Sapped by the “I Don’t Feel Creative” Belief?

You have decided that your creative endeavors are going to become more of a priority in your life. You have gone so far as to schedule time several days a week for those endaevors. You have even mangaged to convince your family, friends, pets, and yourself (most importantly!) that this time is sacred. You have the “Do Not Disturb” sign out and have sat down, tools at hand, ready to begin. You twiddle your thumbs, arrange the tools of your desk, shift in your seat, change the music – basically you do anything but what you sat down to do. Why? You don’t feel very creative at this moment. All your ideas went out the window, even though you know that you had a ton of them to work on. Hell, you were so excited to have so many ideas that you couldn’t wait to start. Now? Zip. Nada. Nothing. So you sigh and get up to leave.

STOP RIGHT THERE. Don’t take one more step. Don’t let this sapper control your actions.

“I don’t feel creative” or the sister sapper “I don’t have any ideas” are just excuses your mind is telling you to keep you doing the same thing you have been doing. Like any new habit you are forming, your mind and body put up a lot of resistance to the change, even if you know the change will support you in your life. Right now you have a thousand things running through your minds that you could be doing and all of them are urgent and all of them are important. Since you can’t think of anything to create right now, why not just come back later. “WHY NOT?” you ask. I’m glad you asked! Because it’s not going to be any better the next time either. All those important things are going to be there now or later. So don’t listen to what your mind is telling you “I don’t feel creative” and just do something, ANYTHING! Doodle on a piece of paper. Type out random sentences. Develop a jingle for yourself. Take out and old piece and try redoing it anew. Do something to let your mind and body know that this is your time and you are going to work despite what it tells you. Make this time your creative time. Create and stick to the habit of it.

Eventually, and it won’t take very long, your mind and body will learn that this is your sacred creative endeavor time, and when you put up the sign and go to your space, it will begin to get excited and the ideas and creativity will flooooooooooooooooooow! Try it. Stick with it for six months. See what happens.

What have you got to lose? A little time. What have you got to gain? Joy, connection, smiles, satisfaction, and a bliss that comes with doing something you love and enjoy.

In love and light

Celina

“I don’t know what to do!” Creativity Sapper.

Well you finally made time for your creative endeavors. You put it in your book, set it aside, and are now honoring that sacred creative time. You’ve set up all your tools, prepared a nice cup of tea and a snack. You’ve turned off the phones and turned up the music. You’ve sat down at the table to write, draw, paint, scrapbook, whatever it is and now…. now you don’t know what to do! You’ve got a great big blank hole in your head where all your ideas used to be. You can’t think of an idea, not one, to act upon. You’ve been looking forward to this for days! Here you are, ready to go, and you stare at the paper and can’t think of anything to create. Usually your head is full of things you want to create and now, when you are ready, you get performance anxiety and just sit and stare at nothing. After many minutes of frustration and annoyance you get up and go do something else more productive, thinking next time you will have some ideas.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Don’t let the sapper win! Stay. This is actually one of the easiest sappers to overcome. All it takes is time and persistence.

Creativity is a habit that need reinforcing like any habit. It is a muscle that needs to be exercised. So the more regularly and often you can set aside time, and honor that time, the more your body and mind will learn that “Oh! This is the time we work on our creative endeavors” and will respond accordingly. The key is to stay with it. The more regular and consistent you can make the time of your endeavors, the easier it will be to create the habit of creativity. On the weekends I still wake up at the time my alarm would go off during the week. Usually I roll over and go back to bed. However, my body and mind have the habit of waking up at that time. That is what you want to develop with your creative time also.

There are some very practical and easy things you can do to move through the “blank paper” syndrome.  The best way that I heard was to keep a log of ideas. Carry a notebook around with you and whenever you get a thought, write it down. The smart phones are great for painters and sketchers. See a great ides? Snap a quick picture for later development. When you sit down to work and draw a blank, grab the notebook or look at the pictures to get the ball rolling. Other ideas are to rework an old piece, or practice different techniques. The old tried and true is to get out the crayons and scribble. You know, that’s one of my favorites. Crayons are a great solution to many a creativity sapper. See how many different ways you can combine the same ten words. Do word or image association. Doodle. Whatever you do, make sure you stay at it until your allotted time is up. Ding! Good job.

Now do it again tomorrow, then the day after or next week. Schedule the them, take the time, and sit down and honor the time. This persistent action will create a creativity habit and mindset. Soon, if you miss your scheduled time, your mind will be waking you up to grab your pencil and draw! Yeah!

In love and light

Celina

Is the Importance of your Creativity being Sapped?

How much do you value your creativity? Do you value you it the way you value a friend? Do you respect it the way you should respect your mother or father? Are you giving time and attention to it? Are you nurturing it, feeding it and loving it the way you would a child or a beloved pet? Are you checking in with it to see how it’s doing the way you check in on your boyfriend or girlfriend? Are you planning your time together like you would plan your vacation or wedding? If you are reading this the answer is probably no. If you don’t believe that your creativity is important or valuable then that attitude is sapping your creative actions.

You make time in your life for the people, things and events that are important to you. You will go out of your way to do those things that are important. You will rearrange your schedule. You will post pone other things. You will get up early or stay up late. You will put it in your book so nothing else will get scheduled at that time. How many of you will actually schedule time for your creative endeavors? How many people put it on the top of the to do list and get it done first? Probably not a whole hell of a lot. If it does go on the list it will go on the bottom, after the dusting and cleaning the toilet. Is it any wonder that the creative actions are getting sapped! Who wants to be creative after cleaning a toilet?

The first thing to do in overcoming this sapper is to look at how important your creativity is to you? Does it make your top ten? Does it make your top five? If it really isn’t that important to you then whenever you get something creative done is fine. However, since you are reading this, I will assume that it is up at the top of your list, somewhere in the top ten. Look at where it does fall in your priorities, really be honest here. If it is important to you, then treat it as such! Schedule time in your book and take that time. Even if all you do is 15 minutes of scribbling with crayons or writing the worst poetry ever. Find the time and honor that commitment. In the beginning, the amount doesn’t matter. What matters is that that time is important and you treat it as such. Another way to overcome this sapper is to find a perspective for your creative endeavors that makes them a priority in your mind. You can think of this time as a job that you can’t be late too or absent from. You can think of it as friend, lover or family member that you would never disappoint by canceling on. You can look at this time as a vital job interview or a presentation. Change the way you think about this creative time so that it becomes important. You would never, ever, miss out on something that important to you! Ever!

In love and light

Celina

“I Can’t Start Something New.” – Creativity Sapper!

Every time I go to begin a new project, I get this kind of sinking feeling in my stomach. Then I think, “I’ve got so many things already started.” After this thought, I begin to justify not starting anything new until I finish all those old  projects or throw them out. Since I really don’t want to finish ALL those old projects (because, really, there was a reason I stopped them in the first place) I just give up and go watch TV (or play computer games). Does this sound familiar to anyone? Anyone? Anyone else have lots of started projects building up somewhere in their home? I’m not an advocate of always starting things and not completing them (or throwing them out). However be aware if telling yourself this is just an excuse that a creativity sapper is telling to you to stop all creative endeavors.

Half-finished projects aside, if you find yourself not executing a new idea because you haven’t finished all the old ones, take a look at what’s going on under the surface. Check in with yourself. If you have been acting on your ideas all along, it might really be the “Lots of Ideas” sapper showing it colors. However, if you haven’t been acting on your creative ideas because of all that old stuff, you are definitely in the midst of our current sapper (you might also have a little of the “Lots of Ideas” one going on too, so check into that post). All those undeveloped-upon ideas build up inside and sap energy and desire. You feel like “What’s the point?” because you’ll never finish it anyway. You don’t start it because it will just sit on a shelf. You just let it go because it is too much effort to dig out of all that stuff (energetically and physically). It would be so much better to finish what you started and then begin some thing new. That statement is of course very true. However, if you haven’t been acting upon the creative impulse at all, then it is so much better to begin something then do nothing!!!! Recognize that statement for what it is in this case. It is a sapper!

The best way to move through this sapper is to do something new. As with most sappers, execution on an idea is the best remedy. That and the awareness of what is going on inside of you. Another way to work through this sapper is to get rid of the old stuff. Commit to taking a day or two and go through all that stuff. Throw it all out! If you can’t do that (I can’t) then put it away with the understanding that it is “on hold.” Make a commitment to take it out in, say, six months and begin on it like it was a new project. One of my greatest works, currently, was put away for six months and revived after that time period. Allowing yourself permission to begin something new, even with all those old project hanging around, will really put this sapper on the run. Give yourself permission to start two or three new projects so you can get into the exciting, juicy energy of beginning something new. Then use that energy to follow through on those new things. Oh, that will really kick this sapper in the teeth and send it packing. Finishing a project is the best surest way to say “Goodbye” to this sapper. Go finish something today and say so long to the “I can’t start something new” creativity sapper.

In love and light

Celina

Is Your Creativity Overwhelmed?

Do you feel overwhelmed? Are you always running around trying to get a thousand things done in the time span of an hour? Do all the things you have to do weigh you down and suck your energy? Do you feel like you are cramming 48 hours worth of stuff into 18 hours of a day? Yup! You are overwhelmed and living in that energy. Been there, done that, and still go there for coffee and donuts on occasion. The lifestyle most of us here in the States live is one of doing, doing, doing. We learn that to be productive we must always be in action and moving and shaking.

WAY WRONG ANSWER!!!

I read an article once about very successful CEO of a business and they all would schedule “down time” into their schedule. This was a space where they take time and explore other possibilities, brainstorm, and get creative. Being in constant action does not make you productive. The right actions, combined with inspiration, intuition, and focus are what is going to make you productive. You have the benefit of having time for creativity and being less stressed.

Overwhelmed is definitely a sapper many people (including me) are familiar with. Creativity needs time and space. Inspiration rarely comes when your mind and your day are filled with things that “must” be done. Creativity is often shy and loves those quiet moments. It likes when your body is engaged in its “mundane” tasks like dishes and laundry. This gives the mind a chance to soar and connect with the infinite. It is there that creative ideas are born.

To move through this sapper takes some focus and attention. You should really take a look at what you are doing in your day and see if the actions you are doing are supporting you in getting what you want. If your day is filled with things that do support you, then try to schedule in your day a couple of times a week some creativity time. Actually put it in your schedule. Treat it with the same respect you would any important appointment. Begin to shift your mindset around this time. Don’t think of your creativity as something you do when you have time. Think of your time as something you will spend on your creativity. Think of this time as the most important business meeting you will ever go to. It is that which will bring you everything you want from life. Think of it that way because being inspired and creative will bring you everything you want. Don’t doubt it for a second.

In love and light

Celina

Creativity is not about being Perfect

Taking risks and the willingness to be “wrong” and “look bad” are a part of the process of creativity. If you are not willing to fail you will never try something new. You may never rearrange the the words on a page to see how it might read. You will never try different colors in a painting or new spices in a recipe. You will never put on the dress that just isn’t you or sing a song that might be beyond your range. Creativity is about putting together things in new and different ways. When you do that sometimes in may not look that good, taste yummy or sound nice. When you are taking part in the actions of creativity, perfectionism has no part in the process. None at all.

Perfectionism can show up in many ways. Many times we get so hung up on what the final product will be that we don’t finish or don’t even start. This type of perfectionism occurs when we hold an image in our heads of the final output and if it doesn’t look exactly like we think it should – out it goes. It is judged as “bad” or a “failure”.  There is no room in the process for deviation from the image.  Another challenge for the perfectionist is that they can only see the flaws in there work. They never see when and where the process is working. They never see the beauty of the piece. There are only flaws and that is all they see. The more flaws they see in their works the less likely they are to begin another. A more subtle from of perfectionism is more along the lines of image we present to the world. When this type of person looks at one of their creations, they immediate decide what other people will say or think about it.  They judge it as “different” or as a piece too “out there” for others to enjoy. This person believes that they be “wrong” or the piece is “wrong”. So it is never seen or never created. This type of perfectionism is when we want to appear perfect to the world, when someone will only present a flawless image to others.

We are not perfect. Thomas Edison said “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”. There is no failure. Everything you create teaches you. Everything you create expands you. Everything you create allows you step into the great amazing realm of the endless possibilities that exist. Yeah, I get that and how to I get over it? In the end, every type of perfectionism comes down to a fear – a fear of not meeting some type of expectations. So look at what you afraid of. Is your fear more important than your desire to create? If “no”, then go create something. If you feel like “yes” is the answer, then stop taking the process so seriously. Find away to make the whole thing fun. Find a way to play with it. One thing that worked for me was getting some crayons and drawing a picture with them. Another thing I would do was just scrabble or paint different colors next to one another to see what would happen. Create a fun jingle and sing it to some kids. Try to make the strangest color cake out there. Go find some children and spend some time with them just being “silly”. Just play. No pressure. No expectations. No demands. No one will ever have know what you created. It will be our secret. Promise.

Excuse me, I hear my crayons calling me. How about you?

In love and light

Celina

Lots of Ideas – Creativity Sapper?

At first “Lots of Ideas” would seem just the opposite of a creativity sapper. “Lots of Ideas” would seem like an abundance of creativity. Remember sappers usually deal with the act of creating not necessarily the ideas of creativity. So while having lots and lots of creative ideas is being creative, sometimes it also prevents people from acting upon those ideas.  Sometimes having an abundance of choices paralyzes and the person ends up picking none of the choices. Instead, they do nothing. Another way this sapper could manifest is moving from one idea to the next and never finishing things that are started. A person jumps from one thing to the next never actually completes any of their brilliant ideas. I believe these are both aspects of the same sapper. This is one sapper that I am very familiar with.

How do you know if this sapper is a part of your life? Big clue is if you have many different have started projects in your house. The energy rush of starting a new brilliant idea is amazing and yet the tedious follow through of a project may not be so.  So, as a result, your house is filled with lots of unfinished, started projects. Guilty as charged! Another clue would be if you find yourself saying things like “That would be wonderful to try” or “I would love to create ….” on a fairly regular basis. If you look around at the world and see possible paintings, unwritten stories, amazing designs, potential jewelry and other possibilities and yet really don’t do any thing with those ideas then this sapper maybe a part of your life. Cheer up! Having ideas is a good thing.

So how to unsap this sapper? As one of my coaches suggested to me, get a brilliant idea book. Every time you have an idea put it in the book by taking a picture, jotting a note, making a sketch, do something to get the idea out of your head onto the paper. Once it is out of your head, the energy is free to move. You are free to move. When you’re ready you can now come back to the idea. Another way is remove this sapper is to share your ideas. Give your ideas to someone else and let them run with them. This will energize you and support someone else. You have an amazing amount of ideas so you are not going to run out! Spread the wealth! Another way is to finish something. The satisfaction of finishing a project is as much a rush as starting. Get a feel for that satisfaction. Commit to either finishing the unfinished projects or throwing them out! That energy is stuck right now – get rid of it or finish it. Release all that stuck energy so it can move and flow into something new. Just do it as the Nike commercial says.  Start small and do one thing at a time. If you have a great idea during the process and are tempted to do that instead, put it in your book and vow to get back to it when the stuck energy is released.

One thing I would like to mention is that sappers work really well as a team. So where there is one sapper there is probably more. The “lots of ideas” sapper works really, really well with the “perfectionism” sapper. I will talk about that one next week. It also has another teammate that goes by the name of “overwhelm”. Those three love to work together and are usually very effective as an energy drain.

If this sapper is familiar to you I would love to hear what has worked for you to unsap the sapper!

In love and light

Celina

Creativity Sappers – What are they?

When I speak of creativity, there are two things that I can be referring to. One is the creative inspiration, that spark of an idea that comes to you. The second thing I may speak of is the act of creativity. This is what someone does to manifest the spark of inspiration into physical reality. More often than not when someone talks about being creative, they are speaking about the act of creativity, the doing and shaping of the spark of inspiration that has come to them. When I speak of creativity sappers I refer to the act of creativity and not the spark of creativity. I don’t believe that the spark of creativity can be truly sapped.

I believe that, by nature, human beings are creative beings. Everyday we are constantly taking past experiences and learnings and rearranging them in new things – different than they were before. This is creativity. We do this naturally and really without much thought. When you add some new ingredients to a old recipe, that is being creative. Created a new outfit for yourself – that is also creativity. Human beings are so creative that we don’t even think about it much and have delegate the word – creative- to only mean a few special people such as artists, musicians, writers, etc. We tend to think of people in those professions we think about someone who is creative. However, we are all creative and are being creative constantly. That, I feel, can never be truly turned off.

So, when I speak of creativity sappers I am referring to those things, events, ideas, philosophies that sap energy and prevent people from engaging in the act of creating something. The ideas, the sparks, are still there and yet, when the sappers are about, these ideas never seem to manifest into the physical plan. There are many different types and some them are very old friends of mine. You will probably recognize some of them yourself as I bring them out and introduce them. So, to be clear, a Creativity Sapper is any feeling, situation, person or action that, on a continued basis, prevents someone from engaging in the act of manifesting the spark of there inspired idea into physical reality. The sap the energy to doing anything right out of you. Goodbye. Nice to know you.

In the next few weeks I will be taking on the sappers one by one. I will pull them out and introducing them to you. I hope to make you aware of what might be preventing you from engaging in your acts of creativity. These are only some of the ones I see, felt or experienced in others. If you have a sapper you would like to talked please let me know. What is sapping you is probably sapping someone else to! Maybe, just maybe, an answer will come on how to prevent that sapper from working it’s ugly magic on you.  I hope to support us all in getting back to manifesting our unique spark of inspiration into the physical world. Beware Sappers, beware. Your days are numbered!

In love and light

Celina

My Adventures with Mandalas!

The most common question I’m asked when people are presented with my mandala deck is: “What is a mandala?” The word mandala is a Sanskrit word that means “circle.”  Sanskrit is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and Buddhism. Within Hinduism and Buddhism, mandalas have long history as a meditative and spiritual practice. The term is of Hindu origin and appears in the RigVeda, which is a collection of Vedic hymns. In that context, mandala is used to describe what we might call a chapter in a book or a round in a song. The universe is believed to originate from these hymns. So a mandala is part of original creative universal power. The sand mandala in the Buddhist tradition is a way to impart Buddha’s teaching and attaining enlightenment. Mandalas have been, traditionally, given sacred and profound meanings.

My first exposure to mandalas was not in any spiritual perspective – it was in an artistic endeavor. The circle motif for an artist can be intimidating. That made it a prefect assignment when I was in college studying fine art. Most media that artist work with are not round, so eventually, you will have a lot of open (blank/white) area. Making friends or coming to terms with these open areas is part of learning to be an artist. The understanding that this blank space (often called negative space) is as important to a piece as the areas the artist works with is something most artists learn. As my first attempt at dealing with a circle motif came early in my learning, I was still making friends, so to speak, with this idea. This was to be my first visit with the idea of the mandala. Though it was certainly not my last.

My next exposure to a mandala came when a friend told me of an event happening in my town. The Buddhist monks were creating a sand mandala at the local museum of fine art. I did not get to see the process of actually creating the mandala. That viewing came much later, after the birth of YouTube. It was after that website came into being was able to watch the process. I did, however, get to see the finished piece. It was bigger than I expected 5, 6, 7, or 8 feet across. It had such incredible detail and precision. It blew my mind that this amazing piece of art was made out of sand. Out of sand! It was amazing to me. It was also humbling to know of the dedication and commitment that process would have taken the monks. I was to learn later that after creating these amazing pieces over the course of many days, that the monks, in what I’m told is an amazing ceremony, scoop all the sand up into a pile. Then in a procession they take that sand to the nearest body of water and release it into the water. For them this process is about the process and ceremony. It is certainly not about the result.

Fast forward many years. I was in a place with my art and creativity where I was feeling stuck. I had not created on a regular basis in many years. It was also at this time that I was exploring my place in this world in terms of my spirituality. I was exploring my beliefs and practices and discovering what this looked like for me. In October of 2009, I began a training to be initiated as a Modern Day Priestess. At my first weekend I felt called, drawn, towards the mandala again. On the first of November I began a journey that was to last 4 months. I did an average of one mandala a day for that period of time. It was amazing, incredible, and meditative for me. It supported me in reconnecting to my art and my creativity, and helped me begin to find my own spiritual voice. It was such a healing process for me that I want to share. Thus, the mandala meditation deck was born.

In love and light

Celina

War with my Art

I was talking with my mastermind team and the phrase “at war with my art” came from me. I thought that was a usual statement. I promised them I would explore it more. Here is the exploration.

My first thought was to decide, for me, what being at war meant. When I hear the words “at war” what do I think of. The first thing that comes to mind is that all lines of communications have broken down, that neither parties are willing to compromise, that the are insurmountable differences between the warring parties. I also think of “Take no prisoners” and “Death before surrender”. There is no honor in war but there is glory. Or maybe it might be the reverse – no glory but there is honor. I don’t know but both statements make me sad for us as a race. I also think of the futility of war. In the end it only causes more violence and hate and anger.

I don’t believe in insurmountable differences. I do believe that there are some times when no one is willing to give anything else. That no one is willing to compromise. That people can feel so backed into a corner that the only thing that feel they can do is come out swinging. Everybody loses. Funny how it is heard that there are no winners in war, yet we as a race are very eager to have one.
How does that apply to my art? How can I be at war with it? What does that mean?

The lines of communication have broken down between my art and me. Well, that is true. I no longer enjoy being with it. I don’t enjoy talking about it. I don’t play with it, explore it, invite it over to dinner and have tea with it. What is communication for me in regards to my art? Communication – communion. Communion with my art means being at one with it. I don’t have to think about what I’m doing or where I’m going, it just flows. It just is. It has been awhile since that has happened but I am relearning that again. I am finding my way back to that place of “no time” where it is just me the paper and the IDEA. The lines of communication have been jammed, if not broken, for a little while between me and my art. But the lineman are out are they are busy repairing the damage.

I am very certain that I am unwilling to compromise with my art. I have completely stopped allowing the process to lead. I have an image in my head of what the picture needs to look like. If it doesn’t, it is a complete and miserable failure. No comprise. No deviation. Just what I think it should be or nothing. Wow, when did I become so rigid with myself. I have always been hardest on myself and my work but I can’t remember when it become so stiff and hard and, well, uncompromising. When did I lose sight of the fun and the exploration and the joy of it? When did I lose that connection, that communion, to that part of me that loved the process? Where did the child go who justed loved to draw?

Are my differences with my art insurmountable? I sure hope not!

“Take no prisoners”. That certainly doesn’t apply in this case. I take prisoners all the time. Everyday! When ever I see something that I want to capture on canvas, when ever I take a picture for a future painting, when ever I have an idea that dies within me, unmade, unvoiced, never to be mourned with its passing, any time that happens I take prisoners. I have many of them. They wander around the prison camp in my mind, occasionally rattling the fence and screaming to be let out, kicking at the dirt and cursing the jailers. Maybe I should send in the Red Cross workers with relief packages and sympathy? Maybe I should just let them all go? That scares me. I have such resistance to it. “If I let them go where will I get my ideas?” Like there are a finite amount of ideas in the universe, like I will never see another flower against a stone or light playing in the tress that I must capture. How ridiculous! Let them go and let them find their way to other artists who will take them in, love them, cloth them feed them and give them back to the world. Just let them go. There will always be another idea.

“Death before surrender” Well! I’m certainly dying here, me and my art. So how do I surrender to it? Stop trying so hard. Stop forcing it to be what it may not be. Just stop. Go back to doing the art for the joy of it. Stop caring what it looks like and starting caring what it feels like to me. Stop looking over my shoulder for someone to tell me it’s good, or bad, or the wrong color or the right combination. Just stop and breathe and look and play again. Just surrender to the joy of it and the beauty of it and the place of “no time” where it’s just me, the paper, the idea and Spirit.

In love and light
Celina