I knew Sally Swain , artist, teacher, writer and therapist, was a treasure when I met her, so I asked her to write something for Creative Doctors about getting back in touch with creativity. Here it is:
"Art-making, writing, performing…something sparked you early in life. You had to let it go to immerse yourself in your medical career. You ache to return to that passion, but don’t know how. Or there’s no time, or it seems too hard or frivolous. Maybe you believe you’re not really very ‘good’ at it anyway, so why bother?
|"Rhyming Cuplet - foundground" by Sally Swain|
Approach your long-lost creative self with tenderness and care. You might have Artist Wounds from long ago. A teacher banished you from the school choir. Other kids in your class were praised for their neat drawings, while you were ignored. Everyone said your sister was ‘the artist’ in the family and you were ‘the clever one’.
How to heal an Artist Wound? You need more than a quick dab with mercurochrome.
Creativity is a relationship, requiring gentle attention. You might need to rebuild this relationship gradually. Perhaps you could woo your creative self and give it quality time. You may need to listen.
Are there strategies to help you reconnect with your creativity; to tend to Artist Wounds? But of course. There are many.
Here are just two littlies for now. I have a word count to stick to, you know.
One strategy is to literally listen. In a five minute mindful listening meditation, become aware of whatever sounds present themselves. When you find yourself worrying about yesterday’s meeting or wishing there were fewer planes and more birds, you self-kindly bring yourself back to the inner and outer soundscape. Then you paint, draw, write or move in response.
|"Rhyming Cuplet - knowflow" by Sally Swain|
Another strategy is to write morning pages. Creativity queen Julia Cameron introduces this basic tool in her book The Artist's Way. You write three pages freehand every morning. You vent, meander, repeat, blurt, scribble. Most importantly, you keep your hand moving and you ALLOW whatever guff emerges to land on the page. Morning pages can help ground and stabilise your creative self, as well as facilitating flow. They function as a springboard to all manner of creative adventures.
I hope you find value in this potted version of a life’s work of creativity-whispering. I encourage you to seek support to grow your creative spirit. And feel free to pop over to my Art and Soul blog to discover more."