We live in a pretty serious world. The economy sucks (for most of us, at least), it’s dog eat dog, and we’re afraid for our kids outside the house as well as inside the house (online predators), not to mention that my tomatoes are just not flourishing this season. And when times get challenging we tend to fondly remember “better” times. Remember that season 4 years ago when I had too many tomatoes to eat and they all rocked!
But the truth is, we would hate it if things are awesome, all the time. Because then we would have no contrast – which means the edges would blur, there would be too much sameness, and we wouldn’t have the capacity to fully savor the good times.
Remember the last time you started something new? A new relationship? A new book – writing one or reading one? A new recipe? A new sport? Newness forces us to examine new parts within us and can stimulate the senses and release some of those pleasant hormones such as endorphins.
Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm, and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being. The term endorphin rush has been adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of exhilaration…
If you’re a creative junkie, you’re probably addicted to the “exhilaration” of hitting the zone and creating something new, or having an aha! moment, or merely contemplating your next project. If you find you have not had that hit in awhile, and you’re experiencing too much creative sameness, here are 4 beastly antidotes to help you get in touch with the animal within to get you back in the endorphin game. (Note, for the record, in this particular post I’m not addressing the consumption of spicy food or love and orgasm as methods to get your buzz on, though we know they work so feel free to imbibe as needed, just saying).
4 Ways to Probe Your Creative Animal
WARNING – some of these will make you feel utterly ridiculous but please don’t let that stop you!
1. Crayon Creature
If you’ve been reading zencopy for awhile, you probably already know I’m partial to crayons as a cure for most anything that ails you. This time, to get in touch with the childlike aspect that lurks within all creativity, pull out your crayons and trace your hand on a piece of paper. Now, build on this by turning it into an animal (if you live somewhere in the world where Turkey’s are part of Thanksgiving, you’ll remember the turkeys you made out of hand drawings in school). After you’ve created your masterpiece, hang it on the wall. Oh, yes, you must. That’s the way of the child. The point of this is to understand the amazing things that can come from your hand – it’s more than a tool for writing or doing chores – hands are fun. Get back in touch with yours.
2. Slithery Stick
Find an old stick. Now, using whatever you have in the house; markers, stick ons, pins, anything, give your stick a face. When you’re happy with the face, you’ll need to add some legs and a tail, if needed. This, of course, does not have to be based on an animal that exists anywhere outside your brain. Does it need any type of skin? Wings? Feathers? Continue to embellish your animal until you are happy with it. Name it. Now put it on a shelf to remind you of the grrr (or squawk) that lies within your being.
3. That Butterfly B
The alphabet is our friend but that does not mean you have to always take it so seriously. Pick a letter that you are particularly fond of and make a list of animals that have that letter in their name. Make some up. MISSPELL some on purpose (hard, huh?). Once you have a good-sized list, do something fun with the words; Write a poem with them or a nonsensical statement that twerpts your whale wots.
4. Become the Beast
Now, you are going to become an animal. These are inspired by some yoga poses.
- Elephant taking a Shower: use your arms to make a trunk and dip your trunk into the imaginary watering hole in front of you; then lift your trunk up and spray the water like a shower.
- Frog: squat and stretch your legs like a frog warming up and then jump! At least twice.
- Snake Pose: Yup. Time to get down and slither!
- Butterfly: Sit and put your feet together and knees bent wide apart. Flutter your legs up and down like a butterfly.
- Cheetah: move quickly on all fours like a cheetah running across the land. Remember, cheetahs are the fastest land mammal.
- Unicorn: Use your hands (those wonderful hands again) or fingers to make a magical horn over the center of your head. Now gallop around.
Animals represent a certain basic freedom. And, of course, we are all animals with basic drives, but in our serious lives we forget the creatures alive within us; we become stilted in our actions, thoughts, and yes, with our creativity. In the wild, an animal that is stilted in action, gets eaten. Don’t let sameness kill the creative creature within you! Dare to be ridiculous, ride a camel for the first time, and continuously find new ways to probe your inner creativity creatures and get your buzz on. (Okay, and if you must, eat lots of spicy foods and, um, go for those other endorphin creating activities).
Your can find more creativity activities in my free ebook
photo by by DrJohnBullas