Protecting Your Creative Flow from the Quicksand of Current Events
Photo by Corrinne Theodoru
The political climate in the US is more acrimonious than ever, and many of us had a very hard time these past few weeks during the Senate hearings for Judge Kavanaugh. Many people found Dr. Ford’s powerful testimony both validating and triggering. People—and I think women in particular—have been flooded with emotions, and racked with feelings of outrage.
When you are a creative professional who is a deep feeler, a turbulent time like this can throw a real monkey wrench into your creative flow! And yet our current era is proving to be full of times like these, with no end in sight. History is full of turbulent, horrifying, unjust events. These are times for artists to get to work, not to become immobilized by our feelings! We need to take care of ourselves and stay in motion so we can bring our work into the world.
I want to share few ideas with you to help you protect and maintain your creative flow during times when the news cycle is producing highly emotional content.
If you’re feeling exhausted, rest. It seems overly simple, but it’s usually overlooked. It’s the easiest way to help yourself feel better. Take a nap for 20 minutes rather than scrolling social media. Find a way to go to bed an hour earlier. What about going to bed super early, like 7 or 8 pm one night? What a gift to yourself! Even a walk can be a way to rest.
Unplug. Detox from the endless input. When I give myself a day away from the negativity and just live my life, I find myself feeling much better. Sometimes when you turn off the outside input, things will bubble up that you’ve been using all of that media to block out: things that you need to address in your own life. Take time to acknowledge what is good in your life and what you might need help with. If you need help, what steps can you take to work on that? What help can you get? Can you seek counseling, call a friend, journal, cry it out? All of this takes you in a positive direction that helps you be a better creator.
Once you tune out, let yourself be with your feelings. The other day, I drove to the park to take a hike. It was an extremely bleak day in the news, and I found myself sitting in the car, crying my eyes out. I used up every tissue and napkin I could find in that car! Yet after a good cry like that, there is a sense of well-being.
Remember that the world happens and you’re a part of the world, but you’re also allowed to take space from it.
Fill your own well. Think thoughtfully about how you want to fill yourself up with well-being. If you were talking to yourself as a friend who was feeling depleted or overwhelmed, what would you compassionately recommend that they do for themselves?
This is such a vital part of our practice! When we think about replenishing ourselves, we often first think of activities that cost a lot of money, like massages, retreats, shopping, etc. But it doesn’t need to cost a lot—or anything. You can refill your well by sitting in the sun for a few minutes with your journal. It can be pulling weeds while listening to music or a great audiobook. It can be meditating. It can be a walk in the woods. It’s whatever YOU like to do! I like to go to Zell’s Diner and have a huge cup of tea and eat breakfast alone while I read a library book and write in my journal.
I believe that after completing the cycle of resting, unplugging, detoxing, and replenishing yourself, your creativity usually returns. But be gentle with yourself: if you’re in the state of overwhelm or recovering from it, don’t expect yourself to be prolific.
Celebrate your creativity AND your well-being - and tend to them well. The world needs us to do this!