Lately I‘ve been bored more often than usual. I've also been more creative and prolific than I have been in years.
This is not a coincidence.
When I look back, I know what triggered it. A couple of months ago at my vet's insistence, I so sadly had to put my beloved rescue dog Faro down.
About a week after having said goodbye to my four-legged best friend, I was having lunch at my kitchen table when the silence hit me. Faro was a quiet dog who loved nothing more than to curl up at my feet wherever I was. There was something about his constant presence that had filled up the entire house. The empty sound of my fork hitting my plate ricocheted off the walls, amplifying my solitary state.
Working from home during the day, when I wasn't answering emails or coaching or doing a media interview, I could usually be found outside walking him (it was never enough!). At other times I'd get out of my chair, stretch and start throwing his favorite stuffed duck across the expanse of the living room for him to fetch, shouting with laughter at his outrageously silly antics in response to such a simple game.
Now, I felt unusually lonely and bored. This was different from the grief that had been squeezing my heart. Sitting there at the kitchen table, I started feeling sorry for myself. But then something moved into the space. A tingle of excitement and possibility came when I recognized it. I remembered this emptiness, a sense of fully inhabiting the moment and every second on the clock dragging itself out.
This was the kind of nothingness that, years ago before I created this new career, would cause me to head over to the sofa, curl up with my journal, and write pages of thoughts, feelings and ideas.
This was the type of space that my writing/coaching/speaking/dancing business actually grew out of, when I was living in Mexico with long stretches of free time to read, think, doodle, dream and plan.
This was the empty place from which the greatest creativity of my life had been born.
Do you know the kind of deep quiet, the emptiness I'm talking about? When did you last experience it? Have you been longing to create or start something new in your life, but can't see to find the time to make it happen? You may simply not have been giving yourself (and your creative self) enough breathing space.
Since moving back up to Canada in 2009, I had hammered out my manuscript for Live a Life You Love on deadline for my publisher and I really hadn't created anything new of significance, other than the odd blog post. I periodically noticed I wasn't creating much, but was so busy with all the other stuff around running the business and life that I barely registered the fact and just kept going.
I also thought maybe I didn't have anything big and new to say, but what I realize now is that my artist just didn't have the space and opportunity to show up.
Does yours? If you could give "her" anything she wanted, in the next week, what would it be?
I seem to need to get bored and virtually empty myself and the space I'm in (both literally and figuratively) before my inner artist will peek her head around the corner and ask if she can tiptoe in and join me. The great thing is, once she comes out to play she seems to stick around, even when life gets busy again. That's been the case for me since that afternoon at my kitchen table - the ideas and insights and motivation started to flow and haven't stopped since, no matter what I've been doing with my time.
Now if you're thinking "but my living space is packed with people, and I don't have time or money to get away", here's my thought for you:
If you feel your creative passions whispering to you, or if you have a fabulous big idea that you've never been able to bring into reality, or you feel you're creatively blocked and have been for a long time, you might just need a little total silence and boredom.
Even if it's just for a short block of time, go somewhere where there's nothing to occupy your mind and hands. It could be a room in your house while everyone else is out or busy, a quiet space in nature, an empty coffeehouse in off hours, wherever. Leave the books, internet and other reading materials behind, hide the TV remote, get away from any kind of entertainment or distraction, everything and everybody. Just be by yourself for thirty minutes, an hour, two hours, whatever. Just let yourself be. You don't need to sit there and repeat any kind of mantra or follow any rules, just hang out with yourself.
Let it start to feel yucky and uncomfortable. I've observed that there's a sort of a wall of acutely uncomfortable boredom one has to pass through before the impulse to create starts to carry you along and out of the nothingness.
If and when you feel yourself or creative ideas start to flow, grab a piece of paper or a journal and start writing about what's unfolding. If nothing happens, don't worry about it and hang out in that space anyway. Do it enough times and you're sure to find yourself going somewhere. Even the frustration that nothing is happening is taking you somewhere.
It might not happen right away, but I've found that if you give your mind and spirit enough of these silent extremely boring breaks, breakthroughs start to happen. Inspirations will begin to move you into where your life wants to take you. Your creative life, whatever that means for you, that has been waiting all along.
You don't necessarily have to write anything down, but once you've initiated this process it's a good idea to carry a beautiful little notebook at all times to capture ideas, dreams and inspirations as they come. Practicing this can even be as simple as eating lunch by yourself without reading anything or talking to anyone, and letting your mind wander and watching where it goes.
You're not blocked. Maybe you just haven't let yourself get bored enough.
For more tips on awakening your creativity and how to systematically create a more fulfilling life for yourself, check out my book Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You www.LiveALifeYouLoveBook.com
If you'd like me to personally coach you past your challenges and obstacles and into a life you'll absolutely love, you'll find more information at Live A Life You Love Coaching .
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