I just don’t feel like doing anything today.

Well, that’s not entirely true. There are so many things I could do, that I would like to do, that I should do.

Uh-oh. There’s that word “should,” and that’s what gets me into trouble.

As a self-employed entrepreneurial creative, my Mondays frequently start out this way. I’ve often had a busy weekend (this weekend, I presented at my first virtual conference and sang at a kirtan event in the suburbs,); and I have no fixed appointments until I teach yoga late in the evening. I have the whole day available and many, many projects and tasks to follow up on and complete to continue to grow my business forward.

And yet, I find myself sitting on the futon, snuggling with my kitty, listening to podcasts, staring at a very long checklist, deciding what to do first… for 2 hours!

And I wonder, “what is WRONG with me?”

Well, nothing is wrong.

Sometimes, we need that mental downtime in order for the creative brain to do whatever mysterious things it does to regenerate after some solid output.

AND I think it’s important to acknowledge when one of these “brain breaks” occurs and then make a plan for how to maximize what comes after (hopefully a period of inspired creativity and productivity!)

Here are 3 things I like to do to bounce me out of my regeneration mode and into creative flow:

InfuseStudioTwist1) I listen to something inspiring – usually a podcast from someone who really makes me feel like I can do anything.

Some of my favorite “fire starters” are Seth Godin, Danielle LaPorte, and Marie Forleo. Some of my favorite podcasts for this are Entrepreneur on Fire, The Accidental Creative, Smart Passive Income and Online Marketing Made Easy.

Bonus points if I can do this while going for a walk outside or moving my body through some yoga postures!

2) I chant some mantras. This is cheating by combining 2 strategies in one: music and meditation!

One of my creative passions is singing kirtan, sacred mantras set to music in order to evoke a certain energetic state of being and connection to the Divine. This practice can be an incredible source of fresh ideas and perspective. It gets the breath flowing through my body and stimulates my brain synapses in ways I wish a neuroscientist could explain to me!

(BTW, if you are in the Chicago area and want to learn more about opportunities to do this together in a group setting, go here!)

3) I start writing. 

It could be a blog post (like this one), a journal entry, morning pages (from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron)… really anything to get my brain into creation mode.

Usually by this point, I’m back on track and, even if it is already well into the afternoon, I can still manage to do the work that needs to get done and feel successful at the end of the day.

So tell me, what’s YOUR solution for the “I just don’t feel like doing anything” blues?

 

Discipline with Mary Oliver

The #1 challenge many of us are facing in our creative lives is finding time/staying motivated. I always have SO MANY ideas and then get frustrated by how long it takes for anything to come to fruition… or I get bored living with my idea before it ever sees the light of day.

I recently listened to an amazing interview with poet Mary Oliver by Krista Tippet on the On Being podcast.

Check out this excerpt (edited) in which Mary talks about the creative process AND/OR listen to the whole episode here.

Ms. Oliver: …as I talk about it in the Poetry Handbook, discipline is very important… The habit — I think we’re creative all day long. And if — we have to have an appointment to have that work out on the page. Because the creative part of us gets tired of waiting, or just gets tired. And It’s helped a lot of students…To have that meeting with that part of oneself because there are, of course, other parts of life…

Ms. Tippett: … And also when you write about that — the discipline that creates space for something quite mysterious to happen. You talk about that “wild, silky part of ourselves.” You talk about the “part of the psyche that works in concert with consciousness and supplies a necessary part of the poem—a heart of the star as opposed to the shape of the star, let us say—exists in a mysterious, unmapped zone: not unconscious, not subconscious, but cautious.”

Ms. Oliver: Where? What is that from?

Ms. Tippett: That’s from the Poetry Handbook. [laughs]

Ms. Oliver: [laughs] It’s been a while.

Ms. Tippett: It’s great. But you say — you promise — it learns quickly what sort of courtship It’s going to be. you’re saying that the writer has to be kind of in courtship with this…

Ms. Oliver: Yes.

Ms. Tippett: …elusive, essential, but elusive, cautious, as you say, cautious part. And that if you turn up every day, it will learn to trust you.

Ms. Oliver: Yes, yes, yes, yes. I remember that… That trust is very important.

Ms. Tippett: And That’s the creative process.

Ms. Oliver: That is the creative process.

So Mary Oliver, whose poems seem so effortless, advocates for the necessity of discipline. I’ve recently been disciplining myself to make space in the beginning of each day for creative input (more on that later) and output (rather than spending an entire morning checking & responding to email…)

The result is, well, this blog! It’s still a work in progress… Recently a mentor said to me, “Don’t wait until it’s perfect. Just launch!” So here it is.