After reading Lotte Kauffman’s Voices from the MotherVerse Q&A, I started thinking about the ways in which our thoughts can sabotage the creative process. For me, the desire to create comes from a heart and soul level but the mind is incredibly powerful in its ability to distract and undermine.
Lotte says that the reason for feeling stuck in her (creative) life, stems from the messages she has internalised about herself in relation to her self worth and creativity. This conditioning, as she calls it, holds her in a place of staticity, which she can overcome by listening to what is being voiced inside her and making a conscious decision to move through it to a place of letting go.
Often, when feeling stuck in our creative lives, we give reasons, based on our own limitations or external obstacles such as family or work responsibilities. If you start tp unpick these reasons, you might find a more fundamental root message that is feeding the sensation of feeling blocked.
The other day, during my Sunday Creative Time, I felt very un-creative. I wasn’t in a flow, I didn’t have ideas. I managed to make one poem but it felt a bit sticky and forced. So I wrote down the thoughts that were keeping me feeling stuck. The most prominent one was ‘I must be creative’.
I decided to draw what it would look like to let go of this self-imposed edict. I drew a very wavy, bendy female figure with wild curls of hair floating out all around her head. She was winking and had a cheeky half-smile on her face. I wrote: ‘This is me not having to be creative but just going with the flow. There is no ‘should‘, I am free to flow in waves with this moment and whatever presents itself to me.’
I liked this character so much that I went on to draw five more variations on her, one with a fish tail, one with a snake’s body, one with roots and two others with bodies of organic forms. The drawings led onto three watercolour and fineliner images, one of which I was particularly pleased with. The results were just part of the outcome, however, as what really mattered was that I had found my flow. I felt different inside myself. The blockage had lifted just by addressing the key message that was keeping me in a place of inertia.
So next time you feel like something is blocking you from being in a state of creative flow, have a listen to what you are telling yourself and draw, write, sing, dance what it would feel like to be free of that message. You may tap into a flow that leads somewhere unexpected.
Take a few minutes to write a list of all the reasons or messages that come up for you when you are feeling stuck or blocked in your creative life, practice or project.
Now take the message from your list that stands out as being the most potent and familiar and answer any or all of the following questions:
- Is this the primary message or is there another more fundamental one beneath it? If so, what would that be?
- What do you feel when you speak this rule to yourself? Where in your body do you feel it?
- What would it look like to let go of this message (even just for today)? Can you draw that on paper?
- What would it sound like to let go of this message? Can you vocalise or sing it?
- What other way/s can you find to express this letting go?
- Where does this step on the journey take you next?