Tag Archives: creativity

Letting Go of What You Think Should Happen

A couple months ago I wrote a book proposal.

It was an assignment as a part of a publishing and promotion class that I started taking in January.  Late last year I enrolled in the class with the intention to get a solid outline for a book and to start writing it.

So I looked through notes of the few ideas I had jotted down over the few months prior and came up with an idea.  I created an outline for myself and made up a book proposal to complete my first big assignment for the class.

I knew the book proposal wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough for now.  I thought it was pretty good idea and based on a subject that I knew a lot about already. 

So when I started working with my business and writing coach in February, we started talking about about book writing.  The discussion of the coaching session led me to think a few days later, Maybe I’ll get started writing this.  After all, I have some free time that has opened up that I didn’t have before.  Why not just jump in now?

So I plop down in front of my computer, reference the outline that I made for myself and started diving into writing Chapter 1 as I outlined it.

… and it was the most dreadful experience ever.

With every sentence I felt like I was trying to pull teeth to get the words out.  I’d take moments to stop and walk around and then I’d think to myself Come on Jen… you know this material.  It’s not like it’s something you don’t know.  Just get what you know out on paper.

And so I’d sit back down and start writing again.  Gradually and very very slowly.

Over an hour goes by and I go to check my word count.  It reads 523.  You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me, I think to myself, I write articles on my site every single week that have a minimum of 800 words in less than an hour and with this it’s taking me over hour just to get 500 words?

At that moments I stopped, pulled away, and looked at it all for a second.  Do I even want to write this?

The answer was a very quick no. 

I did not want to write a book with the kind of focus that I made it out to be.  Because I was planning on writing it with that particular focus, it was, to me, incredibly boring and dull.  I wasn’t going to have fun writing it that way, so I knew that I had to take the material and repackage it in a way so I could actually enjoy the writing process.

So when my next coaching session came around, my coach asked me about the progress with the book.  I explained what I had realized in the process and that I wanted to put it to the side for the time being.  She completely understood and we started talking about other potential projects to get started on.

I shared with her a few ideas that I came up with spontaneously in the last few months and we set goals for times to get certain parts of the projects done.

… and I actually did it.

Working on the projects have been incredibly enjoyable and I have actually found myself more energized, excited and inspired.  I’ve been able to get into the “flow” with my creativity in these projects and never once have I found myself dreading that I’d have to sit in front of my computer to get the work done.

And I completely loved the process.

A Course in Miracles talks about making vs creating.  When we’re in a place of making we are completely in our ego.  We’re focused on what it is that we think we need to do or be doing.  When we’re truly creating, it’s coming from a love mindset. Its when our true selves are able to be expressed and we allow that natural flow of our own inner truth to pour out of us.

Now, to be clear, with these two terms the Course isn’t talking about creating by being creative.  Like, by writing or doing an art project.  Rather, the Course is referring to a way of being.  It’s referring to a mindset that we are holding on to the the energy that we have behind that mindset.

Many of us are caught up in the “making things happen” kind of mindset. We push ourselves and try to force things to happen.  There’s a lot of tension and a lot of trying to control and manipulate things in a way to force them to happen.  There isn’t a level of trust there.

To get into a truly creating kind of mindset we have to be willing to let go. We have to surrender a little bit and trust in the process.  We have to trust that while something may not make sense right away, that it is going to all come together someway, somehow.

Click to Tweet: We have to trust that while something may not make sense right away, that it is going to all come together. @jenilyn8705 

When I was working on my book proposal I had a certain idea on how things “needed” to be and I was trying to force it to happen.  Through the process, I was able to realize that to work on it right now in that way it is not the right time.  I had to surrender and let it go.  And through the process of surrendering, I was able to allow other projects to come to fruition. 

That is true co-creation.  It is when we are able to surrender what we think needs to happen just enough so that what is truly meant to happen for us is allowed to flow through us naturally and effortlessly.

CoCreation

How are you holding onto things based on how you think they need to happen?  What do you need to let go of so you can allow what is in your highest good to be manifested?  Share it in the comments below!

Overcoming Our Inner Resistance

I spent my weekend indulging in some serious self-care through creative expression practice. Friday night I dusted off my art supplies and did some watercolor painting with a friend. On Saturday I created a Christmas centerpiece for my dinner table.

This was the first time I watercolor painted in nearly a year and it’s been even longer since I have done a flower arrangement. Because of this, I had a lot of self-defeating thoughts like “I don’t know if I can do this” “What if I mess this up?” “Is this okay?”

This process was intensified because not only had it been a year since I’ve painted but it was also the first time that I was painting without my art teacher there to guide me. I was filled with anxiety and worry. Even the simple process of drawing took me over an hour simply because I was so worried about everything being “just right”.

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Many of us experience this all the time when we are creating anything. Whether it be writing a paper for school, doing yoga, or writing a song we experience this inner resistance that has this hidden underlying message of “you are not good enough”.

Steven Pressfield discusses this resistance in great detail in his book “The War of Art”. In this book, Pressfield shares the many ways that resistance manifests in our lives. Rather than create what our hearts’ truly desire, we allow our inner resistance to take over. We can experience this resistance by turning to things like procrastination, watching TV, drinking and drugs, sex, medications, the limiting beliefs of our culture, and so on.

We turn to these various things in our outer world in order to, basically, avoid creating and doing what we truly want because, deep down, we feel unworthy and incapable.

Resistance can be a very difficult thing to overcome and there is certainly no “one time” solution. Though we may not want to hear it, conquering resistance is a life-long process. No matter how many degrees, certifications, and credentials you have there is always going to be something within you coming up and saying “that’s not good enough”.

So how can we begin to overcome this inner resistance of ours so that we allow ourselves to create so we can experience fulfillment and happiness?

Create something every day.

Many of us have ideas or goals of things that we would like to do or create but the trouble is that many of these ideas are long term. It’s something like “Well, once I do X, Y, Z then I’d like to do this”. By making such long-term goals it doesn’t help to satisfy you in the present. In fact, it may actually cause you more stress and dissatisfaction because you have to wait to get there.

So come up with some easy activities that you can do for yourself today. It may be in line with your bigger long term goal or it may not, but do something!

Recognize how your resistance manifests itself.

Do you procrastinate? Do you turn on the TV rather than write your book? Do you study or read more than write your own ideas? Do you spend more time shopping or drinking rather than doing something that you really truly enjoy? Notice what your inner resistance is like and write it down in a journal. Then try to make a conscious effort in your day to day life to catch yourself when you feel inclined to resist creating.

Set a specific time frame to create.

Whatever it is that you want to do – write, paint, knit, decorate, or prepare to put together a project – set a specific time frame to work on that activity. Cur yourself off from any possible distractions, set a timer and then work on the activity or project without stopping. Having a specific time set can be very effective in making sure that you get done what you really want to get done.

Focus more on what you’re gaining from the process and less on the mess ups.

Because we are so inclined to resistance, we tend to focus more on our little mess ups and less on how great it is for us to be creating to begin with. Sure, it’s good to critique so that you can become better, but be patient and easy yourself. If it’s something you can edit, then take your time reflecting on it and make sure it “feels” right to you. If not, then appreciate what you’ve gained from the activity and focus on the next thing.

Know that you are worthy.

We are all worthy. We are all capable. Like Marianne Williamson said, “It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most”. Focus on allowing that light to emerge. The more you do that, then the happier and more fulfilled you will be.

LetYourselfFly

 

Start Overcoming Your Inner Resistance!

How do you stop yourself from creating or doing something that you really want to do?  What are some of your resistance habits?  Do you just go watch TV or go shopping?  Share your thoughts and experiences below!

Rediscovering My Love for Writing

Back when I was a teenager I loved to write. Contrary to what many of my teachers expected, I wasn’t as big of a fan of reading as I was on writing. I guess I always felt a cap in reading… I mean, there’s only so much I could gain from reading other people’s stuff while the act of writing left endless possibilities to my own creativity.

As a kid I used to make up stories in a notebook. As I got older, it turned into articles and essays. Truly, it didn’t matter what it was. What I loved was simply the art of word play… of finding a way to structure the words in a way that “felt right”. I didn’t care too much about following any of the “rules”. In fact, I hardly paid much attention as to what they were unless it was something very obvious or important.

And then I started college… I took English Composition as every student needs to and then later moved on to take some journalism courses with the intention of receiving a minor in journalism. This then followed into a course in business writing and then later – even today – the obligations to write a TON of papers where I was told to either analyze, reflect, or do both.

Somehow, somewhere along the line. I completely lost my love for writing. It wasn’t fun anymore, it was just an obligation. I was now unconsciously taught to associate writing with mindless regurgitation of information just to keep someone higher up in academia happy.

I had attempted to get myself back into the love of writing groove fairly soon after I received my undergraduate degree, but it was so much more difficult to write from the same place that I did before. Something was lost (if you want to hear more details, check out my About Me page) and I wasn’t sure how to get it back.

And so, I generally stopped trying because my attempts felt more frustrating than empowering. I’d experience more stress than joy. I just couldn’t find the fun in it anymore.

It wasn’t until a few months ago when I launched this business that I was able to write and experience the fun with it. I remember now why I loved writing so much – it’s because through writing we have the opportunity to teach OURSELVES things that we didn’t even know that we knew. It helps us to feel more grounded and complete within ourselves – and that’s definitely not something we can ever get from reading.

BeautyOfWriting

And so, that is what I encourage you to start doing today. It may be writing or it may not be, but find some outlet of self expression. Play music, sing, dance, paint, do crafts, sew, create your own fashion trend, create your own recipes, or create some unique décor for your apartment or house.

Do SOMETHING that is 100% originally YOU.

Allow your own uniqueness to shine through.

The bonus part? By allowing yourself to express your own uniqueness you will, in turn, feel much less inclined to rely on other people for you happiness. Why? Because through self-expression you will be doing things for YOURSELF so you’ll feel MUCH more self-confident and empowered. The perfect equation to help you create more fulfilling relationships in your life!

 

Express yourself today!

Think of something that you used to love to do as a kid or something that you’ve always wanted to do but have never done before. I’d recommend starting with something simple that would be easy to start without any extra training if you’ve never done it before, like writing or making your own jewelry. If you need to buy stuff for it, then go out and get it and just DIVE IN! Don’t worry whether it is “perfect” or not. If you catch the inner critic talking, then tell yourself something like “I’m doing the best I can right now” or “I’m doing this for fun, it doesn’t have to be perfect”. If you ever find yourself struggling to focus, then put your phone on silent, close your e-mail, shut off anything that could distract you, and set yourself a timer for a half hour or an hour with the intention to work on ONLY this activity. Making that intention with the timer can be great to help us get and stay focused.

 

What do you plan to create? Share your ideas below! 🙂