4 Questions to Steady your Creative Ship

In January I’m running my first round of Creative Scaffolding of 2013 and I wanted to give you a sneak peek into some of what we cover over in the course…instead I felt moved to share this in the hopes that it will be of service to you as one year ends and another begins. I like the idea of ‘practical’ more than ‘preview’!

On signing up for Creative Scaffolding the first thing you receive from me is a list of questions – a way for me to get to know you and for you to clarify exactly what you want out of this experience.

These questions are useful anytime however to right a creative ship gone astray or to investigate what’s holding you back right now. In fact I journalled on these very questions late one night last week and I’ve included by own insights below. So grab your inkiest pen, make a cup of tea and get a head start on your planning for 2013…

:: 1. How does creativity manifest in your life right now? What Art are you up to?

If your answer to these questions are ‘It doesn’t’ and ‘I don’t know’ I would ask you to have a good hard look at your everyday before you dismiss yourself as entirely uncreative…

‘I don’t do anything creative…

…but I do like to experiment with new recipes.’

…I never teach the same yoga class twice.’

…I journal everyday. I have to write.’

…I have a thing about creating unique outfits.’

Look to the little things. Consider everything as potential creativity realized. Maybe you would tell me about your parenting style, wardrobe, unique filling system that you created (that’s the jackpot word right there!), how you decorate your home or tend your garden…you tell me!

Right now creativity manifests in my life through journaling, this blog and the crazy-exciting ideas I have for it in the New Year, through Creative Scaffolding and being of service to others and through singing and songwriting with super talented friends. For me community and creativity go hand-in-hand and collaboration is currently where I feel truly inspired.

:: 2. What’s the best thing to say to you if you’re feeling scared or resistant?

After the high of the first question this might seem like a bummer but bear with me! In Creative Scaffolding, and in life as Artists, we are mindfully working against the tide of cultural, social, religious,…*insert influence of your choice*…opinion that says creativity is trivial. expendable. worthless.

We pick up this message in often subtle, unconscious ways and often from people who mean the very best, who are just trying to protect us as someone once protected them, by dismissing Art.

Poking around in these places can feel uncomfortable at best. It can feel like a betrayal of where you’re from or like you’re going against the world, all alone. Neither of these things are true – being creative isn’t a betrayal of anything , it’s a returning home to yourself! – but when these fears rear their ugly heads you need to be aware of what’s happening and deserve to be comforted in whatever way works for you.

This is a powerful thing to be able to tell your nearest and dearest. Offering support when you just don’t know what to say, or seeming to be making everything worse the more you talk, is a no-win situation for anyone. So give them a script (or tell them to back out the door slowly and leave the chocolate bar on the table) and make life a little less frustrating for everyone involved this New Year!

There is no right answer, anything goes. Some people like to hear tough love ‘Snap out of it, silly!’ and some people like softly-softly ‘There, there. I understand. It’s OK to feel like that’.

For me, I want to be affirmed that I’m facing the right direction, heading where I’m meant to go as a person, fulfilling my called – ‘Parisa, you are talented. You are meant to sing. You’re doing what you’re meant to be doing’ – because these are the first things I start to question when I get fearful around creativity.

Which leads us to our next question…

:: 3. What do you question about yourself when you get fearful about creativity?

It’s good to know where the meanies will try and attack first, where the chink in your armor is.

If you’re unsure grab your journal and ask yourself where you feel the most insecure in general or think of feedback in the past that really cut deep. Even if the person meant it as constructive, that feeling of near-shameful pain after criticism or feedback is a neon sign telling you to protect yourself.

Knowing this puts you in control. Yes, the thought might come, the feeling of pain or powerlessness may be there, but now you know what’s up! Now you can counter it with self-care. Now you can call someone you trust to tell you differently or offer support (see question 2! In fact just pop your answer to question 2 on Facebook and direct all inquiries there when the sh*t hits the fan!)

It also offers you insight. Why do your fears go there? Is there a memory, experience or doubt that needs to be aired or let go of? Is this actually someone elses fear that you picked up along the way, carrying it with you out of loyalty or pride? This is the root of the root. This is where the work really lies.

For me it is always, always, that I’m not talented and that I’m fooling myself if I think I am. I basically call myself deluded. Thanks for that one Brain! When I get mean I like to cut right to the heart of the matter and let my fears make camp there. Perfect way to stall all forward movement so being aware is paramount and backing away slowly, preferably into my bed with a good book, is the best course of action.

:: 4. What do you want to focus on next?

In Creative Scaffolding we only have 4 weeks together. Having a focus or intention (a ‘sankalpa’ as it’s called in yoga) is so important. You can’t fix everything in 4 weeks but you can narrow down and put your lazer-sharp vision on one significant area and see it shift.

This is also true in life. Now, I’m the first to admit that I love switching focus, having lots of projects on the go at once and following where the inspiration leads. Every now and then I have to admit though that seeing something through to the end, letting it develop and mature, is necessary and hugely beneficial to my peace of mind.

And when your intentions seem vague to begin with, it’s amazing what a little extra detective work can uncover. ‘I want to be more creative in my life’  OK, in which part of your life? Your home life? Work life? In relationships or how you dress or express yourself? If it’s your home life, is it how your home looks or how your household functions or what you cook for dinner? Is it in terms of how you treat yourself?

Suddenly ‘I want to be more creative in my life’ becomes ‘ I want to work on bringing more variety and fun into how I treat myself – creative self-care!’ Bravo!

Moving forward into 2013 I want to focus on bringing more fun and lightheartedness into my creativity. I’ve been taking my Art-making waaaay too seriously recently and as 2012 draws to a close I want to see it out with FUN! I want to follow what feels good to my heart and right now that is all about collaboration. In fact watch this space because January will see the beginning of my most collaborative, conversational, exploratory, adventurous, community-driven project to date and I can’t blinkin’ wait…

I hope these prompts serve you in uncovering where your creativity lies and saves you from heartache when the work seems too hard or irrelevant.If you feel moved to share your answers I would LOVE to read them in the comments below.

Remember…

Being creative is a returning home to yourself

If you’re interested in joining me for Creative Scaffolding in January 2013 head over to the sign-up page now for a special treat. As a Christmas present to all you wonderful folk out there, until the 31st Dec, you can sign up for Creative Scaffolding for $150…that’s $50 less than it normally is! In the New Year the price will be going up to $250 to accommodate the new-fangled awesomery that I’m shoe-horning into it so snap it up now to start your New Year with clarity and the tools to see your Art flourish or  gift it to your most closeted creative friend and they’ll love you forever (er, love not guaranteed!)

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