Hello Bonbi friends, I hope this Spring is treating you well...we are well into tulip and bluebell season here and it's so nice to see the colour coming back outside my window!
This month I have been thinking about creativity after a friend told me that she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. It saddened me because I am someone who believes that as humans we are all intrinsically creative beings, it’s just that somewhere along the way many of us forget this and convince ourselves a creative life isn’t for us.
Look at children for example, who seem hard wired to play and create and dance and use their imaginations, we were all like that once!
It got me thinking about creativity and where it goes and then more specifically where it can be found and then, serendipitously, I was asked by the people at Uptime (an app offering ‘hacks’ and condensed versions of books and courses with a view to helping you make decisions about whether to read the whole book or course) to write an article for them and I knew immediately what I would like to write it on!
So I thought I would share it here with you too, and if you would like to read it on the Uptime app (You will have to download the app but then just search my full name - Lee Foster-Wilson) please do give it a thumbs up at the end!
So this one is for you if you would like some methods to lead a more mindful and creatively fulfilling life and bring more artful thinking to your every day…Many people believe that because they can’t draw that they aren’t creative but being able to draw, sculpt, or make something really well isn’t necessarily where the creativity lies and the truth is that we as humans are creative by default. Creativity isn’t just about being able to make something beautiful, it is a way of being.
Creativity is essentially curiosity, which everybody has the ability to be. Think of children's imaginations allowing games of make believe and fantastical drawings. Their creativity comes from having innocence and a fresh curiosity about the world.
Quite often the stuff of life can cloud our minds, getting in the way, dulling our curiosity and letting us drift through life feeling no real connection or creative urge with the world around us, but if we can find a way to tap into that childlike curiosity we are well on the way to making our lives more creative and ultimately more fulfilling.
There really is much around us to be curious about in our every day, the easiest way to spark interest is to look to the natural world which is a rich source of inspiration and wonder.
Whether you live in the countryside or the city it is easy to look past nature in the day to day of our busy lives, walk past it, our heads lost in thoughts of work and worries but taking some time to slow down and pay attention to the nature in your environment is the easiest way to forge a stronger connection with the natural world, wherever you live.
When we learn the names of our local flora and fauna we can begin to differentiate them and they will become a bigger part of our every day lives. We will notice more of the seasonal changes and developments and in turn this we can begin to reconnect our minds and bodies to the rhythms of the earth itself.
This roots us and helps us to feel more purpose and when we find that connection it will further stimulate our curiosity and imaginations, revealing more fertile thought patterns which will ultimately lead to a more creative and fulfilled life.
Walk to see
Put down technology and go out for a walk. Listen and look, just really pay attention to what piques your curiosity and what ideas does it spark? Do you want to make something, or do more research on what you were looking at finding out more about it? Follow any urges and the answers here will help you find a path to a more creatively fulfilled life.
Keeping a journal is an excellent way to stimulate the creative brain, I personally try and write every day!
Journalling helps us to think more deeply about subjects and ideas. By doing this we will find that we can think and talk more articulately about them. It is a spring board for more creative thinking and problem solving.
The writing doesn't have to be about anything in particular or be beautiful to read but writing about matters that have been on your mind can guide your thoughts into a more ordered path.
Anything we are struggling with can be worked out to some degree on the page just by letting the writing flow freely and unselfconsciously. Figuring things out through stream of consciousness thoughts can bring about creative solutions and help you to gain more insight into next steps.
Sometimes the writing will be joyous and sometimes it just helps to get out our angers and frustrations onto the page. Externalising them helps to minimise them, freeing our minds up for more nuanced and useful creative thoughts to come to the fore.
And if we are feeling frustrated by something someone else has said our done, noting thoughts down can open up our understanding about both sides of an argument and help us to find creative responses to both personal issues and those in the wider world, leading us to be more empathetic to ourselves and others.
Just allowing words to flow will give a deeper insight and understanding of our beliefs and passions, who we are and how we see the world around us which will bring about a stronger sense of self, which is an important starting point for living a more creative life.
In essence writing daily can declutter our minds and jump start our creative brain to think about ideas and our place in this world at a deeper level more regularly.
Start a daily journal.
Start a daily writing practise as early in the day as possible. Let the words flow, don't think too hard about it, if nothing comes just write ‘nothing to write’ or similar over and over until something does come. It may even be that you start writing about how silly it is that you have nothing to write or how your brain isn’t engaging. Just write something for 10 minutes a day about whatever comes to mind and you will find it has an enormous benefit.
The truth is, creativity is found in all walks of life, from cooking dinner, to putting together an outfit, writing a greetings card to giving a presentation at work. If we are making original decisions about it then we are being creative.
But these everyday creative activities aren’t what we think of when we think of ‘a creative person’ They perhaps don’t let us be our best creative selves and are they making us happy?
If the everyday activities aren’t satisfying enough, to live a more creative life it’s important to find something that is. It goes back to being curious, get curious about trying something new and tune into how it makes you feel, and if it doesn’t make you feel much at all or you just don’t like it then try something else. Then wWhen you find something you love do it just for you, whenever you can.
Creativity is a mindful act, it should take you out of the everyday. Try stepping away from screens and instead occupy your creative mind and imagination with something else, a new hobby, crafting, gardening, baking, sewing, photography, reading, writing, drawing, learning about the natural world or anything in the world…there is so much to try!
You will be all the more happy for undertaking the mindfulness of something you love on a regular basis.
Sometimes we allow ourselves to make things but the pressure to share them in this modern world is great and often hobbies are turned into side hustles with a social media account all of their own. This can become stifling and muddle our creative thoughts.
We don’t need to show off everything we do, make it your aim to create something that no one else will see, and with no pressure to make something good you can create freely and in turn look for the best bits to take forward into your next project.
The cycle will continue and in the end you may make something that you are so proud of that you want to share it with everyone!
While the final piece is the result of things we create, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect. Partaking in, enjoying and getting lost in the process is much more important. It’s all about being mindful, of your surroundings, of what you are doing and really being present where you are right now.
Find something you love and indulge in the process.
Explore activities that involve making or thinking about something and when you find one you love try and practise it often. Switch off news and social media feeds and prioritise it. Be as experimental as you like knowing that you only have to share it with others when you are ready and only then if you really want to.
Make something just for you. Don’t focus on the end result, enjoy losing yourself in the process and note how that makes you feel. If it makes you happy, do more!
I hope that if you are in a place of wanting to lead a more creative life this has been in some way helpful!
It’s all about paying attention really, we live on a planet that is an infinitely interesting place to be and once we recognise that and start to pay attention to and be curious about the world and people around us where ever we are, we will be more able to access a vibrant creative mindset.
By doing this, whole new avenues of interest and wonder will open up to us allowing us to live a more fulfilled, engaged and happy life.
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