I used to leap over edges and crash out afterwards. I would attend weekend workshops and intensives and push myself into new and uncomfortable territory. I'd have expansive experiences and get high, but then wouldn't see any lasting change. Somewhere along the way, I grew tired of the impact on my nervous system and began to value gentle approaches to personal development.
That's why I love the creative process as a way to meet edges.
In the creative process, I can slow down, really notice where my edges are, and how my body responds. I can adjust my practice while tending to the vulnerability that lives in me. Instead of bypassing the fear and charging onward, I can embrace those parts and carry them with me.
I'll share a story as an example.
I've been working on a few big projects over the past couple of years. One of them is a new 12-week online program to support creatives, artists and those wishing to cultivate more creativity in their lives. I absolutely loved creating the content, filming videos, recording audios, and making reflection sheets over summer this year and was all set to launch it for autumn.
Then I hit fear.
I took some time to sit with the fear. I was telling myself that the timing wasn't right, When I explored further I acknowledged that there were a few things contributing to that belief. An acquaintance had just launched a similar program and had truly amazing marketing and I felt inadequate. And then I had a surgery and my recovery took way longer than I anticipated. And covid happened and EVERYONE was launching stuff online. The market felt saturated.
The fear was giving me useful information. The launch was an edge that felt too big to meet and cross at that time. And so I chose to step back. I pressed pause on the project and just sat with it. In the months that followed, I offered a free online creativity challenge (right now there are 339 participants!). I was blown away by the participants' courage, vulnerability, and willingness to show up. They have inspired me so much! Over time, I recovered from my surgery and felt some energy returning. And yes, everything was still online, and that's okay.
So I decided to offer the online program in spring. I put out the event and began to promote it.
And hit fear again.
This time the fear was about how it would be received. What if no one registers? What if people enrolled and don't resonate with what I offer? What if it's too basic? What if my videos are annoying? What if the quality isn't good enough?
I acknowledge that this fear is a totally normal response to the unknown. This is new territory. I don't know how it will land for people! I can't know! So I'm calling this an experiment and am carrying my fear and curiosity forward to meet this edge.
I'm being gentle with myself. I'm taking time to journal or make art when I feel stuck. I'm inquiring into the feelings that are present when I find myself procrastinating. I'm meeting multiple edges with gentleness, courage, and tenacity. I'm taking pauses, and also calling in assistance from others.
It feels good.
I'm nervous and excited that my program begins this Monday. :-)
Awaken Your Creative Genius
Please get in touch if you're sitting at your creative edge and would like to call in support.
Love and creative blessings,
A counselor and sex therapist friend is writing a blog for their website and wanted to interview me about my current creativity challenge on Facebook, 'Fill the Page'. I thought I would share here as well!
At the beginning of our second lockdown I was invited to create another online group "for covid sanity". I created a simple and open invitation for people to fill a page each day. Over the period of the challenge, 'the page' has included drawings, paintings, poetry, photography, birthday cakes, knitted gloves, collage and other mediums in a beautiful and surprising diversity of creative exploration.
What do you think benefits people from creating daily?
I find that making art every day is an incredible anchor, particularly during times of challenge, transition or upheaval. It provides a sense of structure and stability. It's like showing up to the meditation cushion, bringing whatever is present to the practice. A daily creative practice is an opportunity to connect more deeply with ourselves and reflect on the day, giving some space to the feelings, thoughts, sensations and patterns that are arising. Or it can be a space of pause and rest, taking time out from life's challenges. A daily creative practice is a clear, boundaried task which can help to generate an ongoing sense of achievement.
What if a person doesn’t feel like being creative?
During my year of making an artwork every day, there were certainly days that I didn't feel like being creative! It's really normal to experience fluctuating motivation and inspiration. I found that carrying an attitude of curiosity was foundational to the practice. I would show up to the page and be curious about what might emerge. There was a sense of play and wonder that no matter how I felt about the practice, something always showed up. That was amazing to me. I felt connected to something bigger than myself; that a creative spirit was moving through me. I also made sure that I structured my practice to suit my energy levels. For example, if I was exhausted after work I would set my timer for ten minutes and let that be my practice.
What is creativity?
Great question! For me creativity is woven throughout life and is part of being human. Creativity can express in someone's cooking, in tending their garden, or in their approach to problem solving at work, as well as through the arts and craft. It's the capacity to bring something new to the world. That new thing may be inspired by a range of sources, internal or external. As an arts therapist I'm really interested in creative process, paying attention to what happens as we create and how this might show us our patterns and ways of being.
For those who are interested to explore their creative process in more depth, I'm offering a 12-week online program, 'Awaken Your Creative Genius'. It establishes a foundational daily creative practice, and then moves into a creative project.
Find out more at www.cocooncreativeartstherapies.com.au
Chelle is a practicing art therapist, researcher, and multi-modal creative. She regularly dives into the unknown to discover what is ready to be born, deepening her trust in the abundantly creative source. For Chelle, art is a means to inquire, express, and transform. If offers the capacity to soothe, making space for new perspectives and ways of being.