Monday, September 19, 2011
Creativity Lives in Energy
As I sorted through my poems recently for my upcoming books of poetry, I began to really notice the years when I wrote more poetry and the years I didn't. I began to analyze the trends. Big surprise, huh? A few possibilities came to mind. I hadn't felt inspired. Life had been too good. Life had been too bad. The card verse I was writing detracted from my poetry writing. My focus was elsewhere. I'd felt too numb to write poetry.
I even considered the possibility that my poetic energy had been drained. See, I believe that we are surrounded by energy. We share that energy. We feed off that energy. We can steal it from others. We can give it to others. We can mutually share it. Some people kill all the positive energy in their vicinity. Other people consume all the positive energy in their vicinity. Some people exude positive energy. Some people exude negative energy. Some people absorb all the energy, positive and negative, around them. Some people leave us feeling so devoid of energy, it would be painful if it wasn't so incredibly numbing. Some people share their energy in a way that benefits all parties involved, giving and taking positive and negative, ebbing with the flow, and supporting each other as the changes in energy come along...
When we're tired, emotionally, physically, and/or mentally, creativity is slow to come. It acts a little like a drunk slurring words, staggering along, trying to pretend like it's whole, stronger than it is, and has all its faculties intact. But, the truth is exhaustion stunts creativity. Think about the last time you tried to write after an extremely stressful day. A day where everything that could go wrong did. Now compare to that to a day when you woke up refreshed and energetic and sat down immediately to write. I'll bet on the extremely stressful day, you struggled to find the words, you weren't happy with them when you did, and you ended up feeling frustrated with your results. Whereas, I'd bet on the refreshed and energetic day, you felt almost as if something outside yourself guided your hand(s), thoughts flowed from your brain to your fingertips with ease, and you were positively bouncing with joy as you finished your writing for the day. Maybe you didn't even want to quit when it was time.
I'm not saying great creativity doesn't come from our struggles in life because it certainly does. The number of poems I've written about heartache is ridiculous, at least to me. The number of poems I've written about the pain of discovering one has lost one's self staggers me but perhaps wouldn't someone else. Yet, through it all what I find is an energy that sees possibility even through longing, that sees potential even in pain, and that sees good even in the worst experiences. I hope that's what others see when they read my words...
So sometimes when our creativity gets stuck, I think what we need is a change of energy. We need to look at the energy sources around us and see what they're creating in our lives.
Do you surround yourself with energy that flows naturally and beautifully? That ebbs and flows? That gives and takes? That has moments of bathing you in its glory? That pushes you to create?
Do you sorround youself with energy that feels stifled and stuck? That pulls you down until you're drowning? That drains you of every last bit of creativity in your soul?
Take a moment. Close your eyes. Feel the energy around you. Feel the energy emanating from you. Feel the energy within you. Now, open your eyes. What did you feel? Look around you. Is there something you need to change to fix the energy in your space? This is where things can get dicey. Sometimes what needs changed is as simple as moving a photo or a vase that stirs up a feeling or memory of constricted energy, but sometimes it means re-evaluating who we spend time with and what they do to our energy reserves. This can be very difficult. I wrote about this last year in Creativity Creators and Drains, so I won't go into a lot of detail here. Just be aware that when someone feeds your creative energy, they are doing you a favor even if they don't know it, so be sure to give something back to them. You don't want to drain the person dry to meet your own needs. You don't want to become an energy drain, or as I've heard it put, an energy vampire, in someone's life, especially someone who so readily gives their energy to you.
Find and nurture the energy you need to keep your creativity flowing. Remember to give back to those who give you energy. And, always, always, be grateful for the creative energy that comes your way.
Creativity lives in energy.
T. L. Cooper grew up on a farm in Tollesboro, Kentucky. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Eastern Kentucky University. Her poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared online, in books, and in magazines. Her published work includes a novel, All She Ever Wanted and four books of poetry. When not writing, she enjoys yoga, golf, and traveling. Currently, she resides in Albany, Oregon.