As a creative, I have often considered it my job to continue to provide creative solutions to my people during seasons of rest. During the times when our natural inclination is to sleep, hibernate, or refuel. Are you also a subscriber to over giving of your creativity?
For me, it’s a visceral response to need. When one of my people is in need, I happily sacrifice the time I need for creative rest without a second thought instead of holding firm to my (already thin) work-life boundaries. I’m an MTBO to a growing practice, and sometimes you juggle with the best you have. While I am more than happy to offer some of myself to those I care for, there always comes a time when I fail to recognize the effect the gift of self takes on me until after I’ve offered it. Anyone? Anyone with me?
I’ve got to say – the feeling I get when I’ve over extended or offered myself is one of my worst feelings, and it’s not just related to work. Over giving pops up everywhere, and looks so different in each circumstance! It tells me that I don’t have any of the goodness left to give to my people, or myself, and am left to muscle my way through with my head down and my vulnerability shields on full force.
So this year, I decided that I’m actively engaging in unsubscribing! I’ve been unsubscribing to a lot of stuff, actually! It feels amazing to be free of hidden expectations. But more importantly, it’s giving me the opportunity to plug in space for creative rest. Rest where I can focus on basic needs, or enjoying fulfilling my basic needs, in ways that don’t put any pressure or requirements on being creative. Essentially taking a break from asking my creativity to show up for me. Will I paint? Probably. Will I work on some recording projects? Maybe. Will I write? Definitely. But the beauty in creative rest is that it gets to happen when it’s meant to happen, not because I’m collecting it for immediate use.
Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this a little bit in her (amazing) book, “Big Magic.” She talks about how our creativity can get stage fright when we demand it work for us. That it locks up when we expect it to support us. Her philosophy is that by supporting ourselves, we support creativity, and it comes to us when/as it needs to. I think Elizabeth is on to something. When we need rest, everything seems and feels harder. But when we are rested, our minds seem to expand on their own volition, pulling creative ideas and new activities for our lives out of thin air.
Here’s the catch, though. “Rest” was defined for me as a child as, “sleeping” or “napping”, or “being still.” While I find those three things to be incredibly restful for me, the buck doesn’t stop there. “Rest” also includes being active like taking a hike, walking the dog, yoga, or completing a task that is calling your name. So don’t let the name fool you –“Rest” has a lot to offer, you just have to look a little outside the box to find the kind of rest that works for you.
So if you need me, I’ll be “resting” with a stack of books, acrylic paints, my journal, cross stitch, chores, and a new kundalini yoga set. Come join me! Take your creative rest – you certainly deserve it!
Yours in creative joy,
Steward, The Music Therapy Marketplace