A few years ago I wrote a newsletter about getting our creative needs met. It was in response to the fear I experienced as I prepared to finish my fourth book, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace, because the book shared intimate details of my own personal journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening. Because I've written about reawakening hidden parts of ourselves and expressing our creative desires over the last couple of weeks, I decided to dig this newsletter out and share it with you again because they're so important.
You see, all of us are creative. Yes, there are painters, writers, interior decorators, architects, dancers, and so on, but creativity is much more than the "artist" view that many of us hold. Creativity is expressed in many ways: how you dress, how you decorate your office, how you choose gifts for others, or how you cook a meal for your family. And these talents can be applied to any creative desire.
Think about the hidden part of you that you'd like to reawaken this year -- the part that will require you to use your creative muscles in a more pronounced way. Then, consider these creative needs:
1. Creativity needs safety. The beginning stage of any creative process is one of the most fragile and vulnerable periods of all. Our creative dreams are so delicate and it only takes one negative comment to throw us off track. This is why you might need to keep your idea to yourself, holding the energy in, so to speak, so you can gain clarity and allow your idea to build strength and momentum. Otherwise it's too easy to be influenced by the fears (or expectations) of others. Too many people I know have abandoned great ideas because of someone else's insensitivity. You need to protect your dream.
2. Creativity needs space. When you begin working on a project you'll need plenty of emotional and physical space. This might mean scheduling uninterrupted time to yourself, clearing out a room to work in, or letting loved ones know that you'll be less available and asking for their understanding and support. Creating anything new not only takes physical energy, it takes emotional energy. The best creative projects are birthed from a "reserve of space" not from being squeezed into a busy life. You need to make space for your dream.
3. Creativity needs nurturing. Once you're ready to share your ideas with others it's extremely important to choose those people who will be positive and supportive. This doesn't mean that they have to agree with you, but it does mean that they need to play by *your* rules. In other words, be sure to let people know how you'd like to receive feedback and what kind of feedback would be most helpful. It's not fair to expect colleagues or loved ones to automatically know what you need to keep your dream alive. Take responsibility for the kind of support you receive. You need to nurture your dream.
4. Creativity needs a strong advocate. There's a good chance that you'll doubt your idea, question your direction, or wonder whether or not you have what it takes to follow through. When this happens you'll need a strong advocate to keep you on course. My four books would never have been written had I not had people in place who reminded me of my strengths and challenged me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The completion of a creative project takes perseverance and commitment. You need a strong advocate to help you get to the finish line.
5. Creativity needs love. Like a flower that requires plenty of sunlight to fully blossom, your creative project will need to be nourished with lots of love. Who supports your creativity? Who keeps encouraging you to take the first step? Where will you get the sustenance you need to follow through? As you continue with the creative process, surround yourself with people who can love you through your fear, self-doubt or exhaustion. Sometimes you'll need a gentle reminder to take a break. Other times you'll need someone to listen carefully as you talk through an idea. The love you need will also come from *you* in the form of extra sleep, patience, healthy food, or time spent doing something fun and completely unrelated to your project. You need to nourish your creative idea with love.
Give that wild and wonderful hidden part of you a chance to emerge this year by protecting your creativity. Print out the following and keep it nearby as a reminder of what you need to breathe life into this important part of you:
You need to protect your creative Self.
You need to make space for its expression.
You need to nurture your creativity.
You need strong advocates to help you express it in the world.
You need to nourish your creative side with love.
Take Action Challenge
Think about a creative project or idea that you'd love to pursue this year. Then, consider the needs listed above and ask yourself, "Which one would be at the top of my list right now?" Is there one need, in particular, that derailed an important project in the past because it wasn't being met? That might be the one to get met first. This week, honor yourself (and your soul) by taking your desire for creative expression seriously. Get your creative needs met now.