It’s about finding the spark – the place where you forget the worry of what’s for dinner tonight, how much debt you have to pay back this year, or what that weird look the stranger on the street gave you today meant.
Creativity lives in each of us. If you have a pulse, you are creative. There’s a common notion reverberating on the streets, that creativity only springs up in the arts, in the form of illustrations, music, writing, acting, etc. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many ways to be creative that don’t include producing anything you can place in front of someone, including ideas, communication, and problem-solving skills. Don’t get stuck in the belief that being creative means you have to create something in a physical form – creativity wears many disguises and your job is to unleash it, capture it, and thrive on it.
Being creative is also about inducing a little bit of wonder in your everyday life, showing you that there’s more to it than just the mundane. We all have to pay bills and battle obstacles, but we also all have the potential for happiness and growth. I believe that creativity and happiness are basically identical twins.
Here are my favorite ways to get in touch with your creative side and make your life about more than just the daily grind.
You know all the buzz about meditating that’s been going on the last few years? Turns out, it’s true. Mediating doesn’t have to mean sitting in perfect silence for an hour (or even 20 minutes) every day, it can mean taking time throughout your day to just be present. How often have you taken a deep breath today? Do it now. Be more present. Allow yourself to just do nothing, even if just for a few moments. Our world is running at the maxium speed these days – your brain isn’t wired for this.
It isn’t just beautiful; it’s a free escape from your daily life. When I’m outside of the Hamburg city limits, time seems to slow down. I like to explore parks and forests close to where I live a few times a month. There’s something humbling about walking in silence amongst trees, hearing only the raindrops around you and the leaves under your feet. Somehow your world becomes a bit smaller, less about constantly performing and delivering, and more about just being in the moment. They say people often have their best ideas in the shower; for me, it’s definitely under the trees.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, like taking an Italian cooking class or a pottery class? Don’t question why you’re interested in it, don’t start imaging how terrible you will be at it (who doesn’t?), just sign up for it. Follow your curiosity wherever it leads you. Trying something new isn’t about mastering it, it’s about being brave, challenging yourself, and getting outside of your comfort zone. Visiting a new town close to where you live or trying a new recipe in the kitchen can have similar effects – don’t get too settled into your habits and keep space for new experiences.
What do you work colleagues do with their free time? What about your friends or sister? We often get caught up in our own worlds, that we forget we aren’t alone in this life. We might have different challenges and interests, but ultimately we all want to be happy and live a fulfilling life. Asking people what they are passionate about does two things: it shows them you are interested in their lives and it can give you some ideas about how you want to (or don’t want to) spend your free time. Connecting with other people about their passions leads to fulfilling conversations and inspiration.
READ, READ, READ
I’m a bookworm since birth, and while I realize some people don’t share this passion, these days most people are plugged into social media. I like to take some time each week to browse the internet; I mean really browse it. I focus on finding new blogs to read, to check out literary contests, to find new artists, musicians, etc to follow. Sometimes I have 15 tabs open – great! The more I read, the more ideas I come across and the more inspired I feel. Allow yourself to get lost for a few hours in the amazing world that is the internet.
Plan creativity? Yes. A bit counterintuitive perhaps, but it works. Write down ideas that pop into your head, names of shops and cafes you see out of the bus window, a funny phrase your partner said, keep track of these things. You never know what they will spark. Make dates with yourself to be creative and get out of your comfort zone. Go to a new bookstore in town, a new cafe, or just a walk down to the local park with a pen and paper in hand. Make a point to be conscious about this date to give it significance in your life.
These are some of my favorite ways to get in touch with my creative spirit. I really believe that practicing a lot of these things will make you more excited and also grateful for your life. Don’t forget to take pictures or journal about your creative experiences (if you’re into that sort of thing, if not, just enjoy the moment).