Lose the Critic and Find the Creative Zone
This morning I was watching a painting video and it triggered that creative urge to get out in my studio and paint. It is such a luxury to spend the day out there or at least until I have satisfied that urge... What is it that you do to find that creative place, ‘the zone’ that replenishes serotonin in the brain, and just brings you a sense of great satisfaction?
Many artists talk about having an intention, or purpose when painting. I want to back it up a bit.
The Sacral Chakra
Where does that creative place begin? When I get the urge to create, I have found that writing, gardening and/or doing art in some way satisfies that for me. I have often written about the 2nd chakra or sacral chakra. This is the place of creativity, sensuality, passion. It is also about relationship in the creative or fecund way. But what if this is shut down? Many times, I have worked on people in Hands on Healing to open this center. Often it is closed, but occasionally it is the only chakra that is open out of the major 7 chakras in our subtle energy body. In that case, I would look for sexual addiction. This is a person who is using the energy of this chakra to express it in ways that are not healthy for that person. Sex is just one of the ways this ‘urge’ shows up. It can be channeled up through the body, and expressed in many ways. This is the vitality for life, what in Eastern medicine is known as ‘chi’. I also believe that when the 2nd chakra is open, this is the place that captains the soul’s purpose. What we have come here to do as a soul is often blocked by parts that sabotage us such as the inner critic or the judge which are parts that have nothing good to say to you about what you do and who you are. We all have critics; it is a matter of being in charge of them, not the other way around.
The Inner Critic
If I let my critic out in my studio, I wouldn’t be able to even get started on a blank canvas. Expressive, loose painting with no ‘purpose’ is a journey, a fun way to follow what inspiration comes forward with color shape and movement of these two things. It is a great way to free the soul, quiet the critic, and find pleasure in a creative activity. Children most often don’t worry about the end result of the art they do. They just do it! And we are delighted by the freedom in which they convey their emotions and thought on paper. We need to bring that back into our lives and just be n the moment inside a painting, a journal, the garden, music, or where ever else you get lost and time stands still. This is the magical place, the place I call the ‘zone’.
I shy away from purpose when it is translated as a goal. This is when I get stuck, when I feel the work must look a certain way or it has to match my vision. For many years I didn’t paint because it never looked the way I wanted it to. When I finally stepped out of that I had to begin with an abstract approach which never has to look like anything we see in life. I found that when I painted from the place of wanting to express the energy of the piece to convey a feeling, it freed me from the critic’s voice. This is very different than painting a flower, for example that looks like a flower. For me, if I get too involved in how it looks it serves to squash my creative juices. I know that some of you who paint realistically or figuratively may not have this experience and that is great. But so many of my past clients and students bring the citric with them before they even get started. In my past work as a psychotherapist, I almost always recommended the book, “Embracing Your Inner Critic” by Hal Stone. It is a wonderful book for taming the inner critic’s voice in any situation in life. In truth, this voice or part invades people’s lives in the most insidious ways.
Lose the critic with loose painting, big brushes, and a sense of play! One artist I know said, if you don’t make a mistake, you aren’t painting right. We can apply this to life. Mistakes are how we learn. So, whether it is crafting, collaging, cooking, or writing, create time in your life for it. It will enliven you in the rest of your life in ways you may haven’t experienced since you were a kid. So if I had to have a purpose, this would be it. Learning how to banish the critic is lesson number one in my painting classes! It can be channeled up through the body, and expressed in many ways. This is the vitality for life, what in Eastern medicine is known as ‘chi’. I also believe that when the 2nd chakra is open, this is the place that captains the soul’s purpose. What we have come here to do as a soul is often blocked by parts that sabotage us such as the inner critic or the judge which are parts that have nothing good to say to you about what you do and who you are. We all have critics; it is a matter of being in charge of them, not the other way around.