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Stability and Flexibility in the Creative Life

I used to say that we are all artists. I believe it – we all have more creative potential than we ever thought possible. Endless, in fact, because (I believe) we are tapped in directly to the source of all creation.

I think a lot about how to nurture and care for the creative mind. Epigenetics teaches us that a cell behaves the way that it does according to its environment. Is the environment conducive for thriving, or not? In the same way, is the environment we create around ourselves conducive to creating, to living a creative life and blossoming into a fun, vibrant version of ourselves? (Not fun necessarily for others, but fun for ourselves to exist as)?

In that spirit, I’ve experimented with many different routines for myself. “The Morning Routine” has been, after all, a topic of much impassioned discussion in the coaching field for years now (probably an iteration of a discussion that’s been taking place for much longer than that).

Here’s what I have found:

There are two qualities that in one way oppose each other and yet of course they must work in concert if we are to be masters of ourselves. These qualities are:

  • Stability and
  • Flexibility

Stability gives us staying power and keeps us reliable and beholden to ourselves and others. It keeps us plodding along the same path so that one day we will get to where we want to go. It’s the turtle that wins the race. And yet, stability on its own is not very creative.

Flexibility, on the other hand, gives us creativity and vibrancy. It helps us to think outside the box, have new ideas, and keep life interesting.

But flexibility without the right measure of stability is disastrous. Life can get too interesting, really fast.

In fact, many an artist has suffered from a surplus of creative energy with not enough stability to channel it in a productive way.

So, how do we meld the two into a marriage that can sustain our creative lives over time?

As always, we must guard against making one “good” and the other “bad.” Everything is a tool!

My biz coach, Diane Whiddon, gave me the brilliant idea:

Block out chunks of time in that are devoted to creativity (such as the first three hours in the morning) and let “creativity” be an umbrella term for actually creating as well as anything that helps you to to create

This can include watching Netflix, going for a walk, meditating, picking a random book off my shelf and turning to a random page to look for the next message of inspiration, doing yoga, watering my garden, looking for new fantasy books for my kids on amazon, taking photos, listening to music, etc. You get it. Anything.

If you’ve lived long enough as an artist you know that the creative process is not linear. You never know when the next moment of creative impetus will hit, and the most important factor in encouraging it is to keep your energy flowing. 

So, I like this proposition because it has structure – a 3-hour chunk of time – and within that window it embraces flexibility. 

I’ll let you know how it goes and, if you try it, let us know too!

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

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