Category Archives for Find Your Voice

7 Reasons to Unleash Your Inner Artist

Do you have a persistent and unrelenting desire to create? No doubt! Your creative impulse is as natural and necessary as your heart beat or your breath. Your expression may differ from others but it is an essential element in living fully.

I've been singing, dancing and writing since I was a child. The exquisite bliss that I experience when I'm in the clutches of my creations, stirs my heart and feeds my soul. Time stands still, or speeds up. I lose my sense of self and am transported to a world that is saturated with the sheer joy and pleasure of being a song, a dance, a story.

Even though I've pursued these creative passions for the love of them, I've also shared them with others, whether in a dance competition, a cabaret show or my own blog. I can't count the number of times dear ones have discouraged me from pursuing these passions. Echos of ‘Get a grip.' and ‘Be realistic.' have followed me most of my life.

I'm sure my story is not much different than yours. The world at large has not historically cozied up to artists. It has not been the safest path throughout time, and though well intended, these warnings have often proven to be an impetus to creative expression. But the world is changing, my friends. With the advent of technology, and the vehicles to share our creations, being an artist is more a reality today than ever.

Joseph Beuys, German sculptor and performance artist, popularized the idea that “everyone is an artist.” He didn't necessarily mean that all people should or could be creators of traditional artworks. He meant that we should not see creativity as the special realm of artists, and that everyone should apply creative thinking in their own area of specialization, whether it be finance or the fine arts.

Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources, describes the experience:

The arts address the idea of an aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is one in which the senses are operating at their peak, when you are present in the current moment, when you are resonating with the excitement of this thing that you are experiencing, when you are fully alive. The process connects us to our authentic self and facilitates moments of vitality and connection.

According to artist Jessica Wachter, an artist is “anyone who has the courage to come to the canvas of life and expose his or her gifts.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, recently released a new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. She shares that creativity is not dropping everything to pursue a career as an opera singer or a painter (unless you want to). She invites us to explore “a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”

There are many perspectives on being an artist and an infinite number of ways to engage creative expression. This isn't so much about fame or fortune, as much as it is shaping and sharing the creative forces that live within. One thing is certain: your creative impulses won't go away.

Here are 7 reasons to unleash your inner artist:

1. Enhances Creativity and Innovation. There isn't a manual to being an artist, and there isn't a manual for Life. Obstacles and challenges are inevitable. However, when you make creativity a habit, you continue to learn new, resourceful ways of solving problems in your artwork, and in life. You take risks, try new things, and strip away inhibitions in a healthy way.

2. Increases Self Awareness and Self Discovery. Creative expression can lead you to a deeper level of understanding of yourself. As you create, you plumb the depths of your being, accessing what you think and believe. The more you create, the more you discover your habits, impulses, and desires. When you take the time and energy to develop your own ideas, you come to respect your inner nature and are better able to express yourself to the world on a regular basis. Artistry reveals your authentic Essence.

3. Heals Your Physical Body. The process of creating art doesn’t just make you feel better, it also creates real, physical changes inside your body. A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine used writing as a treatment for HIV patients. It found that writing resulted in “improvements of CD4+ lymphocyte counts.” That’s a fancy way of saying that the act of writing actually impacted the cells inside the patient’s body and improved their immune system.

4. Helps You Make Meaning Out of the Madness. At its most powerful, creative expression can be a tool for transformation. It enables connection to your inner voice and allows you to be seen and heard. It can make the unconscious conscious. The arts make sense out of our existence, as well as offering an emotional outlet for joy, pain, suffering, and unanswerable questions. It can be used to express thoughts and feelings that are too big or too difficult to put into words.

5. Creates Your Own Personal Oasis. Art can be an oasis, a place to find relaxation and calm. It can also be used to release pain and unexpressed feelings. Creative expression can be both a way to find calm and a way to release pain. As you express and integrate unacknowledged feelings, you honor and integrate your whole being.

6. Keeps You Young. Creative outlets keep you young. Experts theorize that hands on activities such as cooking, gardening, making jewelry, crocheting and sculpting may work to enhance mental clarity, because they activate additional parts of the brain. In a recent four-year study, it reported that people who took up creative activities in middle age were less likely to suffer memory loss.

7. Creates Community. When you create, you naturally connect to others doing the same and an instant sense of community is formed. Whether you're exchanging ideas, providing feedback to peers, or simply creating next to each other in silence, the sense of connection experienced as artists is undeniable and deeply rewarding.

Dr. Jeremy Nobel, Founder and President of The Foundation for Art and Healing, summarizes the major benefits of creative expression as follows:

Art allows you to do three things, and this is where the healing comes from. Art puts you in the moment, puts you in touch with yourself and allows you to bring forth something that did not exist before. And those three things taken together are incredibly powerful in terms of adjusting your understanding of yourself, your relationship to yourself, your relationship to the world and your sense about possibilities for the future.

In our uber–connected world of television, social media, and on demand everything, it can be easy to spend your entire day consuming information and simply responding to all of the inputs that bombard your life.

Art offers an outlet and a release from all of that. It shifts you from consuming to creating. Take a minute to ignore all of the incoming signals and create an outgoing one instead. Produce something. Express yourself in some way. As long as you contribute rather than consume, anything you do can be a work of art.

Creative expression can enrich your life in everyday ways. It can brighten your mood, spark your imagination or unleash the joy that lives in your heart. It's a tradition that is thousands of years old to heal what ails us and make sense out the adventure of Life. The world is waiting to taste your unique flavor of creative expression. Ready to share it? Say, “Yes!”

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PS Ready to unleash your inner artist? Join us …

 

7 Ways to Nourish Your Sense of Self

For millenia our survival depended on one another. You couldn't stand against pre-historic animals by yourself. You needed to gather and bond with others in order to survive. Times have changed, and though some things remain the same, the invitation of our time is different.

Today we still need each other, but we also need to light our own way. Community is essential, but it serves no one to lose yourself. You cannot support the massive shifts of our time unless you are willing to be the change. In your own world you must be the light, not only for yourself but for those around you. Nourish your light, your own sense of self, and you become a precious gift to your community and the world. 

Here are 7 ways to nourish your spark in the solar system:

  1. Invest in Alone Time. Yes, you're a social creature, but don't seek out others solely to avoid being with yourself. Knowing how to be alone is key to the art of loving yourself.  There are some things that will only reveal themselves on a solo journey.
  2. Engage in Loving Self Talk. Don’t belittle or berate yourself. No name calling either. “If you can't say something nice, don't say anything.” Right! Speak positively, with love drenched words. Don’t allow others to talk to you in a way that makes you wither! Be less critical and more loving of yourself, especially when things are tough. The conversations you have with yourself can either support or sabotage your sense of self. Build yourself up, don't tear yourself down.
  3. Set Boundaries. Create healthy boundaries for how others treat you and also for how you treat yourself. Use boundaries that respect you and your energy. Let go of people pleasing and giving so much to others that there's nothing left for you. Treat yourself with love and kindness, and don't settle for anything less from others. 
  4. Honor Your Word. Follow through on what you say. Period. Honor your promises and commitments, especially to yourself. Living honestly creates integrity in your everyday moments so your energy is free to be.
  5. Follow Your Heart. If you’re heart’s not in it, don't do it. It doesn’t matter if it's your work or your relationships. The clock is ticking for us all. Do the things that stir your heart and make it soar. Anything less diminishes your life force. It's your dance, darling!
  6. Take a Stand. Stand up for yourself and what you believe in. It takes courage to be true to you. It is the best investment you'll make. When you take a stand for ‘what's right' you craft a unique and precious life… and that is what you're here for. Create a life that honors you and blesses all.
  7. Acknowledge your Beauty. By now you've experienced beauty through the lens of all your senses. You know what beauty looks like. Don't forget what beauty feels like. Go within. See it. Be it. The more you do, the more it comes to life. Focus on your beauty and you become more beautiful (and so does everything else).

Nourishing your own sense of self – the exquisite unique light of your own being – is what's required to be a force for evolution. It's not a big undertaking either. It's a slight shift. The tips above are mere suggestions. All you really need to do is gift yourself the love, kindness and compassion you already gift others. You are that force of loving goodness. That's why self love can feel like a contradiction. You are already that.

Nourishing you, nourishes Life. That's how you share the light. That's how you change the world.
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PS What are some of the ways you experience your sense of self? Share below!

 

Image: Perfume, Jeronimo Sanz

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