One of the best things about being a trainer is the opportunity one gets of delving into the human psyche. The other day, while catching up with a friend over coffee, I got into an animated conversation about the close connection between mindfulness and happiness and sharing what I thought were some very essential life lessons.
Sometime back, as part of attending a workshop on management, I had done a few exercises in mindfulness. It had taught me (alongside a group of about 20 other attendees) how to embrace a more mindful way of living, to abide in more self-awareness and become more conscious on varied levels.
As trainees, we sat quietly glued to this charming lady, listening intently like children do, ready to soak in all the wonderful thoughts in a session that was life-altering for many in the group. It was nothing new but realising the truth and acting upon it was the challenge and in a matter of a few hours all of us were converted into the issue of developing a mindful existence wherein we learnt to focus on ONE idea instead of the multitudes of things that generally occupied our consciousness.
Since that day, my focus has been to pay deliberate attention to each thought, feeling, or sensation coming from within. Waking up on a higher dimension has helped me tune in to my creative side after years of dormancy, giving me that much-needed inspiration for ideas on a daily basis. This, I admit, is helping me in living more mindfully—through awareness and conscious living. Every time the mindful idea has resonated within me, I have been able to let go of those self-limiting beliefs and as if by magic, my creative powers have suddenly got activated and started working in my favour. It is this mindfulness that has helped me create many a brilliant sketch, a short story or even a blog post about something that I might have been struggling with over the past few weeks.
Creative ideas are most often blocked because we are not mindful enough to grant ourselves permission for a new start or chapter—to let go of previous mistakes or hurts. If we can own the idea, then we can “make” anything of ourselves that we choose to be and that creativity lies within each of us in much the same way as a brush in the hand of a painter with a blank canvas.
My experience has shown me that there are a few things we need to practise on a daily basis in order to be more mindful and creative. Firstly, we need to visualise ourselves as a blank slate. Self-limiting beliefs are the number one obstacle that deprives us from tuning in to our creative power. It helps us to be whatever we desire to be.
Secondly, setting an intention, is, by itself, a mindful act. When we set the intention to create, mindfulness silences the background noise and gives us that sensitivity to pick out the best ideas. We may then, use practices such as meditation, to serve as a source of inspiration to help us sift through the avalanche of ideas—to get that one, creative idea that would make all the difference.
Thirdly, integration of body and mind is very essential. A little stretch is certainly not what I mean. Moving our body when the mind gets stiff actually works like magic! Ask a group of kindergarten kids to sit for 20 minutes through a lecture, you’ll know what I mean. Our minds and bodies are integrated—there is a deep connection between both. Any physical movement, such as a walk, or a run, or doing some squats—anything, helps to free the blockages in the mind and gives us clarity before we set off to tap into our creative flow.
Mindfulness also allows us to experience the here and the now and enjoy them as awe-inspiring moments. Moments of awe don’t have to be extravagant. As a matter of fact, we come across these moments every day, but often miss them. As I write this post, I am soaking in the rain, enjoying the thunder and lightning and the light drizzle for the past hour, amidst dark clouds swirling across the sky. From my sixth floor balcony, I sniff the wet cold air and touch the rain with my finger-tips. I have seen and touched rain countless times before, but inspiration strikes me in a matter of minutes, as I watch in awe and amazement – the beauty of a rainy May evening!
Having said that, I do believe that we can never force creativity to occur, or force great ideas to emerge, but we can certainly practice spacing. This means not rushing, or forcing but giving ourselves the space, when we are stuck with a lack of ideas or words or both. instead of giving in to frustration or even giving up, as is the case with most of us. I must have got stuck at least a dozen times while writing this post and I did just that. Spacing is a great idea for all creatives, especially when one is stuck and nothing seems to work. Highly recommended and worth a try if you are ever stuck like me!
As a final note, I cannot emphasise more on why we need to see ourselves as creative beings first and foremost, making us conscious of our creative goals. We should delight in the fact that our creative genius might actually turn up a great creative idea from anything and anywhere and even the least significant turn of event might be the trigger to inspire a masterpiece or a magnum opus, who knows! Inspiration just has a way of turning up, often when we least expect them!
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”
This post was written for the Write Tribe Festival of Words #Day3