idea that comes to you. No matter how big or small. For a small idea, the act of writing it down, looking at it or expanding it could help it to turn into something bigger. For the influx of ideas, putting it on paper or into a plan may help you to organise your thoughts into something more acceptable than babble. My ideas started as lists in my phone, or mind maps in my creativity book (a visual diary), inspiration poured into my journal and on whiteboards. Through unpacking your thoughts or even just popping them down, you are committing yourself to the creative process and moving yourself forward.
Triage ideas and make a plan – Create the things you wish existed. Now that you have cultivated and documented your creativity, it’s time to action it! Make time in your life to map out how to execute your inspiration. As a highly organised person, I like to mind map things and then make a planning document of how things will pan out over time. For example, i want to teach my students about mindset, so I have drawn up a document, full of lessons, displays and texts that will assist in developing mindset week by week. When planning my blog posts, I enter my ideas into a document and then drag each idea into order and begin the writing process from there. For a more flexible artist, you may look at your mapped ideas and begin to paint, dance or sing. You may not work well with structure as I do. I think it is important to find your groove and roll with it. If you have no groove…then find an alternative way as yours most likely isn’t working for you!
Enjoy the process – In the words of Mr Einstein himself – “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” When you feel anxiety, dread or disappointment, you can’t be doing it right. Creativity is a joyous union of everything that is right in the world. When you feel creative you are free to experiment, grow, take risks, break rules, make mistakes and have fun! Relish in every creative opportunity as it is a direct representation that you have the confidence to question without fear, you see problems as ideas, you are open to not knowing everything, you are mindful, curious and resourceful. All of these qualities generate energy to explore and tinker. You are not only a thinker, but a doer. Appreciate every glimmer of creativity and try to make more sunshine. The more you welcome creative living, the more it will seek to find you.
Regularly check in with your creative self – Are you bringing your A game? Be sure to check in with yourself and make sure you are giving yourself ample opportunity to be creative. Been too busy at work or giving yourself too much to others? Take a step back and allow time to go back to the beginning and cultivate some creativity again or get some ideas out. Don’t let life stifle your sparkle.
Through acknowledging my creative capacity and creating this post I have come to appreciate creativity as ‘abundance in life.’ Things in my external life may appear as just as shitty as before – fertility problems, my past still hovering around me like a bad smell. But it is my attitude that has changed. Embracing creativity in physical forms aids me to be creative in how I see and view my prospects in life. It allows me to live out every day as it is my last, in awe of the infinite possibilities that are at my fingertips. I don’t want to waste a minute of whatever time I have left. I want to work smart, play smart and love hard. I want to feel like I am doing my best at every moment. I want to leave something behind that inspires people and helps them to understand that you can go from feeling like shit and laying up all night worrying about your future, to being up all night getting excited about how you will live your life the next day. I reiterate that – I can not begin to explain how differently I am seeing the world at the moment. My life is the same – but my mind is so incredibly different and it’s glorious!