“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.” –Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic
Do you ever feel blah? Are you bored with yourself or your usual reactions or your usual routines? You may be stuck in a rut. As spring flowers bloom and the landscape begins to fill with color, the creative genius of the universe is on display. But it is still possible you feel bogged down by the darkness and heaviness of winter. Maybe you feel a sense of stagnation somewhere in your body. Or you feel trapped in a cycle of thought patterns. Or you’re just energetically off.
If the dullness of the previous season has led to a lack of the joie de vivre so well-known in spring, no need to fret. You are not alone. Whether you are searching for deeper meaning in your life, hoping to get some inspiration for a one-time project, or experiencing spring fever (check in: do you wish you were elsewhere doing anything else?), a little intention and ingenuity.
What Is Creativity?
Creativity can be understood as the phenomenon of using your imagination or original ideas to produce something new and valuable, be it tangible or intangible, art or a solution to a problem. All beings are creative, as life itself is an inherently creative endeavor. Humans have long connected to their creativity and ingenuity; it is due to creative inclinations of many minds throughout history that you have amazing food, civil rights successes, cures for previously deadly diseases, and wonderful music. Intentionally connecting to your creative center often comes with physical, mental, emotional, social, and energetic benefits.
According to several scientific studies, when you tap into the creative prana, or life force, within, you, you increase happiness, reduce dementia, improve mental health, boost your immune system, and become smarter! The creative process can help you come up with innovative ideas to save the world, rescue a mundane meeting, and sustain your most precious relationships.
Why Are You Not Creative?
Creativity seems pretty great, right? Even essential to a life well lived! So, how do you get it if feel a lack of it in your life? If you are feeling stuck, start with some self-inquiry: take some time to consider why you might be in the rut (pothole? tunnel? black hole?) you’re in. Carve out time to meditate, journal, or talk to a trusted friend or guide about how you are feeling.
- Has there been a recent upheaval?
- Are you going through a significant transition such as a move or divorce?
- Have you experienced a considerable letdown or disappointment?
- Are you living with an illness or recovering from an injury?
There could be something you can point to that is leading to a sense of stagnation. It is also possible that you will do your inquiry and come up with no good reason. That’s okay! But how do you encourage yourself to become more creative? Start by getting curious and you will be on your way to transforming your mood, vibe, and mind.
Explore Your Sacral Chakra
Continue your creativity inventory by scanning and feeling into your body. Your creative center is housed at the sacral chakra. In yoga philosophy, the chakras are understood as powerful energy centers within the body where your nadis intersect. These energy centers easily get out of balance when there is even the slightest disharmony on a physical, mental, emotional, or energetic level. Checking in with this chakra is a great way to find out where you stand with your creativity. The sacral chakra, or svadistana chakra, is physically located at the hips, low back, low belly, and sexual organs. Procreation and the birthing of new human life from this energy center is one expression of human creativity, as is sexual play.
When this chakra is in balance, you feel connected with your emotions, in touch with but not overwhelmed by your senses, fluid and free in your body and mind, and you flow easily with the rhythms of life. Imbalance in this area can manifest as low back pain, tight hips, abdominal cramping, menstrual pain, sexual issues, and fertility challenges. To do your sacral chakra check in, find a comfortable seat or lie down.
- Scan or feel into your body from head to toe.
- Direct your awareness to your low back, low belly, hips, and pelvis.
- Bring your hands to these areas and enjoy several deep breaths.
- Mindfully, without judgment, notice if you feel quite open already, closed off or stagnant in any particular area, or somewhere in between.
- Focus on any differences between the sides or the front and back of your body.
Tapping Into Your Creativity
To bring the sacral chakra into balance and tap into your creativity, find your flow, connect to the element of water, the color orange, and your emotions: take a soothing shower or bath, dance it out, drink orange juice and carrot juice, and write in your journal daily to connect with your feelings. Your sacral chakra is one route to connecting to your creativity, especially if you feel stuck.
If you’re ready to shake things up, shake something off, or just restart your batteries, try the following tips for finding your creativity. The following ideas—go outside, do something you have never done before, go upside down, look to the past, choose courage, go for a cold plunge, move your body, float, meditate, ask around, and do, literally, anything else other than what you are doing—are good places to start to find your creativity when you are stuck in a rut.
1. Go Outside
The creative nature of nature can be incredibly inspiring. Taking deep breaths in nature is shown to invigorate you and bring new insights. Scientific research shows that the benefits of nature, greenery, fresh air, and the great outdoors abound:
- Lower blood pressure, heart rate, and stress
- Reduced levels of salivary cortisol—the stress hormone
- Reduced risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth
- Improve sleep
Also, the physical act of moving your body to get up and go outside can be just what you need to spark that creativity. Go for a change of scene and get yourself outside. Go for a walk, take a hike, play in the garden, or search for local birds and wildlife. Your lungs, skin, and creative life will thank you.
2. Do Something New
Step outside of your regular routine and do something you have never done before. When you try something new, you put your brain into a unique spot and begin to rewire your circuitry. By trying something new, you’re forcing yourself to engage in creative thinking.
- Take a trip.
- Eat a new kind of food.
- Choose courage over comfort.
- Take a trapeze class.
- Watch something completely random on TED.
- Say what you are truly thinking.
As you take on a new perspective by choosing an action, behavior, thought pattern, or practice out of the ordinary, you may surprise yourself with a spark of imagination.
3. Go Upside Down
Change your perspective and see things in new ways by going upside down. Literally turn your body topsy turvy, end to end, all the way upside down. Whether it’s in a contorted yoga posture like handstand or headstand or flying through the air while bungee jumping, going head over heals interrupts your regular mind patterns. When you are upside down, you literally cannot think about anything else. Tap into your creativity by flipping over.
4. Look to the Past
What brought you joy and light as a child? Maybe you haven’t changed too much after all! Do you delight in playing in the dirt? Crafting? Sending pen pal letters? The same, or similar, things that once struck the chord of creativity within you may not be too far off from what you enjoy now. Color an adult coloring book, play hide and go seek with your family, or make chalk art. Look to what sparked you as a child and you may generate your creative ideas there.
5. Choose Courage
Author and speaker Brené Brown suggests choosing courage over comfort as a practice of integrity. When you try something new or move outside of your comfort zone (hello creativity!), you are often forced to reckon with fear. And that takes courage. In Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert writes a letter inviting fear to come along when she is embarking on a project or creative work. Gilbert writes, “Dearest Fear: creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do … Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting … I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way … you are absolutely forbidden to drive.” Choose courage, get creative.
6. Ask Around
Crowdsource your friends, family, coworkers, and social media circles for sources of creative inspiration. Ask for book suggestions from your Facebook friends. Take a listen to the “songs for you” suggestions on Spotify and Pandora. Talk to your colleagues about their favorite films of all time. Peruse the listings for workshops at your neighborhood library. You don’t have to go it alone!
7. Do Anything Else
If you’re really in a jam, doing anything differently at all can make a huge difference. Drive a new route to work. Allow the dog to walk you today. Join a club sports team. Join a book club. Get off of the internet. Eat something spicy. Go for a walk without a destination in mind for 20 minutes, then turn around and walk back. Pet a cat. Call a friend. Sit in silence. Take a shower. Interrupt your current thoughts or move your body and creative inspiration will find you.
Go forth, creative beings! Use these strategies to choose courage, ask around, get outside, and move your body. Remember, nothing lasts forever. So if you are feeling stuck in a rut, worry not, for it will pass and you will feel imaginative once more. The world awaits your creative contributions and innovations!