Untying Creative Knots
A few hours ago, I had a massive craving for chocolate chip cookies. Enormous craving. I could taste that cookie in my mouth. I knew I had all the stuff to make them, and at that moment, I wanted nothing else in this world as much as one of my own chocolate chip cookies (If you’ve ever had my cookies, you understand. My cookies work miracles)
However, instead of baking a batch, which I can do in about 15 minutes, I paused. This is a warning. For one thing, I know that dairy and sugar make me feel awful, so cookies might not be the best choice. I know cookies are my #1 comfort food and I definitely feel out-of-sorts today. So instead of firing up the KitchenAid, I sat on the couch and thought about why ooey-gooey cookies have taken over my brain. What am I really feeling? What is this craving covering up?
For the first time in years, I feel like I’m really progressing into my creative potential. I’ve been painting all week, I’m working on my novel again, I’m looking for a voice teacher and I’m toying with the idea of performing again. It feels amazing, but today I just feel uncomfortable; I just want to lay on the couch in my comfy sweater, eat cookies and watch Supernatural reruns. Today I felt stagnant, like I was reverting back into that creative paralysis I’ve been in for months.
But the same issues, or “creative knots” I’ve been rolling around in my head for weeks came up again: How am I going to create my career? How can I do what I love and fulfill my creative potential while making money? Am I truly being myself? Who do I want to become? I wasn’t stagnant, I was contemplative. I find that when I’m in a period of growth, every once in awhile I’ll need a few days or a week to just think about things and untangle some of those “creative knots”, working out the logistics of what I’m doing and gauging where I am on my path.
After a few hours of journaling, pondering, and listening to Laura Hollick teleclass audios, I feel like I’m on my way to being the creator I’ve always knew I’d become, like I’ve cleared some of those inner obstacles. I don’t know how things will work out, but I know they will. I’m 22. I have plenty of time to work things out and nothing’s stopping me from enjoying the ride, because it’s all part of the process.
So we can take a few lessons from this experience:
- Turn stagnation into contemplation and progress– I hate feeling stuck. I always want to be accomplishing something or moving forward in some way. Normally this restless feeling I experienced today would have driven me nuts and I might have stayed in that place even longer wishing it would just go away. Everyone feels like this sometimes. Instead of letting that feeling paralyze you, understand that it’s an indication that you have some thinking to do. Make some time to study or ponder whatever’s troubling you and reach a conclusion, or at least a place that satisfies you at that time. Make this a habit and you might even look forward to these “contemplative” days instead of seeing them as a problem.
- Dispel the notion that we must be content at all times- I used to think that happiness meant feeling joyful and content all the time, but now I realize that without some emotional discomfort, a) we’ll never appreciate the good time, because everything must have it’s opposite, and b) we’ll never be prompted to grow or make change. Use these emotions as a tool for creating the life you want and whenever those not-so-fun emotions show up, you’ll know something needs some tweaking.
- Pay attention to emotional “symptoms”– Sometimes our emotions don’t manifest on the surface, but instead cause you to experience “symptoms”. For me, it’s food cravings, usually for sweets. For you it might be the urge to go shopping, a shift in the music you listen to, or you might just notice that you’re more on edge than usual. Recognize that these are all symptoms of a larger emotion, which is an indication that something in your life needs attention. See these symptoms, whether it’s emotional eating or a tendency to snap at your spouse, as a blessing. It’s a meter that measures your emotions.