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healing
Art

The erratic nature of the creative process

Introspection as an act of healing and balance

 

Once upon a time my art and creativity was erratic, always in the extremes, I was inspired once a year and created drawings or texts that never came to an end.

Constantly complaining and comparing myself to my peers, who I thought had more consistent creativity than I did and I believed that inspiration should be something constant in my life. “I have to be always inspired, I have to always do good art” were my beliefs. Forgetting, that as the energy of the human body there are days we are more creative and days that we are less creative or productive.

 

Several factors contribute to such impermanence like Feeling lethargic, fear of failure, perfectionism mania, boredom, comparison, procrastination, too many expectations and focusing on the results instead of focusing on the process and forgetting that mistakes are perfectly normal to happen.

 

Sometimes we forget that life is not static, nothing in life remains the same is a dance of opposites that sometimes is not accepted or not reflected on it. More than ever, I am learning to embrace the paradox of creative energy.

The challenge in these moments is to be able to keep looking at the self as an artist even when we are not creating art; accepting that it is a phase, it will pass and having compassion for the self is crucial.

 

 

If you can name the poison then you can name the cure 

The way I dealt with my art and creativity was the same way I dealt with myself; I had no compassion, patience and I did not reflect on my real needs. I spent Hours lost dreaming of an artistic career without ever practicing and having an action plan, always in a hurry but did not arrive anywhere was inconsistent with myself and consequently with my art.

 

It took me a long time to perceive the roots of my inconsistency and Low creative energy.

I decided to start questioning in-depth the whys of my erratic creativity and find sustainable forms of action that I could use to solve my eternal artistic and spiritual blockage.

 

The result of my introspection was the following: The biggest problem is the fear of making bad art, the constant need for approval from others, fear of the unknown and the continued comparison with what the other established artists were doing.

 

I brutally massacred myself on a mental-spiritual level and I needed an urgent cure that being the case the only antidote I could think of for these poisons were:

• Focus

• Connection

• Self-confidence

• Space

• Compassion

• Show up to the canvas

 

These antidotes were and still are my saviors, when I feel frustrated and demotivated I go to them, I inject them in my mind and consequently, I feel more connected, confident and ready to face my inner demons. 

 

I have also decided to enter the world of meditation, always felt a natural inclination for this spiritual art. Meditation improves cognitive function, helps to think better, be productive, silences the mind and a quieter mind has more room for good ideas.

 

Conscious meditation (mindfulness) helped to center me and create a space for reflection and acceptance of the dark aspects of my personality concerning fears/blockages and helped me in the transition from being a self-sabotage to a self-compassionate and proactive human being. 

 

Fear became an opportunity for courage, pain for strength and resilience; I began to question the subconscious standards that took care of my present and to unlock the wisdom that was contained within me.

 

Has the psychologist Curl Jung said: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it destiny”.

 

I decided not to rely on inspiration to create because if it were to count on it I would never paint, draw and write.

My equation for creative productivity became the formula that Mark Manson professes:

 Action—» Inspiration—» Motivation 

 

This formula helps me to show up to my art, no matter what. I create art with no fear or expectation, no pressure, good or bad does not matter.

With this attitude, I dismantled my fears and learned to drink tea with the dark aspects of the self.

It was crucial to make peace and integrate with myself. To map out the unfulfilled dreams, desires to assess and understand what I want, and what I needed. The vision became clearer and my process of art creation flourished.

 

 Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakes “. Curl Jung

 

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Strategies I use to promote motivation/energy to create art

 

1. Questioning:

When life seems empty I try to understand what I need, I write my emotions on paper to clear my mind. I question the negative thoughts that create fears and blockages and evaluate if it is worth being anchored to fear or moving forward even with fear and anxiety.

 

2. Watering my mind with encouraging thoughts:

Creating mantras or encouraging phrases to face the days with low creative energy helps me a lot; I learned to be conscious of the way I speak to myself because negative thoughts bring low energy.

I use words with high-energy vibration, such as Flow, co-creation, respect, compassion, courage, balance, admiration; these words help to learn, grow and expand new spheres of possibilities.

 

3. Practicing Gratitude:

Every day I write in my journal the blessings I have, The good things that happen in my life, the good things I’ve done, the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned.

 

4. Honor my tastes and my influences/question my values:

I always try to do my best and incorporate the positive principles/values that I am learning from my experience on this earth and the books or people I admire.

I constantly question whether certain values that I have to help me to flourish or harm me and I always choose the ones who help me to flourish and expand.

 

5. Draw or write without fear/create space to make mistakes.

For me, there is nothing more therapeutic than drawing, painting and writing with no fear of making mistakes this helps me a lot with my creativity and gives space for free expression, exploration. I have a drawing journal were I jot my ideas, doodles, paint freely with no expectations or perfectionism. 

 

6. Doing more activities that promote my creativity.

Meditate, rest, read, watch movies, tidy up my space, go to a spa, walk, listen to music, solitude, communicate with those I love and reflect are the activities that promote my creative energy and promote my internal growth.

 

The more I do what I like the more I create energy to express myself freely with enthusiasm and propel more reasons to meet my creativity.

As a final point, we must always remember that creativity is an erratic movement: today you do two steps forward and tomorrow tree steps backward; and when this happens, it is necessary to be very gentle with ourselves and not be discouraged.

 It is important to have tea with the dark aspects of ourselves and have the compassion to promote a qualitative and sustainable change.

 

Has Susan Jeffers said: We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures…Take a risk a day- one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it.

Also Check: A Relationship Doesn’t Need To Be Delusional

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by artandotherstories

Emilia Duarte, Mozambican multidisciplinary artist/writer, painter-illustrator and clinical psychologist.


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