Believe it or not, we are all creative and nurturing our relationship with Creativity is vital to living a full and enriching life. When we develop a loving and respectful relationship with this sacred force, we give ourselves permission to be child-like. At the same time, we also set down the heavy load of expectations and demands.
In this busy world, I so often see creatives crumble and collapse by placing too much pressure on themselves. They are endlessly chasing certain outcomes, hustling for money and validation. Many also struggle with perfectionism. In this story, I take a look at how you can foster a more fulfilling relationship with Creativity.
What agreement have you made?
When attempting to cultivate a nurturing relationship with Creativity, it is important to reflect on what agreements you have already made with it. The expectations and beliefs you have formed influence greatly the choices you make and how you are harnessing your creative potential.
Let me share my threads of my story to demonstrate more fully what I mean. From an early age, I demonstrated entrepreneurial tendencies, such as possessing a natural knack for identifying opportunities to create projects and business ideas. Meanwhile, by the time I was eight, I knew I wanted to travel and write stories.
Yet, despite my gifts and intentions, I didn’t always invest in them. Now, looking back, I can see this was partially because I had over time developed a restrictive agreement with Creativity; it was one where I didn’t feel supported. This relationship was modelled on those around in particular, my parents.
My parents were very creative people but had negative beliefs and patterns, which stemmed from scarcity and perfectionist mindsets. My father was what I call ‘an earth worker’; he could build unique and beautiful furniture and structures from scrap metal and wood, and created beautiful and abundant garden sanctuaries. Yet, he harnessed his creativity only when things were ‘tough’ and he needed to save a buck. While his way of working with materials inspired me to be innovative and resourceful, I learnt that Creativity needed to be put to work; it had to do something ‘useful’.
Meanwhile, my mother was a talented musician and writer, but often struggled to start and complete projects because she feared that her creations wouldn’t be perfect. More than once, she took charge of my school projects, writing and illustrating sections, because they ‘had to look right’ so that I would get good marks. While she was well meaning, I internalised her behaviour to mean that I wasn’t able to do the projects in a way that would be acceptable.
I carried these undermining beliefs into my adult life and they worked against me a number of times. For example, I was so fortunate to live out a dream and conduct research in South America, but when I later returned home, I struggled to write about these experiences because I felt I couldn’t write ‘perfect’ stories or books.
Fear of failure and perfectionism ‘kill creativity’, as Elizabeth Gilbert highlights, but so too does the belief that your creativity is only worthwhile if it helps you make or save money. As she said in an interview with Marie Forleo, ‘People murder their creativity by insisting they’re not truly creative unless their creativity pays the bills.’ Meanwhile, as Marie Forleo highlights, the roots of many limiting patterns are the beliefs that ‘you’re not good enough’ and ‘you don’t have what it takes‘.
Nurturing your connection through play
One way I nurture my connection is to have ‘artist’s dates.’ This idea came from Julia Cameron’s (2016) brilliant book, the ‘Artist’s Way.’ Each week, I take time out to play and just create, with no outcome in mind. Often, I feel more relaxed and confident afterwards. And funnily enough, a number of the pieces I have created during these dates are the ones that really speak to people and some enough to buy them.
So, magic happens when you greet Creativity with wonder and play. Don’t believe me? Then I urge you to make a date and try it.
I have started a group on Facebook to bring ancient alchemists together. If you are a woman seeking to deepen your relationship with Creativity, I invite you to join us. You may also wish to subscribe to my newsletter for all my latest news and updates.
In this story, I have cited:
Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self. Pan Macmillan.
I also highly recommend, Elizabeth Gilbert’s (2016) Big Magic: How to Live a Creative Life, and Let Go of Your Fear, published by Bloomsbury Publishing.
Forleo, Marie 2019. Everything is Figureoutable. Portfolio Penguin, London, United Kingdom.
Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Photo by Victoria Strukovskaya on Unsplash