Far from being a rare gift, only possessed by the ‘artists’ among us – painting, drawing and many other forms of creativity can be as natural and instinctive to us as breathing – if we let it. When practiced mindfully, painting, drawing and all other forms of creativity have the power to effortlessly lead us into a deeper relationship with ourselves and the world around us; turning these creative activities into play, into a dance of movement, an act of seeing deeply and connecting profoundly with life.
When children paint, draw and create, they do so instinctively, and generally without too much thought, they just do it and go with it. They don’t generally even have a sense of good or bad, they don’t judge their creativity, they just create. So, ‘creativeness’ is in all of us and as children the barriers of “I can’t paint” etc. were not there. This is where engaging in mindfulness creativity can help us to get past the mind-talk and self-doubting, thereby enabling us to unlock and re-engage with our own unique creative being.
Engaging in mindfulness creativity
So how can we make a start on the path of mindfulness creativity? Lots of things can get in the way, not enough time, low confidence, a strong voice inside saying we can’t do it –we’re rubbish. But the truth is we’ve probably strayed onto it at some point in our lives already. As an example, many of us engage with an act of mindful drawing without even realising that we are doing so. This act is doodling, and in this simple practice many of the profound truths of mindfulness and drawing are contained. It has become quite a recognised mindfulness practice and there is now the ‘Zentangle’ technique (a form of Zen Doodling). There are now a number of Mindfulness colouring books, or you can just ‘mindfully doodle’.
Have you ever ‘doodled’ and then seen something in the abstract lines and shapes? You can use the same technique in other art forms such as painting, sculpting, etc. Just engaging with the activity without judgement or expectations. Feeling the pen on the paper, the paint on the canvas – whatever the form of artwork, just ‘being’ in that moment. Then seeing what transpires, where the flow of your ‘being’ takes you – actually becoming at one with the stroke of the brush, the flow of the ink etc. as you create.
The benefits of mindfulness creativity
Creating helps me stay mindful, centred and balanced. Creativity and mindfulness are inextricably linked. Keeping your creativity going (or getting it started) will help you live life in a mindful way. This ensures you will be in a great space to embrace life in the here and now.
Mindfulness creativity helps us stay centred and balanced. Whatever your creative outlet, it can turn up surprising results for all areas of our lives.
Creativity comes in so many different forms, and pays dividends in every area of our lives. Make a little space in your life for a regular creative practice! Making time for these activities – no matter how small – will make a difference to your mindset and mood, helping you accomplish more in your life.
What to do if you think you’re not creative
I believe that everyone is creative and that we are born with inherent creative ability. Those of us who identify with being creative understand that creativity manifests in many different ways – from the ability to paint, write or draw, to making incredible food, planting out and tendering a garden or the talent for writing computer code.
Creativity is like a muscle – we can train it, grow it and develop it over time, simply by using it. If you don’t think you’re a creative person, start your creative practice by choosing something simple and easy to achieve. The growing popularity of adult colouring books is a fantastic example of a creative, mindful activity, but so is trying out some new recipes, beginning a daily journal or doing a photography project.
Creativity builds productivity
All too often, we fall into the trap that ‘we don’t have time’. And yet I find by routinely making time to engage in mindfulness creativity, my mind is calmer, I am more focused and much more productive, I feel sharper, and more alert.
Exercising your creativity is like giving your life a fitness workout. It will expand your possibilities, and assist you in achieving all of your goals. So my invitation to you is to make time to engage in mindfulness creativity and discover the creative ability and the benefits this brings!