5 Principles for Living a Creative Life.
Sometimes creativity moves through you in the strangest times and places.
In the middle of the night, waking you from a vision of a dream, you open to the page and words fall out of you. In a soul-destroying meeting, you look down, and your pen has drawn an intriguing creation. Or on an aeroplane (where I am now) sleep-deprived, in between multiple time zones, but sprung into action, with a cheap but (hopefully!) caffeinated coffee by my side.
Artists say ideas and creativity move through them, a force that’s not their own, an enchanted creation that their humble human minds did not make up themselves. They say they were touched by the Divine, and they just happened to be open enough to catch it.
All humans are creative by nature, yet our conforming, repressing and mundane society rarely encourages true creative exploration. It doesn’t matter if you’re any good at creativity. That’s like saying you’re not good at being a human. Our creative expression is our true expression.
I am maddened by the pursuit of finding Truth. Since I started looking for it, my entire illusionary world slipped away, leaving me with nothing but the meaninglessness of existence. An existential crisis. Violent landslides, mirrors shattering, emptiness.
Although, since all humans are maddened by the pursuit of making meaning out of meaninglessness (we must to survive, or all that’s there is the void), I am now in the process of piecing together and crafting a new meaning.
My dear friend Andrea Balt advises, “Your life is your art.” I simply cannot think of another phrase that sums up creative living with more fundamental truth. To be creative, you don’t need to be a fiction writer of grand stories, chronicles spilling with tales and adventures.
To be creative, you don’t need to be a painter, seeing the world in a completely new way and communicating it with beauty through colored pigments. To be creative, you don’t need to a film director, a dancer, a singer, a poet, a potter, a sculpture, or work in a job with the word creative in it. Just know, you are creative just by being human.
So, why should you care if you’re creative or if you live creatively or not?
Because, creative being, living in a creative way is your true, most liberating way of living. Many of us are suppressed and depressed. If not all of the time, then some of the time. Creativity is healing, it’s therapy, and most importantly, it’s your one-way ticket from an ordinary life to an extraordinary life.
An extraordinary life isn’t about status, wealth, fame or crazy world-traveling expeditions. At its core, an extraordinary life is one where you suck out and absorb the most you possibly can out of this human living experience. An experience that we forget on the daily is a complete and utter miracle.
This forgetting is some sort of default in our evolution, in which we experience a daily amnesia of how extraordinary it is that we are even alive at all and how much overwhelming beauty there is in the world. Creativity takes you right to the source of this knowledge, to the point where you won’t simply just know it, you will feel it, you will experience it.
An extraordinary life is accessible to all of us, all of the time, through our mind. It’s in the way we think, the way we perceive, the way we view the moment.
While it’s all grand and merry to be blissed out from breathing and living, we all know that it’s not possible to be in that state all the time. That’s not humanity. Being human means experiencing darkness as well as light. Creativity is your guiding light in the dark, it will show you the way and teach you what you need to learn from this experience.
Of course all, a full creative life is never just about ourselves. Being self-obsessed is no way to live either, yet our society and culture is ingrained in individualism to the point where we may not even realize its extent, as we are unconsciously unaware of its impact.
To be of service to others to the greatest degree, we must first find what makes us come alive, fight for our aliveness, live out our desires, indulge in our passions. Find our creative inspiration, the creative energy that can run through our bodies and light us up, the energy that can break all of the shackles, that will set us free to experience aliveness in its fullness, in its extremes.
Creativity gives you access to the Divine. Forget everything you know about God, religion or New Age spirituality. The Divine means different things to different people. To me, it’s the intrinsic and marvelous mystery of existence. To some, it’s nature. To others, it’s in ritual.
I think we can all agree on the incredibleness of the universe (as we know it as this point of time in history). We don’t need the knowledge of where it came from. Who cares? It simply is, and it’s extraordinary. To me, the Divine is Life itself. Humans, since we are addicted to making meaning, will skew this into any way that best fits their understanding.
I believe all religions are fundamentally speaking about the same thing. Not a creator, not a savior, but of the divine miracle and love of everyday life, right here right now. No matter what you believe, be open to the knowledge of the wonder, mystery and beauty of it all. The Divine resides in every single sub-atomic particle, because the Divine is life, energy and existence itself.
Finally, before we learn about how to live a creative life, I need to highlight one last element, which is people, connection and impact. By stepping into your creative truth, you are freeing yourself, which creates a ripple effect and also allows others to free themselves. By dreaming a little bigger, taking greater risks, speaking the language of ideas, and following your own bliss, you will inspire others to do the same.
We all want and need connection, and know the importance of the wonderful people in our lives. What beauty can you gift them?
Making a greater impact is very possible for every single one of us. Many of us choose to do this through our professional careers, others choose to volunteer, some pour their love and care into their families. All you need to know at this stage is that by being alive you are making a positive impact on more people than you may know.
First, focus on your own creative awakening, then extend outward. Empowered people inspire change. While our world is full of breathtaking beauty, there is a lot of injustice and a lot that needs to change. If you want to be part of making the world a better place, first you have to believe it is possible.
Now, creative souls, delve into the core principles on how to live a creative life. Living creatively however takes some knowledge and practice, but is available to each one of us right here right now:
Principle One: Creative living starts within.
There’s no way around this one! It’s the fundamental pillar of living a creative life. You have to get to know your inner self. Your true self. Not the one society wants you to be, not the one it tells you to be. Or how your family perceives you. Or what you think you should do, be and have. This step requires a lessening on the grip of the rational mind, and an exploration of your intuitive self.
It’s confronting, and the practice is difficult. You will face resistance, you will uncover wounds, you will stumble upon darkness. But this is the most important thing you could ever do for your own aliveness. Spend some time alone and get to know exactly who you really are.
Who are you without your country, family, job, relationships, possessions? There are many ways and mediums to do this. The most accessible is writing. Grab a journal and a pen and simply start writing about how you feel. You’ll be surprised as to what comes out. List out all of your wild ideas and dreams. Write down all your ideas and philosophies about the world.
Writing is powerful as it’s completely independent. You don’t need to show or tell anyone, but you must be honest with yourself. This sounds easy, but you’ll be surprised at how difficult it can be. For example, what do I really want? What do I really want to spend my life doing? Why am I not doing that? What fear is holding me back?
Can I allow myself to take a risk, and follow through what I truly what, without knowing how I am going to do it? Am I living within the realms of comfort and conformity, or expansion and aliveness?
Principle Two: Find your blocks and release them.
Sometimes it’s not possible to follow your dreams. Creative living is not really about only living out your own dreams, as this is an individualist pursuit in itself. We all have adult responsibilities. But, it is possible, and important to living a full creative life, to explore these dreams, and consider believing in the possibility of them.
Our entire perception of our lives is based on what we believe, think and feel. It’s completely unique for every single one of us, which is extremely beautiful. You have complete and utter freedom over what you think and choose to believe. However, we all need to work out our blocks and uncover what’s holding us back, and this often requires some form of therapy.
Therapy is powerfully freeing and one of the best things we could ever invest in during our lifetime. If you are not troubled and undertake therapy, imagine how far you could propel forward. Our personal job is to find the kind of therapy that works for us.
For me, it’s journaling and writing. For others, it’s speaking to a professional psychologist — I have also done this many times and I think we all need to do this at some stage of our life. Going to therapy is a sign of strength. It does take introspection to go through your blocks, and is often a lifelong pursuit, as there’s no endpoint. Being human is a messy wild affair.
Principle Three: Explore knowledge, flow states and alchemy.
While it’s important to work through our past so we will be free in the present and have more open space for our future, it’s also just as important to get out of our own minds. This is the really fun part — not the looking-at-your-darkest-demons part. There’s hundreds of ways to do this. Absorb knowledge, read and learn. Lose yourself in physical activity, run, yoga, jump, stretch.
Find what makes you feel like you’re in a flow state. This will always be you doing something, taking action on something. What wholesome activity can you do alone that you lose yourself in for hours? For some it’s painting or writing, others gardening, some cooking, and for many it’s running or moving.
Not only will you be moving out of your individualist mind, you will be practicing creativity. Action sets creativity into motion. This process is also a form of therapy, it moves your darkness (which you are uncovering and working through with your choice of therapy), and turns in into light — this is the process of alchemy.
Principle Four: Be like the surrealists, living from the inside out.
How open are we really to our inner truth? Do you express your emotions, thoughts and feelings? We all need healthy ways to do this. Try different creative pursuits and see what you enjoy the most. The process of being creative should be a joy, a bliss. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you’re good at it, what matters is that you’re learning to express your true self.
Much of our selves are hidden under layers and layers of conditioned beliefs, thought patterns and over-identification with our minds. What do you dream about? Where can you release the grip on control and reality? What wild, crazy, insane desires take your fancy?
If we uncover our dreams, our deepest unconscious desires, our wildest fantasies, and live them out, we are guaranteed to feel we have lived fully, in all of our aliveness, expansion, passion and truth.
Principle Five: Art is in the everyday.
Throughout a creative awakening journey, worlds, illusions and prior truths are likely to fall away in landslides. What you once thought to be true, turns out not to be real at all. Reality is whatever we think it is. Everything is as real and as unreal as our imaginations decide.
Living creatively requires a dedication and practice of living from your soulful self every day. Not a phase, not a bout of creativity every now and then, but a way of living life wholehearted, dedicated to uncovering our truth every single day. The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. Is it with passionate truthful soulful conviction?
These five principles, the base of creative exploration, are enough to get started with a creative awakening and exploration of your own. As you travel through the various realities and worlds of creativity, you’ll uncover realms of possibility, expansions and aliveness. At the end of our lives, mostly people don’t regret what they did, they regret what they didn’t do.
I want to say I lived fully, I experienced life with courage, passion and soul. What about you?
Rhea James Fox is a passionate lover of life, actualizing dreams, writing and soulful explorations of the human experience. Her adventurous fevers have taken her on escapades across Oceania, Europe and Indonesia, but most importantly into the depths of inner, infinite worlds. She believes in living a full, whole, vivacious life by uncovering and living out dreams, desires and fantasies. As an empowered woman, she’s wildly spirited about equality, justice and liberty, and is most proud of her bad reputations. You could contact her via Instagram or email.