Where do we go when the well is dry? Where do we find our creative inspiration? How do we escape and not in a way to avoid, but rather to reconnect to our soul?
In our everyday, busy lives we need to make a conscious effort to connect, to seek inspiration and to find space to think, breathe and awaken. We can do this through mindfulness. When we practice being mindful, we pause and open our senses. When we do this, we bring our attention to the now. It’s an escape from ruminations on the past or anticipatory anxiety about the future. Being in the now also affords us a sense of gratitude and enriches our quality of life by helping us feel present and engaged in the moment before us.
When we do this, we tend to notice the sanctity of life and the miraculous wonders in nature.
We can bring mindfulness practices to everyday living through food and cooking. We can lose ourselves in new recipes with exotic spices and new ingredients, cooking slowly to downshift our life pace. The chopping and peeling and prep work of cooking engages our mind in the moment. The smells, tastes, sounds and feel of cooking becomes a sensory immersion, an escape from what ails us.
When I want to fill up my well, I go to nature. I take a mindful walk without my phone and listen to the birds or the wind in the trees. I notice the colors around me. I experience my breath and come into the moment. I connect with my body and my movement in a way that recharges and reinvigorates me.
I pause to notice small changes in my garden as the seasons change. New growth, new colors, new buds opening and also notice things dying back, changing shape and returning to the earth.
Moving beyond cooking and nature, I give myself permission to explore creating with art materials or with music.
My focus is always on the process, not the product. When I allow myself to make mistakes and create for the sake of creating, I’m not inhibited by perfection or expectations of what it will look or sound like in the end. Blending paint colors can be a visceral experience. ‘What does it feel like to mix this color with that one?’ ‘What do I notice?’ ‘Does this new shade please me or does it need more of this or more of that?’ Painting and music making are opportunities to escape into the moment.
Access to creativity can be simple and small.
We don’t have to make masterpieces to experience the joy and benefit. Creative opportunities expand us and create space. They break the bonds of limitations that we live in and help us see that other possibilities exist. Being creative helps us remain psychologically flexible and reduces rigidity in thought, feeling and behavior.
But we all know that being creative requires some element of risk and fearlessness.
We must suspend judgement in order to dive deep into the wells of creative expression. If we struggle to fit in or make something perfect, it will block our capacity to create. When we allow ourselves to stay in impermanence, knowing that what we’re creating today isn’t a statement about forever, but rather an expression of the now, then we can free ourselves up to be in the moment. And that creates a sense of freedom from attachment to expectations and a real escape!
About the Author: Megan Gunnell
Megan Gunnell is a Psychotherapist, Speaker, Writer, International Retreat Leader with over 20 years experience. She has presented and facilitated workshops and retreats globally and nationwide most notably in Finland at Jyvaskyla University, in Costa Rica at Anamaya and Ahki Resorts, at Miraval Resort and Spa, Arizona, the Bryant University Women’s Summit, Rhode Island and at Red Mountain Resort, Utah. A leading expert in women’s health, self-care and mindfulness, her work helps clients transform, restore and reach their highest potential.