Friday, April 18, 2014

Spiritual Spring Cleaning

spiritual spring cleaning
When we think of spring cleaning, we usually think of thoroughly cleaning the house from top to bottom to clean out the residue of winter.

But spring cleaning is not just for drapes and furniture.

We can spring clean our minds, too (and this can be done in any season).

This is a time to ditch bad habits, expel fear(s), and dump thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve you and keep you from performing at optimal levels.

Take out the mental garbage. This means throwing out negative thoughts that have been collecting. The garbage of negative thinking tends to stink up your life. This kind of thinking does you no good. Ask yourself, what is this thought/belief serving, and for what purpose am I holding on to this thought/belief?

Just as regular trash attracts flies, negative thinking attracts the flies of negative vibrations. Renew your mind by replacing negative thinking with positive thoughts and affirmations. Dust off your gratitude, appreciation, and optimism as a way to polish up your attitude.

Shed light in your spiritual closet. Closets are spaces where we store items we want to hide from others and from ourselves. What's in your spiritual closet? Does it contain the baggage of unforgiveness and bitterness? Does it hide your resentment or grief? If so, use the spiritual cleaning tools of meditation, prayer, or journaling to help you release those emotions.

Get rid of what no longer serves your Higher Self. This can be a bad habit such as smoking, drinking, or eating garbage foods. Ask yourself, what is one habit that I can change, and what would it do for my life?

If a relationship no longer serves you, then it is time to let it go. Toxic relationships will only bring you and the other person down, so it's best to free each other's energy to pursue new friendships and adventures.

Nurture the relationships that are positive and affirming.

Rinse out your mouth. As your heart and mind get clean, your language is next to follow. Sometimes we say things that are hurtful to others, including ourselves. Negative talk and pessimistic thoughts that contradict our innate goodness hold us and others down. This is a misuse and abuse of energy. Practice being kind to yourself and others. Give compliments. Help others rather than put them down. This includes the challenge of not complaining.

Face a fear. The illusion of fear can appear to be very real, but it's smoke and mirrors. This can be a big challenge, but it's about taking baby steps. Ask yourself, what is one fear that is holding me back, and what would my life be like if I no longer harbored this fear? Fear is really the opportunity of courage in disguise. Create awareness around it, commit to facing it and start taking action on a daily basis toward overcoming it. Before you know it, the smoke will clear and the mirrors will reflect a brand new you.

Let the sun shine in! Whether it's nature, Jesus, Buddha, etc., let in the Light of Presence so that your soul can shine. Connecting with Source on a daily basis will keep your spirit continually refreshed.

It's time to spring ahead toward your Higher Self. What spiritual spring cleaning activity will you do to move forward?

Friday, April 11, 2014

You Are Your Own Creative Solution

john cleese quote
There's only one thing that gets in the way of creativity.


Yes, creative "blocks" are normal. Some days we show up to our medium of choice to express ourselves, ready to create, and then...nothing. Ugh.

We stare at the blank space in front of us, waiting, thinking, and waiting some more. We fidget. Our minds wander. We pace. We sigh. We get frustrated. We spin ourselves in circles in our swivel chair (well, I do). Anything to get the creative juices flowing again.

Creative "blocks" are temporary. I like to think of them not as blocks but as incubation periods when things are happening invisibly under the surface as our senses are perceiving the world. Even though we are not creating visibly, we are still creating underneath it all. A block implies impeded flow. The more you focus on being blocked, the more blocked you will feel. However, imagining that ideas are incubating conjures images of growth. Just that shift in thinking will begin to open the channels.

But to create consistently, rather than focus on the block, you must see yourself as the creative solution.

In my last post ("The Secret To Creativity?"), I mentioned that the secret to creativity is showing up. Creativity is work, plain and simple, only it's the kind of work that comes effortlessly when you enjoy the process. We are creative beings who are designed to create, only we fall short of creating what we want when we get in our own way.

So...get out of your own way.

Reckon with your own character.

Understand that creativity requires us to be curious. Without curiosity, there's no exploration. Being curious about things opens us up to questions, which opens up our minds, frees our thinking, and allows us to see things from new angles.

Creativity requires us to take risks. If we never attempt anything creative, we will never know where our talents lie. If you feel drawn toward a specific creative endeavor, take the chance. Explore it. Cultivate it. Experiment with it. Grow with it. You don't have to be a Picasso to paint or a Hemingway to write. This doesn't mean that you will always create high-quality or finished content every day, and that's okay. It means to show up, take a risk, push yourself to try new things and experiment with your form. Jump in and enjoy the process.

Creativity requires our energy. That's because creativity is energy, and this energy wants to move. Without our energy, creativity stagnates...and so do we.

Creativity requires us to be patient. It requires time and it doesn't like to be rushed. It wants your full attention not your frustration. The attribute of patience is learned through the discipline of waiting, yet in this culture of immediate gratification, many of us are not very amenable to waiting. If you find yourself in a waiting period, then it may be time to back off a bit or do something totally unrelated while your ideas incubate. Just trust the process.

During the incubation period, you can do a number of things, creative or otherwise, that may not be related to your current project. For example, stash away anything that inspires you (photos, thoughts, quotations, films...the medium doesn't matter as long as it inspires you). When things are incubating, go to your stash file with an open mind.

You can also grab a book (I like to open to a random page, choose the third sentence, and then use that as a sentence starter to generate ideas), meditate, clear your mind, or try different disciplines. The trick is to do something else, switch up the neural pathways in the brain, practice patience, and know that all is working out beneath the surface.

And while you're at it, strengthen your thinking by getting a better grip on your mind. If negative thoughts creep in, replace them with positive affirmations. You are creative by design.

Use that creativity and you will find that you have been the solution all along.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Secret To Creativity?

Courtesy Google Images
You don't have to be a Picasso to paint.

You don't have to be a Hemingway to write.

When it comes to creativity, it's not about how "good" you are at it. It's about expressing it in your own unique style.

We are creative beings. We are designed to create. It's not something that can be taught; it can only be nurtured.

When people ask me about what they can do to be creative, I tell them to show up and work at it. Creativity is not about painting a masterpiece that will one day hang in a museum. It's not about writing a bestseller.

Creativity is what happens when you are trying to solve a problem. That "problem" could be writing a poem, composing a song, designing a website, or landscaping your backyard. You come to an empty space and then fill it with life.

If you look at Einstein, Picasso, Hemingway, or whomever you deem creative, you'll find that they spent hours upon hours in front of their instruments of choice, applying their minds and souls to specific things. Sketch after sketch, draft after draft, they made attempt after attempt to get it right. They did the grunt work to master their skills to do more sophisticated work. They learned how to develop their ideas. They delivered finished work by showing up and working. Each day. Every day.

They didn't give up.

So, if you want to be more creative, pick up something you care about or are interested in doing and then get to work at it. If you start things and give up, then your problem isn't a lack of creativity; it's a lack of discipline and dedication.

Whether your creative attempts or endeavors turn out "good" or "bad" is inconsequential; things can always be improved upon as your skill set improves. Being creative is not about perfection. It's about showing up every day and letting it flow in whatever direction it flows.

When you reach a skill level at which you feel comfortable, you can either stick with it, or you can choose to develop it further, so long as you remain detached from the outcome. Instead, enjoy the process. Learn from it. Appreciate it for what it is and celebrate the discipline of it. It's a gift that can be sustained and enhanced with the right mindset, a favorable routine, and without putting too much pressure on yourself.

There is no substitute for showing up. It may not solve every problem, but it will allow your creative juices to flow toward an outcome, whatever it may be.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Inspiration vs. Motivation

Many people use the terms "inspiration" and "motivation" interchangeably.

But is there a difference? I think so.

When I try to motivate myself, more often than not I'm pushing myself to do something that I may not want to do or may not care about. I have to psyche myself up, pound on my chest like a gorilla, and release some guttural sounds before plunging into whatever it is I need to do.

It's not always fun.

Inspiration comes from a completely different place. The word inspiration means to be in spirit. When I'm inspired, I'm tuned into and aligned with spirit. I find myself in an effortless flow and naturally drawn to whatever feels best. I find myself feeling fulfilled.

It's always fun.

Motivation, on the other hand, helps us to complete tasks that we think we should do or that we're supposed to do. It doesn't lead to much growth inside of us because it's not a passionate, burning desire that emanates from our core of being. When the task is done, it's done, and that's it.

Inspiration, however, is about being called to act because you are in direct harmonious alignment with your Source Energy.

How do you know when you're in spirit? You won't feel pushed to do something; you will feel pulled toward it. You will feel called to do it because it comes from your core. Life will feel effortless. Your passion will burn steady, and you will feel energized and more alive than ever.

In a nutshell, motivation is the push, and inspiration is the pull.

Motivation is external, while inspiration is internal.

How do you define inspiration and motivation?