I never set out to live a “creative life”. I didn’t wake up one morning as a young girl and think “hmm…I really want to do something creative when I grow up”. I never felt a calling to become an artist, a performer, or share my voice with the world in any other way. In fact, I was content with the idea of getting married, having babies and staying home to bake chocolate chip cookies.
It wasn’t until recently that I began to understand, I had done exactly that. I had built a life around creativity. Around creating, making, sharing, doing. Cooking, yoga, gardening, mothering, even decorating; all of it is just a form of expressing myself. I had built a life around being creative. Because as it turns out, when I’m creating, is when I am the most present, and find the most joy.
I believe we are all creative individuals, whether we realize it or not. Everything from how we dress, the meals we cook, and the stories we share. It’s how we express who we are to the world. Every day we create. We share. We connect.
But creativity can be a tricky thing. Although it’s all around us, and available to each of us, it can quickly be lost if we don’t foster it. If we don’t nurture our creative side.
As I began working on Grace in the Crumbs I felt so inspired. Ideas were coming to me quicker than my hands could keep up. And then – it stopped. Not completely, but slowly I could feel my creative fire beginning to fade.
Creativity has an ebb and flow to it. If we don’t activity work to nurture it in our lives, it’s fire begins to fade. It turns out, I wasn’t actively working on keeping my fire going. So over the past few weeks I’ve taken some time to make room for creativity.
I am in no way an expert on creativity or inspiration, but here’s what I’ve found to help me reignite my creative fire….
1. Keeping my house clean
Creativity lives all around us, but first and foremost it lives within us. Our bodies are the vessels in which our creativity lives, so keeping a clean “house” is essential to living a creative life.
For me, this means everything from getting rest, eating mindfully, and moving my body in a nurturing way. The cleaner and lighter my body feels, the sharper my mind feels. Only from this clarity can I see the beauty and inspiration that’s all around me.
2. Create connections
So much of my energy and inspiration comes from other people. I feed off them. I know that may sound strange, but I think to an extent we all do this. It’s that recharged feeling you have after a great conversation with a friend. It fills you back up.
Connecting with others, sharing my story and hearing theirs, helps to refill my soul. When I’m talking with someone, regardless of who it is, I find that their stories or words usually spark something within me. The key is to really see them, hear them and allow room for a genuine connection.
3. Set down the phone, and pick up a book
Reading other peoples stories and words is such an incredible source of inspiration and creativity for me. I have always loved to read and have a huge stack of books on my nightstand that’s always overflowing. Everything from cookbooks, to poetry to yoga anatomy. And yet, there are days that I don’t pick them up. Instead I’ll crawl into bed and pick up my phone, which never serves me.
So I’m working on setting down my phone more, and picking up a book. It used to be a natural priority for me, but for whatever reason has become out of balance. Like everything else, it’s a practice.
4. Get outside and experience the world
Nature is the original source of inspiration. Just look around you and you are in awe. Regardless of where you live, or the season, there is beauty everywhere you look.
I find that the days I’m feeling foggy or uninspired, are most often the days I need to get out of the house. I need to go experience something outside. Anything from a walk along the beach, a hike with the kids, or just a few moments on my porch taking in deep breaths. Spending time outside and experiencing the world around me always give me perspective, clarity and inspiration.
5. Get back to the basics
When I’m feeling lost or uninspired I go back to the basics, regardless of what it is. If I’m feeling stuck with a blog, I go back to why I originally started writing. When I’m struggling in the kitchen I go back to the first meals I used to cook. Going back to where I started, my original inspiration, always helps.
Revisiting old ideas, old recipes, old stories, and seeing them with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective always provides new material. There will always be something that was “left”. Something that was “untouched”. Just waiting patiently for my return.
Our original inspiration and sources of creativity, tend to be the ones truest to our heart. So they will always continue feed us. Sometimes we just need to return to the basics.
6. Put in the work, every day
This is the hardest one for me. Practicing my craft daily. Nothing comes without work, effort or practice. Writing, cooking, mothering; all of it takes practice and effort. So I work on my craft, every day.
I have started a practice of setting a timer for 10 minutes a day to write, because I am NOT a writer. In fact it still shocks me that I write a blog because writing does not come naturally for me. So I have to practice. I sit my butt in the chair and write. Not forcefully, but consciously.
Creativity feeds creativity. So the more consistently we practice, even just a small amount every day, the more we feel inspired to continue.
7. Create rituals, not habits
A habit is something done repeatedly for the purpose of performing a specific action. A ritual, in contrast, is something done repeatedly with a purpose outside of the action. It’s bigger than the action.
This is a really important differentiation for me.
My yoga practice is a ritual. Cooking is a ritual. Reading to my children at night is a ritual. But when I’m not really there. When I’m moving through those things without awareness or mindfulness the importance, or gravity, of the action is lost. It becomes just a habit, a mindless routine. This is when I lose my inspiration.
Rituals require sharp focus and intention. This awareness helps us to tune into the creativity that’s all around us. By moving mindfully and purposely through our actions, we stay open to inspiration.
Ideas and inspiration are always around us. They are there for each of us. We are all creative. We just have to be able to see it. To be open to it.
I’d love to know how you stay open to inspiration, and how you help keep your creative fire alive.