Create February Fabulous! – The Distraction Faction
How to Nurture Your Art
I tend to write what I know or have experienced. In this case, I find myself reflecting on the first two weeks of my own creative challenge – Create February Fabulous! I have had ups and downs. There are days when I have felt super inspired and productive. There are difficult days when nothing is present, I don’t want to write or focus and the world and his wife have come knocking on my door for tea. How then can we begin to surf those waves of distraction and be creative every day regardless of how we feel?
The most apparent thing to mention is that distraction is like a rolling cartoon ball of snow with us stuck inside it, hands and legs sticking out at odd angles. It starts small and gathers speeds as time goes on. We can have great intentions, climbing to the top of the mountain, seeing our work and acting day by day. But then our ego gets caught up in something. The critic voice can pop up and we deviate slightly from our daily creative play.
In those moments, delay tactics that the ego employs to resist this grand effort of creativity, tactics that exist so that we can avoid ridicule, judgement and vulnerability, suddenly kick in. We make a cup of tea, start cleaning the house. Our friends come round for a visit. We go and buy cake. Perhaps we start looking at holidays, watching daytime TV, go surfing, or get frustrated that people keep popping up, talking, texting, breathing. Days later, we wonder why we have not practiced music, danced, painted or done the things that really enrich us and make our hearts sing!
I am a great believer in creating our own lives and I don’t think distractions are random. They are drawn to us as a result of our focus and our focus tends to drift. Life is full of amazing things. Life is full of other people. We have to balance ourselves and all the things we need to do. We have to maintain good relationships, eat, go to work, have fun and be responsible. I think we also have a duty to ourselves though and I really include myself in this statement. Most, if not all of us need to nurture ourselves a little more than we do.
Creativity lives in our hearts. It emanates from a place of peace and non-mind. It has no time or space. We can get lost in it like meditation. It allows us to fly into worlds within, previously unseen, empowering us and filling us with joy. It is present, real and vital. Some people hook into it super quick, some people have to warm themselves up. Sometimes it is not the person but the moment. I can sit down one day and a song will flow out in minutes and another day I will struggle with writing simple words in a journal. I will get restless and beat myself up.
Distraction lives in our heads, ego and mind. It lines up all the things we need to do before we create. It shows us lists of responsibilities, things to fix, food we need to eat, kids to look after. Distraction can separate us from ourselves, but also adds to our experience. It is not a bad thing but must be balanced. Distraction is engagement in life but if it is pulling us away from our hearts desires, then it will hold us back from true happiness. Distraction can manifest in myriad ways. It can be a critical voice of doom within, judging our work, judging our efforts as unworthy. Or it can be a rich source of material and emotional content we can use to bring us back to creativity, to use in a technicolour dream spell of exciting original creative play.
Here are a few suggestions then that have helped me pull away from distraction and back into the flow of creativity. Some are practical and some are more thought and focus based.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Being critical is a sure way to stop the flow of creativity. It doesn’t matter what you didn’t do and it doesn’t matter what you do. All creation is worth it, fun, enriching and valid.
- Nurture your art like a child. Encourage and praise all your efforts, however small, big, beginner or expert. We all have to start somewhere and love is the key to growing.
- Notice your distractions, breathe into and become present with what is deviating you.
- Accept the distraction. Celebrate it. It is enriching your life. It is life. Just a different section of it.
- Honour your passions. Write down what you love to do. Be honest with that. Then maybe make time for 5 minutes a day of that.
- Drop out of your head and into your heart. This is the weird, tricky one. Even though the voices doth protest, focus your minds attention on your heart, take deep breaths in and out and listen to what you really want.
- Take inspired action. Don’t make yourself create if you really don’t want to. You will develop resentment. Act once you have taken a few deep breaths into your heart. Things will come easier then.
- Use your emotions. Write, paint, dance and draw those difficult feelings. They are rich with material. Trust them. Express them. Drop into your heart and flow with them. You will feel much better.
- Become quiet. Find a silent space to sit. Mediate for a few moments. Use the silence to focus your attention on the present. On the flow of creativity within. You do not need to wait for inspiration but you do need to learn to turn your focus to it. The flow always exists.
- Make a sacred space for your creativity. A desk or room that is your own. A park bench. A table in a coffee shop. Make your creative time sacred for the moment in which you create. Whether you sit for one hour or one minute matters not. Completely devote that time to your creativity.
- Honour yourself. Honour your heart. Honour your flow. You are amazing. Give thanks to you for you! This can be hard at first but do it anyway.
Much love and much creativity to you.
Create February Fabulous! is an idea and challenge to show up to your own creativity every day for the month of February. It is a simple idea. The creativity can take any form, and take any amount of time. Any media, any discipline, the only condition is to have fun. No critics, no judgement, of self or others, just a celebration of our own unique human quality of creativity. You are encouraged to share your projects anywhere you like using the hashtag #createfebruary. Join the Facebook group, share on Instagram, blog about it, invite friends to some daily creativity. Let’s see what we can create together.
Matt Rivers is a singer/songwriter, musician, poet and writer of words. He is exploring the forests of consciousness, time and space, and surfing the waves of thought, love and being. He is passionate about rediscovering our inner creative flow, adding love and beauty to society and looking after our wonderful, amazing planet.