I used to hear phrases like “inner artist” and “your creative Self” and think they were just gimmicks to promote some sort of airy-fairy workshop in which people sat around and envisioned themselves floating like butterflies in a grassy meadow dotted with buttercups.  I pictured an otherwise bored and under-stimulated group of people sitting around a strangely garbed “guru” who spouted nonsense about limitless potential and cosmic bliss.  At some point in the workshop everyone would be encouraged to dance to the rhythm of their bodies, or grab some sort of clay or paint or crayon and make a mess.  And then, THEN, the guru would clap her jewelled hands to gather some sort of collective attention and suggest a group hug.  Of course, this would be followed by placing mats on the floor for a short re-connection with the earth…or a nap…

WAIT!!  I think I just described my typical day in Kindergarten!  I think I’m on to something here!  I DID go to “inner artist, your creative self” type workshops…only it was called Kindergarten and I loved it!

I loved my classmates, I especially loved my huggy-lovey-dovey teacher who made me feel like I could do ANYTHING in the world!  My friends and I flitted about the carpet area, arms (wings) flapping wildly and then we dropped to the floor when we heard the song call out a colour we were wearing.

I had so much fun playing with play-doh and dress-up clothes and I did enjoy quiet times on my mat, too.  I used to grab a book from the wooden bookshelf and settle down on my tummy and stare at the pictures.  My favourite was when the music teacher would come with her guitar and the whole room would vibrate with song.

Really cool stuff. 

(By the way, I’ve been in a Kindergarten classroom recently and they don’t do these things much anymore; Kindergarten is really academic now.  What I’ve described is probably seen in daycare/preschool  settings – y’know, for really little kids).

So then what happened?  Well, YOU know what happened. 

It happened to you, too! 

That little kid, that *gasp* inner artist, got stuffed deep inside this grown up exterior!  And I don’t know about YOUR *gasp* creative Self but mine gets MAD, RESENTFUL and FRUSTRATED when I ignore it.  I actually forgot it existed at some point along the way and couldn’t understand why I started feeling so trapped, bored and totally uninspired.

Everything went from colour to black and white, from fun to routine and I didn’t know how to get out of the box I was trapped in…until I started feeling that crazy urge to write.  So I started writing again in my journal, and jotting down bits of story ideas and character sketches that kept popping into my head.

HERE’S THE KEY:  I didn’t start feeling those urges or hearing those ideas until I spent a little time in QUIET!

For me, that meant the times I was breast-feeding my daughter.  I was forced to sit still.

And then I found myself buying oil pastels and I found an old (and mostly empty) doodle book I used to sketch in.  I used to like doing that, going to the beach by myself and stare out at the water and just doodle.  I always thought I must have looked like I totally knew what I was doing, which I didn’t and still don’t.  Oddly enough, though, I just think it’s fun to make marks on paper.  But I stopped doing that.

Not a good idea. 

The inner artist is a force to be reckoned with.  Ignore it at your own peril!  I KNOW when I have not let my creative self play for awhile; in fact, my whole family knows.  They don’t like it when I am annoyed, impatient and resentful any more than I enjoy feeling that way.

Appeasing my creative Self takes minutes a day.

For everyone, the release is different:  What do you think is fun?  If time or space were not issues, what would you do that was purely magical fun?  Can you think of 5 things?  Write them down in your journal or task binder if you can.  Is it totally unreasonable to fit a few minutes of one such activity into your day?  If finding the time is an issue, and you would like to figure out how to solve the elusive time puzzle, send me an email.  You can still enter to win the free coaching package (11 days left!).  See rules at the bottom of this post!