Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Rituals Before Writing


Mike at Unknowing Mind directed me to this article from The Daily Om. It kind of relates to my post the other day about rituals before writing.
Protecting Your Flow
How Fear Blocks Creativity

To understand how fear blocks creativity, take a moment to imagine yourself telling a story. First, imagine telling the story to someone you love and who loves you. You probably feel warmth and energy as you fill in the details of your tale to your friend's delight. Now, imagine telling the same story to someone who, for whatever reason, makes you uncomfortable. The wonderful twists and turns, the fine points and colorful images that unfolded in your mind for your friend probably won't present themselves. Instead of warmth, energy, and creativity, you will probably feel opposite sensations and a desire to close down. When we feel unsafe, whether we fear being judged, disliked, or misunderstood, our creative flow stops. Alternately, when we feel safe, our creativity unfolds like a beautiful flower, without conscious effort.

Knowing this, we can maximize our creative potential by creating the conditions that inspire our creativity. In order to really be in the flow, we need to feel safe and unrestricted. However, achieving this is not as simple as avoiding people who make us feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we can be alone in a room and still feel totally blocked. When this happens, we know we have come up against elements in our own psyches that are making us feel fearful. Perhaps we are afraid that in expressing ourselves we will discover something we don't want to know, or unleash emotions or ideas that we don't want to be responsible for. Or maybe we're afraid we'll fail to produce something worthy.

When you're up against fear, internal or external, ritual can be a powerful-and creative-antidote. Before you sit down to be creative, try casting a circle of protection around yourself. Visualize yourself inside a ring of light, protective fire, or angels. Imagine that this protective energy emanates unconditional love for you and wants to hear, see, and feel everything you have to express. Take a moment to bathe in the warmth of this feeling and then fearlessly surrender yourself to the power that flows through you.
I don't have a problem with writer's block (although I did think for years that I had no poetry left in me, which still remains to be seen). For those who do feel blocked and don't know why, these approaches might work.

I would also suggest simply creating an open receptive space in the psyche through meditation, breathing, or whatever process works for you and inviting whatever wants to come to make its presence known. Even prayer can create an opening if we are asking for alignment with Spirit and not asking for the perfect poem/story/essay.

Finally, one of the things I love to do when I feel an urge to write but don't have anything that feels like it must get out is to sit down with an author I like -- Ann Lauterbach works well for me -- and read with a receptive mind, waiting for a word or an image that triggers something in me. Many of my best works have come this way.


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