Ever find that you want quick, easy answers for what's stopping us from creating? You start to think if you could just clean that one space, or get a three-hour chunk of time, or check off every item on our to-do list, then creating would just happen.
Problem is, even once you've done those things, you still might hit a wall.
That's because very often there's a need to go deeper than just sweeping the junk off our desk, or clearing our calendar.
Deeper patterns usually underlie our blocks to creating, and no number of check marks on our to-do lists can clear them.
That's why self-awareness is the foundation of an aligned creative practice.
Here's how it works:
Noticing your patterns The first step is generally noticing your own patterns of behavior, whether they serve you or not. Patterns are often unconscious, and when we bring them to awareness, we get clear on what works and what doesn't, in the course of our creating.
For example, you might notice that while you intend to get started on your creative work first thing in the morning, you find yourself sitting and scrolling through your phone instead. Before you know it, the time you'd set aside is up, and you've gotten nothing done.
So then what?
From a place of noticing, we have the opportunity to gently shift our behaviors. Gently is a very important word here, because as most of us know from experience, when we try to shift behaviors too quickly or harshly, what happens is a boomerang effect. Before we know it we're back to the scrolling, and we're even more intent on it than we were before.
So, instead, let's focus on gentleness. How could you make a small change to your behavior?
What if, for example, you promised yourself that if you worked for five minutes, then you could scroll? You might find that the five minutes is enough to whet your appetite for more. Or, you might find that the five minutes was more than enough, and the whole time all you thought about was scrolling. Even so, you've now done five minutes more work than you would have if you'd stuck to scrolling alone.
Owning what works and what doesn't
And this is where more noticing comes in. As you try some gentle behavior shifts, take note of what works and what doesn't. Not what you think should work for you, but what actually does work for you.
Maybe you find that you're happy to do ten minutes but no more. Or maybe you find that you can't have the phone anywhere near you while you're working or you'll give up and scroll furiously.
Whatever it is you notice, own it. Allow it to be true. It's only by being fully honest with ourselves that we can use our self-awareness to change in the ways we most want to.
Taking aligned action
Once you've owned what works and what doesn't, you're free to take aligned action. All that means is behaving in ways that suit your purposes and your other needs. When we focus only on our goals, we tend to be too hard on ourselves. On the other hand, if we focus only on our needs and wants, we might end up scrolling two hours away without even noticing.
Use what you've learned about yourself to take more gentle, aligned action, and let the cycle of noticing begin again.
The more you do this, the more natural it will become, and the more aligned action you'll be able to take. Before you know it, your creative work will start to unfurl naturally, and you'll know exactly what you need to do to bolster it. You may even find it more fun than scrolling. (At least for a while.)
This process of deepening self-awareness is something that I help clients with in depth, through one-on-one sessions. Through weekly hourlong calls, we dive into your patterns and behaviors to learn what serves you and what doesn't. The more we work together, the closer and more aligned your relationship with their creative work becomes. Check out the options for working together if that interests you!
I'd also like to announce that I'll be starting monthly online workshops, each focusing on practical tools and skills to help with your creative work. September's workshop will be Tackling Impostor Syndrome, where you'll learn in-depth skills for how to move past doubt in your creative work and own your creative worth. Check out more about it here.
And as always, I'm offering free weekly Co-Creation Time sessions, which give you time and space to work on your creative project in the company of other friendly creative folks from around the world. Learn more about it here, and sign up to join us!