January 31, 2014

One Little Word 2014: January

Happy Chinese New Year!
The year of the horse. I am a horse, so this is a special one for me.

As you might recall, my word for this year is Cultivate. I am taking a more laid back approach to my word this year. Am picking a theme for each month, and then seeing where I end up.

My focus this month was to cultivate creativity. Sometimes I feel like I get stuck and need a jumpstart to get my juices flowing again. Here are some activities that worked for me this month:

  • Cleaning. Purging. Sorting. There is something about touching everyone in my space and evaluating whether it still makes sense for it to still be there. It has been my experience that clutter saps energy and creativity. And it can be overwhelming. Where does one start? What works for me is to pick one spot in a room, crank up some great music (ABBA anyone?), and remove everything from that spot. Clean. Decide whether it still belongs. Recycle what does not. I do not set a target goal for the entire room getting complete - that is too much pressure - I simply go until I'm done. And this is when the magic happens. That clean spot inspires me to do it all again the next day. And slowly but surely I've got a space that feels great and works better. 
  • Making a new journal. There is something about starting over. A clean slate. Put that old journal aside. Let go of what seemed right last year, and simply focus on what feels right today. I've decided to use larger pages, and play in individual signatures this year. Something that was inspired by the travel journal I took to Sri Lanka. Serendipity indeed.
  • Read. Books. Blogs. Magazines. Simply read. This is a tried and true method for me. I find inspiration in what others are doing. In seeing how others see the world. 
  • Play dates. Play without intent or attachment to the outcome. As adults we set sucked into the notion that there needs to be a return on investment (ROI) to everything. While that might well be true for some things, it does not apply to play time. Schedule time with yourself, or a kid, or with friends to have a play date. And then play. With art supplies or without. It does not matter. The only goal here is to let go of the outcome.
  • Chillax. Take all that pressure of yourself, and tell your gremlins to shut up. You are not creating a piece that will hang on the walls of MOMA. Get messy. See what happens. Share your creations with others. Or not. And whether you like it or not, turn the page and start over.
  • Exercise. Indoors. Outdoors is better, but this month has been so cold I have not felt like long walks outside much. However you do it, it gets the blood pumping, and clears the cache.
  • Try something new. Whether this is a class, or a new art supply, or simply making your first chai tea latte, a message gets sent to your brain that the world is full of exciting possibilities and fun things to explore.
These are some of the ways I cultivated creativity this month. How do you do it?


Cynthia said...

I'm with you on your activities. They are all great and I've done or am doing all of them at some point. I have more success as well with just doing one area at a time and then I even have a clear space to play again. Play, exercise and trying something new are all uplifting and energizing. I'll keep referring to this post for a refresher. Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth said...

Create on Cynthia!