Creativity

How many times have you said “I’m just not creative?” If you’re like me, it’s been a ton. And you know what? I don’t buy it. We are creative every single day. You don’t have to be a writer, artist, or musician in order to claim that. The clothes you wear, the words you choose to say, the route you walk to your car. All day long, your brain is making patterns, designs, and decisions that leave a creative mark on this world. I think each of us has a deep passion for something. It could be sailboats or pineapples or palm tress (can you tell it’s winter here?). But the point is, it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you. It can be as simple as deciding to read a book that really interests you, trying a food that you’ve never tasted but are curious about, or talking to a neighbor who you pass every day, but don’t know. These are all inherently human acts that feed our curiosity, which ultimately, is an expression of creativity. Looking to jumpstart that feeling? Try the below practice, which should take about 15 minutes.

(1) MOVE (about 3 minutes)

Standing tall, take a few breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Once you feel grounded, start shaking your hands, as if you are trying to shake water off them. Lift and lower them as you shake them. Allow the rest of your body to move as well. Sway side to side. Jump up and down. Twist forward and back. Do whatever movement feels good to you for the next 2-3 minutes that allows you to release any excess energy or stress that you have.

(2) MEDITATE (about 7 minutes)

Sit on the edge of a cushion or in a chair and lengthen your spine. Reground yourself by closing your eyes and breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Once your breath and heart rate have returned to a normal level, begin alternate nostril breathing. It sounds scary, but it is really simple and great for balancing the left brain (controls planning and organizing) and right brain (controls creativity).

Make a fist with your right hand, and then raise just the thumb and pinky finger. Use your right thumb to gently close off the right side of your nose by pressing on the outside of it. Inhale deeply through the left nostril, and once your belly has fully expanded, plug the left side of the nose with your pinky finger, release the hold on the right nostril and exhale out through the right side. Inhale into the right nostril, plug it and release your grip on the left, exhaling to the left side. Repeat this cycle 5-10 times (inhale on left, exhale on right, inhale on right, exhale on left), ending on the exhale to the left side.

For the remaining 5 minutes or so, resume normal breathing, but continue to keep your eyes closed. Imagine a deep blue color between your eyebrows. Watch it grow larger on your inhales, and then smaller on the exhales. This helps awaken your third eye, which controls creativity, wisdom, and intuition. Gently open your eyes when you are finished.

(3) MEDIATE (about 5 minutes)

Grab a pen and some paper. Free write in response to any of the following questions: What do I experience that makes me emotional? How does my passion meet my story? What have I witnessed that others should see?

Hatteras Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Hatteras Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Exploration

“Explore” is my word for 2019. I did plenty of exploring in 2018, traveling to parts of the U.S. like Joshua Tree National Park; Grand Junction, Colorado; and the Outer Banks in North Carolina. My rationale for choosing “explore” is that even if there are new places I have discovered, there’s always more left to see. True growth happens when we get to the edge of our comfort zone. Travel always sounds like a good idea to me, but the truth is, it can be deeply uncomfortable. Maybe I am just a grandma in a thirty-year-old’s body, but air lines, new routines, and new faces always give me a sense of wanting to run away, (but I’m already headed to a new place, so I am sort of stuck).

Do you know this about yourself too? Not that you are a grandma (or grandpa), but what are the parts of you that make you feel stuck? Is that holding you back from exploring something that you don’t know? I realized on many of my trips that I actually like not drinking coffee some mornings. That’s a pretty silly example, but imagine that! I could’ve gone my whole life not knowing I liked NOT being amped up on caffeine. Maybe there’s something about you that’s waiting to unfold too. Try the practice below to kickstart the process.

(1) MOVE (about 3 minutes)

Grab a yoga mat or find a carpeted surface that will be soft on your knees. Then, come to your hands and knees in a table-top position with your wrists stacked under your shoulders and your hips stacked over your knees. Begin crawling forward by moving your right hand forward a few inches and moving your left knee forward a few inches. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Keep your crawling movements slow and controlled moving on either the inhale or exhale of the breath. When you reach the end of the mat or carpet, either turn around or try reversing the direction of your crawl. Continue this movement for 2-3 minutes. This may seem like a silly exercise (and I hope you do laugh at yourself a little), but crawling is really beneficial for connecting the left and right brain.

(2) MEDITATE (about 5 minutes)

Find a comfortable seat. Inhale through your nose and exhale out through your mouth. Repeat 3 times. Take in the landscape picture below. Imagine you are about to climb this mountain. What sensations do you notice in your body? What does the earth feel like beneath your feet? What does the air feel like on your fingertips? Continue to scan your body and around you.

When you’re ready to continue click here. Then close your eyes to visualizing climbing the mountain for the next four minutes. If thoughts come up, just label them "thinking" and return back to your exploration.

(3) MEDIATE (about 7 minutes)

Grab a writing instrument and paper and free write for about 5 minutes in response to the following questions: What parts of you have you recently discovered? What’s there to explore?

Flatiorns, Boulder, Colorado

Flatiorns, Boulder, Colorado