Much like any other practice, we have to show up consistently to receive the full benefits and to experience growth, deepening and expansion of our ability. Yogis know that showing up at the mat consistently is absolutely necessary to unlocking the treasures of the asanas. Athletes know that they must show up at the gym and on the field day in and day out to reach the height of their potential and to bring their A-game when it counts. And those walking the spiritual path know that a regular practice consisting of prayer, meditation, gratitude and surrender are essential to being and remaining connected to the Divine regardless of life’s unfolding.
Creating and making art is no different. And yet many artists and creatives romanticize about the creative process in a way that often hinders their ability to achieve their ultimate desire of being prolific, and being able to create well, often and with ease.
How many times do we say things to ourselves like: “I don’t feel like it. I’m not in the mood. I’m waiting to feel inspired. There’s something else I’d rather do. I’ll do it tomorrow. I don’t know what to say or create. Blah, blah, blah.”
These thoughts are symptoms of a greater underlying problem. And that is the false belief that creativity is some mystical, elusive force, that only comes in unexpected fits, that only smiles upon the gifted or the eccentric, and that if we don’t feel it or we don’t have it, then it’s not for us or it’s not time to create.
The truth is that creativity flows when we show up at our instrument, at the blank page, at our mac (or PC), at our desk, at the easel, and when we make ourselves available for creation to happen. The truth is that creativity is one of the greatest gifts we humans possess and it’s available to all of us all the time if we’re open and ready to receive it. The truth is that creativity is magical but only in the sense that it’s one of the ways that the Divine expresses itself through us, not because we need to wait to be chosen or struck by lightning to experience it.
For the past two years, in addition to writing more songs than I have in any years previously, I’ve written one blog a week, sometimes more and have learned something about the creative process and about myself in doing so. What I’ve discovered is that the creative flow happens when I make space for it. When I set aside the time and set the intention to write, the words come through. Having tried to wait for it and see when the mood would strike, I know that’s the more difficult and unsustainable path.
So now I know to honor the creative force by treating it as sacred and making space for it to emerge. I know that if I don’t, my monkey mind will come up with a million and one reasons not to create, and every distraction under the sun to keep me from doing what I’m on this earth to do. So I counter this tendency by being intentional, by scheduling my creative time and by defending it against all intruders. I set aside sufficient blocks of time for songwriting so that I can really go deep into the process.
And every Thursday morning, I ritualistically wake up, do my morning spiritual practice, eat breakfast and then spend time writing my blog. Some weeks, I don’t know what I’m going to write about until just before I sit down or even sometimes, until I’m facing my computer screen and looking at a blank page waiting to be filled. And every week, the ideas come, the words flow, the writing happens.
It’s no mystery. When we show up for our creativity, our creativity shows up for us. When we make space in our lives and intentionally make time for our art, our music, and our gifts to come forth, like a trusted lifelong friend, they never let us down and they, in turn, make space for us to express, to grow and to expand.
As for inspiration, much like the love in our hearts, it lives within us and is there for us to draw upon all the time. It is never absent or lacking, although our realization of it may be at times.
Creativity is a practice. Treat it with reverence. Honor it as sacred.
Show up and let the magic flow.
Chris Assaad is a singer/songwriter and inspirational artist from Toronto who left a promising career in law several years ago to pursue his dream of a career in music. Since then, Chris has been actively using his voice to enCOURAGE others to follow their dreams, express their creativity and live life to the fullest.
Chris is also a member of the TDL Mentoring team. To learn more about the TDL Mentoring Program click here.