I wrote about inspiration in a more poetic framework in the Be Available To Be Inspired post. But in a practical sense….how do we invite and invoke more creativity and inspiration into our every day lives?
I present to you a short-list of my most used practices, perspectives and practical tips for invoking and inviting creativity. A creative checklist, if you will.
- Meditation: No surprises here, but meditation is at the top of my list. Why? Meditation helps us be receptive to the creative resources that are always at our disposal by opening the channel, so to speak. Meditation reminds us of our vastness, and when we connect to that sense of spaciousness, we are able to tap into limitless inspiration. Creating space between our usual day-to-day thoughts (“what’s for dinner, shit I have to do today, remember to feed the dog…) and ourselves makes room for other kinds of content to come through. Juicier, creative content. New ideas. Fresh perspectives.
- Pranayama: Pranayama are techniques that allow us to harness and direct prana, or energy in our bodies in a variety of ways. One of the simplest and most useful techniques is known as Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing. This practice balances the hemispheres of the brain, creating ideal conditions for clear thinking. How-To Cheat Sheet:
- Close your eyes. (Well, read this first, then close your eyes.)
- Fold the pointer and middle fingers of your right hand down towards the palm of your hand. Your thumb, ring finger and pinky finger are extended.
- Bend your elbow, place the ring finger and pinky finger to rest lightly on your left nostril and your thumb to rest lightly on your right nostril.
- Block the right nostril with the thumb where the soft cartilage ends at the top of the cavity of the nostril.
- Inhale through the left nostril.
- Seal the left nostril with the pointer and pinky fingers, breath out through the right nostril.
- Inhale through the right nostril.
- Seal the right with the thumb. Exhale through the left nostril.
- Repeat. As you continue breathing in this pattern, sense the breath moving up through the nostril, filling the opposite hemisphere of the brain with prana or energy, and then descending down on the exhale. Continue for a few more cycles, balancing the brain and harmonizing the nervous system.
- Finish by exhaling through the left nostril. Then, keeping the eyes closed, breath a few rounds through both nostrils.
- P.S. would you guys be interested in a video tutorial on this? Holla in the comments or email me if yes.
- Movement: Walking, dancing, and yoga are my top picks for using movement to create circulation, clear stagnant energy, align myself and create a clean slate. Dancing intuitively and spontaneously can be open you up to playfulness (A.K.A. thinking outside the box), the rhythmic repetitive movement of walking can create a meditative calm, whereas yoga is clutch for clarifying your energy pathways (among many other benefits!)
- Brain Fuel: You guys know I’m really into my Supercharged Hot Chocolate which is packed with tons of beneficial goodies like mushrooms (Reishi and Lions Mane are my top picks for creativity and brain function, respectively). You can find the recipe here. Another favorite brain fuel of mine is E3 Live Brain On, an extract made from Blue Green Algae. I feel the difference when I use it – increased focus and concentration. You can mix a shot of it with water and lemon juice or coconut water or add it to a green smoothie (my Good Vibes Green Smoothie recipe is here, just add a teaspoon or so of the Brain On.) Online I’ve only found 6 packs, which is a bit expensive and OTT, so maybe check your local health food shop freezer for an individual bottle. (Pssst…If you’re in the Byron Bay area, you can swoop a single bottle at Herbal Wisdom in Bangalow.)
- Clear The Air: Before I do anything creative (that includes painting, podcasting and penning poems), I like to clear the air. Palo Santo, Sage, and Sweetgrass are my favorite smudges, Shemana Elixirs Mists are always on hand (Heart Activating Mist and Crystal Clearing Mist are my go-tos) and I always like to light a pure beeswax candle for the negative ions and positive vibes (read more about that here).
- Carpe Creativity: In her book, Big Magic (a must read), Elizabeth Gilbert retells a story told to her by poet Ruth Stone. When working in the fields of the farm she grew up on, she would hear a poem coming to her and would run to the house to write it down before it left her. Sometimes she would barely catch it… like grabbing a tiger by the tail. Get this: in those cases, she’d literally write the poem down… backward. Wild. My reason for bringing this up is this: carpe creativity. Seize the inspiration. Have a journal on hand to jot down the idea, lay down pieces of a poem, or sketch out the image that has come to you. Don’t roll the dice and hope you’ll remember it. Cultivate your creative impulse by listening to it when it calls. Inspiration seeks a response. Are you listening?
- Honor Your Creative Cycles: If you’re tired, low energy or lacking in the motivation to get in and get ‘er done, fret not. It’s important to honor your creative cycles. Use the quieter times for research, reflection and rest. Trust that the muse will return with her trademark lightning bolts, whispered notions and revolutionary revelations when you’re ready. Keep in mind, this is not a permission slip to avoid doing the work. It’s a permission slip to be a seasonal being and to embrace your unique creative rhythm.
- Consider How Inputs Effect Output: Been hitting the Kardashians reruns pretty hard? Or reading a low-vibe celeb gossip mag? Is it any wonder that inspiration doesn’t come knocking? Just like you can’t expect to feel supercharged from eating highly processed food, you can’t feed your muse a steady diet of low-vibe inputs and expect her to show up with the high grade. Just sayin’. Enjoy your guilty pleasures, but be mindful of the effect they have.
- Pride Of Place: If you want to make space in your life for a creative endeavor, give it pride of place in your schedule. Make it a priority, don’t hope that you’ll have time at the end of your day for it. Make it the first thing on your list. Use your best thinking hours for your most valuable creative undertakings. It’s very tempting to attack my inbox or do menial tasks but that would be a waste of your best brain power..and if you’re being honest, it’s probably an avoidance technique. It’s sort of like eating the ugliest (or most beautiful?) frog first. Do the biggest creative work first. And then do the menial tasks as your energy and brainpower wane.
- Tomato Timers: I’ve written about the power of single-tasking before and I’m still in love with the ol’ tomato timer. I use the Pomodoro technique of working in 25 minute timed increments as a way of focusing, mini goal setting and generating creative momentum (A.K.A. flow). Try it out. You’ll be amazed at what you can create when you commit to focusing.
- Kick Goals: Specific, realistic, concrete goals are helpful for accomplishing bigger creative undertakings. I find that setting goals around the process (rather than outcome-focused goals) are more beneficial. For example, I’m currently working on a book (Heavily Meditated y’all! Get psyched!) Rather than saying, “I’m going to finish a chapter this week,” I set a goal to just show up and do the work – it can be as simple as committing to doing 4 Pomodoros that day (around 2 hours of focused writing.) Finishing a chapter might happen in that time, but it might not. If my goal was to finish the chapter and I couldn’t do it in that 2-hour block, I’d feel dissatisfied and disempowered. By making the terms of the goal related to the work and not an end result, I empower myself to feel satisfied with my efforts, to enjoy the process as I work toward the bigger goal of finishing a book.
- Mastermind: I’m a big fan of masterminding. Find a creative cohort that you can check in with. Mastermind groups are amazing for getting honest feedback on your work, but perhaps even more valuable is that they create accountability and encouragement for your work in equal measure. I have two different squads that I mastermind with and I absolutely love it.
- Ship That Shit: Newsflash! Done is better than perfect. So once you’ve polished it, ship it. Don’t let fear of judgment or the pursuit of perfection get in the way of being of service to the world. Get your work out there. Don’t withhold it from us. (If you need a pep talk on this topic, holla at this post.)
There you have it. A checklist of my tactics for invoking and inviting more inspiration and generating more creative output. As always, I hope it serves you.
Have some other creative hacks to share with our community? We’re all ears, so share away in the comments below.