Moving Past Distractions to Create
Why does an artist write about other stuff, such as bullying, distractions, or planning? Well, as an artist, I am trying to apply my creativity to living a creative life, and I am trying to create via my writing and painting. I also teach, develop courses, and give workshops. I am trained as a clinical psychologist, and I coach. I am currently taking my certification in art therapy. The purpose of my blog is to share with others what I have learned from my own experience, work, and formal education.
When we are bothered by other things, distracted, discouraged, worried, even overjoyed, it is difficult to settle down to create. So, in order to get to that quiet place where we can create, we need to deal with the noise and distraction.
One way to deal with distractions is to paint or write our way through it. If you’re angry or upset, why not put on some loud music and make a series of gesture drawings to expend some of that angry energy? Or, if you’re worried or depressed, put on some soothing music and get into your pastels and do some tactile drawing in soft colours? Or, get out your journal and write about what’s worrying you? Or, go for a brisk walk or run? Of course, if you’re clinically depressed, be sure that you’ve also contacted your doctor.
Another way to work through distractions is meditation; there are lots of great free meditations on the Internet. Google “free meditations,” or visit YouTube. Find a book that covers the topic that applies; there are books on forgiveness, love, healing, and any number of topics that can help you to work past distracting issues that keep you from expressing your creativity. There are also support groups for various topics, such as for families of alcoholics (Alanon), alcoholics (AA), artists (Arts Anonymous), weight loss (Weight Watchers, Tops, Noom). There are support groups for people who have mental illnesses, and for their families. There are support groups for people who have had a Near Death Experience or other profound experiences. There are anger management groups. There are therapists, coaches, counselors, and clergy to talk to.
We have to do the work to get the results, and the blocks that get in our way can either stop us from moving forward on our creative journeys, or they can make us and our creative expression better. It is our choice how we handle distractions.
© 2019 Dr. Carla Weaver
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Thus, the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so, on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.(Bible, Genesis II).
The Book of Genesis describes how God worked each day to create the Universe and on the seventh day, he rested. A day of rest and rejuvenation and gratitude is important so that we can continue to create for the long haul. I do not think that it matters which day of the week we select as our day of rest. Some people work weekends and have a day off midweek. Various religions pray on different days. What is important is to have a day when we play, pray, rest, and have some recreation and reflection.
I choose Saturday. I work Monday to Friday, and by the time Saturday rolls around, I am ready for a break. I call it my sacred Saturday because I try to be vigilant about protecting that day for me. I try not to let left over work from the previous week leak into Saturday and I try not to let other people book up that time for things that I don’t necessarily want to do. I don’t make early morning plans in case I want to sleep in. I don’t make a long “to do” list of work or personal chores. I may choose to do some of those things on my Sacred Saturday, but only if I feel like it.
I try to do things like taking my Globe and Mail to a favorite coffee shop on Saturday morning or to a wine bar overlooking the ocean in the late afternoon, going for long walks, reading a book, having an afternoon nap, calling a friend, or going to dinner or coffee with friends. I invite friends over or go to the beach. I give my mind and body a rest from the pressures of the week.
We all need time to rest and rejuvenate so that we are ready to dive back in to a creative week.
(c) Dr. Carla Weaver
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Take Inventory of Your Relationships
Every so often, it is helpful to take inventory of our relationships to see how they serve us. Are they healthy, loving and supportive mutual relationships? Or, do they tear us down? Are we dealing with bullies? Do the relationships make us feel better about ourselves, or worse?
We develop many relationships in our lifetimes with people in our communities, at our workplaces, churches, sports and hobby associations, with friends, within our families, and with romantic partners. Not all of these relationships are positive and supportive, but we can learn from them all to become stronger, healthier, and more whole.
I once heard a minister in the Unity Church talk about distracting relationships – relationships that distract us from our purposes or our goals. These could be needy, addicted, or dependent people who divert us from what we would rather be doing.
A colleague and friend of mine referred to “shadow people.” When I asked her what she meant, she said, “You know, those people who are in the background making negative or critical comments all the time.” Negative criticism and sarcasm don’t help or inspire us.
Do you have bullies in your life? According to Merriam-Webster, a bully is “one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threating to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way, vulnerable.” Often, literature focuses on child bullies at school, but adults get bullied too. It often takes place at work, but it can happen anywhere, even at your church or arts organization where you go for support. Learn how to recognize bullying behavior, which is often passive aggressive rather than overt. It may be as subtle as undermining your volunteer efforts, ignoring you at meetings, or not responding in a timely or positive manner to deadlines for work. Make yourself aware of how bullies operate and assess whether some of the people around you are bullies. The overt bullying is more obvious as they call you names or harass you.
Who are the people in your circle who support you and encourage you? Who is proud of you when you do well, and kind and supportive when you’re down? Who offers constructive and supportive guidance that is helpful? Who sets a good example or inspires you? When you come home after spending time with someone, how do you feel? Do you feel uplifted? Confident? Comfortable? Loved? Supported? Or, do you feel depressed, unsupported, uncomfortable, or angry?
It is good every so often to take inventory of our relationships. Consider who is in your inner circle who shares your joy and is there for you in times of despair. Express gratitude for these relationships and nurture them.
I am not suggesting that you immediately throw away other relationships, but it is important to be aware of who is in your corner, and to set boundaries to protect yourself from those who are not in your corner. Set boundaries to stop bullying because bullying can seriously affect your health and sense of well-being.
You may find the article, How to Handle Being Bullied as an Adult by Patrick Allan to be helpful and informative (https://lifehacker.com/how-to-handle-being-bullied-as-an-adult-1726099137).
Learn from all types of relationships. From the challenging relationships, learn strength, courage, and setting boundaries. From the positive relationships, learn love, nurturing, giving back, paying it forward, and gratitude. Let all relationships inspire you to express your best self. If you need help recovering from negative or abusive relationships, contact a psychotherapist, psychologist, coach, or support group.
“You can’t force anyone to value, respect, understand, or support you, but you can choose to spend your time around people who do.” Lori Deschene (tinybudha.com)
Allan, P., How to Handle Being Bullied as an Adult, retrieved on July 7, 2019 from https://lifehacker.com/how-to-handle-being-bullied-as-an-adult-1726099137
Deschene, quote, tinybudha.com
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