This is a repost from lightwaves since I would like to continue writing about my creative process, and lightwaves is not getting published anymore.
Creativity has taken center stage in my life during the last 2 years. What brought about that change is in part a conscious decision, sprouting from my own commitment to stay at Yasodhara Ashram for 2 years, and in part the natural evolution in my yoga practice. The whole transformation has been a natural healing process that took me from a misconception about the artistic life to the reality of a passionate creative life, which in turn brought even more healing! For me yoga is art and art is yoga
“Creative life is wonderful.” ~ Swami Radha
Where does creativity come from?
I had the false belief that suffering and emotional instability were the perfect vehicles for inspiration and creativity, where the artist and their creation are enslaved by the power of emotional turmoil and negativity. This interpretation might have come from popular beliefs about artists, but it was also fed by my own experience of living in Montreal among a few artists. My late uncle, who had one of the most creative minds I’ve met, saw his last days coming, alone, without having his art recognized. As well, one of my best friends who couldn’t spend one hour without creating art, ended his life prematurely in the quest to seek recognition and love from people close to him.
My strong desires to evolve and to create forced me to re-evaluate those beliefs and redefine my vision of creativity and art. Taking into account that emotional tension can feed creativity, I researched what else in me could nourish it. I realized that art is a personal representation of reality and that in order to see reality clearly, I need to make space for it. In order to see the beautiful sky, I need to move the emotional clouds of my mind.
Perceiving clearly is one step, but I discovered that in order to express that reality (my own reality) I needed to take another step into healing and self-acceptance.
What is the relationship between healing and creativity?
Healing helped me become more creative and creating more helped me heal further. For me, healing is part of yoga – it takes place when disconnected parts of myself start merging or coming into union with each other. That is what was needed for me to find my own creative spark. One of these unions happened with my drawing practice, which seemed simple at first but had quite a big repercussion in my life.
I’ve always drawn but never on a regular basis. I had 2 different styles of drawing: doodling and ‘serious’ drawing, where I would try to represent real objects from nature as well as portraits. Doodling was fun and relaxing and the other type of drawing was harder but still enjoyable.
About a year and a half ago, somehow I came to integrate these two, by doodling reality and a new personal style emerged for me. The first drawing I made in this style was a fox, the messenger between the spirit world and the human world.
At first it seemed quite a simple idea but the more I moved into that style, the more I learned about myself. Often when drawing, my intuitive self or my heart would invite me to draw some more, but my mind would get in the way and stop me from moving forward. As an example, while drawing a flower I was invited to draw a bird that drinks from that flower. At once my mind said, ‘No, the flower is beautiful, you might spoil it all with a bird.’ I realized that this hesitation is not how I want to make art nor how I want to live my life! You can see the result now, how the two elements of the drawing nourish each other – how I can feed myself the nectar of my heart to draw on even more creativity.
The idea of listening to that intuition is a concept that I know mentally, but the fact that I can practice it during creative drawing really helps me understand how to do it and what voice to listen to.
What are the tools to merge yogic life and creative life?
The first steps in merging yogic life and creative life can seem challenging. As a yogi, self-expression can be seen as something that can feed the ego of self-importance and support this sense of feeling better (or worse) than everyone else. For artists, changing their way of living and thinking could seem like a possible hindrance to their creative flow. Because the subtle connection the artist has with her inspiration can be quite fragile, there is a fear of losing that connection.
Yoga and art can benefit from each other, if the integration is done consciously and gently. Here are a few techniques and ideas that have helped me in that process.
Even though a confused mind could be a great canvas for creativity, I prefer to let go of any tension or worry that happened during the day. Reflecting on the day, mind mapping or chanting mantra is normally quite efficient to clear up my mind for creativity and yoga.
It’s hard to start something new if I think I have to be good right at the start. I need to let go of expectations and follow what happens. If I feel judgmental, I remind myself that I don’t do that anymore. It might seem simple, but the mere fact of repeating the sentence “I don’t do that anymore” helps me let go of old habits.
Allow yourself to doodle and tinker
I wouldn’t be able to draw big pieces if I couldn’t doodle in a smaller booklet. It seems really important to allow both. Setting up some time to doodle and experiment seems as important as setting up time to create bigger pieces.
Feel more, think less
The mind likes to be in control. In yogic life as well as creative life there is a need to let go of the mind’s supremacy. Yet I do invite the mind to come and help me reflect on my creative process and yogic life in order to clarify where I would like to go next. I cannot really subdue my mind so I learn to live with it. Sometimes I give more space to my mind, and sometimes I ask my mind to take a break so that I can draw or meditate in peace.
There are a lot of yogic practices as well as creative techniques. It’s good to pick one and start experimenting with it! I also believe that it’s more important to be consistent in any practice than to push myself and overdo it. For myself, I need a few creative outlets and practices to keep me engaged – a bit of hatha, a bit of chanting, a bit of writing, a bit of drawing, music, digital art, etc. all together to fill my day with enjoyment.
Creativity and yoga have helped me bring quality, inspiration and passion into my life, and I hope that everyone can discover their own creative potential. I myself am now embarking on the greatest creative journey there is – to raise my own child. I hope that my love for art and yoga will fill our lives and inspire me to raise our child into a creative life.