It is not sufficient to treat disease by addressing only the physical symptoms that display in the body. In order to achieve greater balance and well-being it is essential to look deeper into the root of what ails us and to see where there is stagnation (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually). I believe that an important piece of the wellness puzzle lies in our creativity and our ability to express ourselves fully. This article approaches the wellness conversation from an intersection of creative expression and maintaining a balanced energy system in the body. It is possible that putting more attention on these aspects of our lives can create an optimal foundation for a healthier and happier life.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), balanced energy (Qi) is thought to be a critical component maintaining health and wellness. According to TCM, Qi stagnation is one of the main correlates of disease and illness. In another field of study, Thomas Hübl, a modern day integral mystic, discusses the concept of completing the “loop of full expression” and how this helps clear the energy system of stagnant energy. Hübl says that we all have certain impulses and a unique inner expression that longs to be fully expressed in order to complete our soul’s mission in this lifetime. Hübl quotes Lao Tzu’s words from the Tao Te Ching on this matter, saying “express yourself completely then keep quiet”. Both of these center around the movement of energy; as an antidote to stagnation.
So how is creative expression interconnected with health & happiness and how can we bring creative expression more fully into our daily lives? First off, I would like to share with you my definition of creativity as I think there is a lot of misconception about what creativity is and isn’t. Creativity is making something from (seemingly) nothing at all. It is the art of opening, allowing, deep listening and allowing energy to flow freely in and around out of the body. Creativity is energy, vitality, life force. Creativity is expansion and contraction. Creativity is anything that stems from inspiration, longing, imagination, and spontaneity. It is a cathartic dynamic process.
Creativity means many different things to many different people. I want to dispel the myth that only some people are lucky enough to be creative. Creativity is a natural impulse and innate part of being human. Creativity is not limited to the select lucky few who have been blessed with the genetic make-up like Mozart or other successful and acclaimed artists. Why do I think all adults possess some sort of creativity? Because every child I have ever come in contact with has had a spark of creativity. I have worked with hundreds of children over the years and the one thing they all have in common is that they ALL possess an imagination and inclinations of this spark of creativity. This imagination lends to exploring creative impulses and various ways of creative expression, be it playing make-believe, dressing up, making up stories, singing silly songs, playing sports, etc. As children grow into adults this spark and creativity can become covered over, dismissed and shunned. But I believe it is essential to reclaim and own our full expression as adults.
So what are some of the ways that we can move energy, express ourselves fully and bring more creativity into our daily lives as adults? How can we nurture the spark that we once had as a young child so that can bring more vitality and happiness into our lives?
Here are a few easy ways to start:
- Acknowledge that you ARE a creative being and that there are many ways to express creativity
- Explore the activities that put you into a “flow state” (sense of losing yourself in an activity or give you a sense of timelessness)
- Give yourself permission to be expressive and creative
- Create at least one time block in your schedule per week for creative exploration
- Track your energy levels before and after you do something fun, playful or creative and consider that this may be correlated to your overall sense of well-being
Three Powerful First steps towards a more creatively charged life
Some key aspects that I cover in my creativity coaching work with my clients:
1. Cultivate a deep listening practice
2. Create your creative life vision statement
3. Cultivate a creative growth mindset (approach your day to day challenges from a place of curiosity and possibility, rather than pessimism and frustration)
Emily Lewis, MA holds a Masters degree in Integrative Health with a focus in sound therapies and wellness coaching from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. As a holistic organizer and creativity coach, she sees the connection that our outer environment plays in our day to day energy levels and our capacity for creative expression. Her passion is to help others live more empowered and creatively expressed lives through achieving more balance in the mind, body and heart. For more information on her organizing and creativity coaching work visit: www.emilymaylewis.com . Emily is a singer/songwriter and just released her first album with Sweet Medicine. Listen and download here: sweetmedicine.bandcamp.com.