“Why, sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!”The Queen, from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
There is a winged dragon waiting at the edge of your conscious mind, and her name is Creativity. If you climb into the jewelled saddle, and nudge her with your heels she will take you to a place deep within you. There is a sacred pool bubbling up from this place and the magical quality of this water helps us to visualise, believe in and create impossible things. Creativity, Imagination Land and the Realms of Possibility are all available to us if we learn to nurture the part of us that would take the journey, and the part which feeds the sacred pool…
During these strange times in which we are living, some of the ways that we night nurture our creativity – international travel, live music events, food festivals, big family events, reunions, folk festivals, writers festivals, medieval festivals, travel extravaganzas, bridal expos, garden exhibitions, rural shows, trade fairs, and so on – have not always been available to us.
But we can still engage with our creativity, and nurture it well.
I have found the following things to be useful in feeding my creative self. They are all about engaging with life; learning, experiencing and observing:
- Walks in nature – so many things to see. Interesting leaves, delicate flowers, animals busy in their own environments, the smell of a summer morning or a winter’s night, the hoot of an owl, the baying of a dog, a neighbour’s cat perched on a fence – baleful as a tiger. Open yourself to peace and to quiet. Surprisingly, that’s often where you will connect to inspiration.
- Books – to read, to look up random bits, to instruct, to look at pictures, to give you a magical carpet ride to a place you’ve never been. You can also try audiobooks to listen to on the bus, or in the car, or to put you to sleep at night or while you do the housework.
- Music – not just the stuff you usually listen to, but other people’s music too. Ask friends for recommendations. Trawl youtube. Go through your old collection of CDs, MP3s, records. Even try the radio.
- Films – late-night foreign movies on TV, Netflix and pizza on a Saturday night, movies for children, sub-titled treasures, golden oldies, footage of you and your family from your childhood, or your parents/grandparents lives.
- Outings and expeditions – These may need to be close to home, but they can still count. Choose from picnics, road trips, camping and hiking adventures, kayak trips, catching random buses or trains, going to places that have always been on your ‘must visit’ list – such as vineyards, art galleries, temples, national parks, cafés you read about in the paper. You can always use a local restaurant to give your senses a travel experience too. Try that new Senegalese place, or the Vietnamese noodle shop. HOme delivery works fine, and you can create a special atmosphere at home with a few cushions and rugs and candles, or something inventive such as a picnic on the back lawn, or a blanket fort in the family room. If you’re lucky enough to be out and about, drink it all in. All the culture, the sights, the food, the smells, the colour of the sky. Take photos. Capture memories. Bring home a souvenir or an outlandish tale.
- Lessons – Stretch yourself with something new. Guitar, Hindi, water skiing, belly dancing, sushi making, yoga, watercolour, macrame pot holders 101, computing, swordsmanship, barista course, novel writing. There is a wealth of learning online, and so many things that are inexpensive or free.
- Cloud busting – lie back on the grass, or in a hammock and watch the clouds. Try to change their shape with your mind, or make them disperse. What shapes do you see? What stories do they tell you?
- Poetry and book readings – hearing an artist share their own work is always powerful. Many of these happen online, or you might want to hold your own.
- Journal – a safe space for pouring your imaginings onto paper.
- Live with curiosity – curiosity and creativity go hand in hand. Set up a space in your house and begin. Restore furniture. Build something. Knit or sew something. Paint. Draw. Sculpt. Mosaic. Start a podcast, an online book club, a website, a business. Have fun with it and learn as you go.
- Talk to people – they’ll tell you the most amazing things. People everywhere are happy to share their stories and experiences, mostly for a smile, and the joy of being heard.
- Make things with your hands – there is a magical flow between our hearts, our imaginations and our hands. Often this process unblocks something that is seemingly unrelated. A pottery session gives you ideas for your novel, chopping vegetables for soup informs a painting design growing inside you. Make pasta, knead dough, paint an old cupboard, dig in the garden, bead a necklace, repair a bicycle, braid your hair, pick flowers for the table!
The arts are more important than ever. They are food for our soul. Nature has a way of inspiring us too. Your creativity matters, and it is an awesome coping skill. Who knows what might be created by you in the next year if you can nurture this side of you some more.
Wishing you a magical weekend of new ideas and inspiration, Nicole xx