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Creativity Rituals

creativity rituals

Before I sit down to my creative work, I have unintentional creativity rituals of preparation. “Just start” is, it seems, not an option. My rituals vary according to my environment, my mood, my mental clutter and my misgivings about what I am about to do.

I will smooth the wrinkled bedspread, close the closet door, freshen my beverage, sometimes comb my hair. I may look in the mirror and question what has become my life’s work, my unrelenting drive to study and dissect, to rip apart the threads of the creative process and stitch them back together in a way that makes sense to me, to others. Smoothing the tangled way, so to speak.

If there’s a basket full of laundry in the room, I will fold the newly washed clothes and put them away. Sometimes I will clear my desk in order to clear my mind. However, at other times, it doesn’t bother me. Strewn upon this desk right now is a visual array of what is in my head, clues and notes and ideas that need to take form outside of it – the straw I will spin into gold.

I used to think all these delays were a way of avoiding my art,

a sign of fear or whatever, substituting meaningless tasks to keep me from the meaningful ones. Back when my creative time was quite segmented and limited, I felt compelled to fold the laundry before indulging in what felt like the secret affair I was having with my art. I would finally be alone, my husband taking the kids out for a couple of hours, four or more if I was lucky, and every.single.time I would begin this stolen time by procrastinating with some household chore, as if I had a duty to serve before I could indulge in creative pleasure.

At that moment I wanted more than anything to create. I had the time, the freedom, the inspirations, materials and know-how, the plan, the deep, deep desire. So what the f* was going on?

I came to realize that these delays were a form of transition.

I was bringing order to my environment, my space, my mind and spirit through the use of my hands. Repetitive, methodical, actions to calm and clear myself. I was not avoiding, I was preparing to create.

Some light a candle. Others say a prayer, meditate or summon the muse. Some dive right in.

I fold laundry.

I didn’t set out to create this transition, a segue from my busy, multitasking mother-mind to a focused artist flow. It happened organically.

After five days away from my studio, I was eager and excited to get back into flow today. As I paused to straighten the wrinkled bedspread and tended to a few more seemingly meaningless tasks before heading to the studio, I smiled at the realization that the transition had begun. I was about to begin a gloriously uninterrupted creative day.