Create for the Joy of Creating

Do you remember the song that starts with, “Sing, sing a song”? One of the lyrics is “Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing a song…”  This song comes to mind today after a good friend and I were talking, and catching up on our lives. I shared about recently adding creativity as an important part of my self-care routine, and prioritizing it, doing something creative in the early part of my day to feed my soul and to keep my emotions flowing. This is important because I have historically sometimes pushed aside my need for creative expression in favor of working hard or taking care of everyone else. I have noticed that ignoring my creative self can be bad for my mood and my health.

My new addition of creative expression to my self-care means I must either watercolor paint, dance, make music, or do another art form if it calls to me that day more than the above favorites. This makes me happy. And my happiness spreads outward in all I do, including my work, my marriage, and my parenting.Ladybug

One of my creative outlets is teaching myself trombone. I had a feeling, with my small amount of experience playing fiddle and then stand-up bass, both fretless instruments, that trombone might be a good instrument for me because the slide seemed like it would be easier for me to feel my way into than an instrument with a bunch of buttons or keys. I have discovered that I tend to play trombone poorly when I am “in my head” or thinking about what I am doing. But when I bend my knees a little, and drop my awareness deeper into my body, around my hips and thighs, I am playing from a place of deep feeling, I have no idea what I am going to play, and it comes out amazing! My ability to do this seems to have to do with how relaxed I am in the moment, but alas, I have not yet made a connection between the logical side of my brain and the feeling side when it comes to trombone. Someday, perhaps, I will.

My girlfriend mentioned she would like to get into painting and she feels a lack of confidence in her skill, which seems to stop her. We talked for a while about why I paint. The act of brushing paint onto something feels goods to me. Really good. Whether painting a room a new color, creating a doodle in my watercolor book, or painting something big in acrylic on canvas. My friend agreed. Painting feels that way to her too, but she hasn’t done it in forever, partly because she has a baby and her family has just moved to a new city.

I told her there are many art forms I do because they simply feel good to me to do. I do it for me. I concern myself very little with how it will turn out or look. I do it because the act of doing it feels good. I dance with wild abandon to really good music, sometimes in public, sometimes when nobody else at the show is dancing. I probably make a spectacle of myself. But I don’t do it for others. I do it for me. When I paint, I also do it for me.

My friend pointed out that it sounds like trombone is like that for me. Yes, it is true. I play it because I need to and because it feels good. Someday I do hope to become consistently good enough to play for and with others with confidence, and maybe at that time I will find something I need to share or give to the world that can only be expressed via trombone.

In yoga, we can look at creativity as being expressed the most through two chakras (energy centers). The one I express from the most is the second chakra, the seat of our deepest emotions, our sexuality, and our primal creativity. The other chakra is the fifth chakra, the throat chakra, where the voice comes from. This kind of creativity usually has to do with speaking one’s truth and with what we uniquely have to give the world. I usually write from the fifth chakra, and it’s where I find words from which to lead a yoga class, and from where I educate my massage clients.

By the end of the conversation, my friend was inspired to either find her paints in the moving boxes or go buy even a kid’s set to get started with. And she will paint for the fun of it. And the more she does, she will probably become more confident. But either way, she will paint.

So sing, paint, dance, crochet, sew, bake, write, draw, play music, and “don’t worry that it’s not good enough.” Just do it.

Do it for you. Create for the joy of creating.

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MLK and the Navel Chakra

“I am concerned about justice.  I am concerned about brotherhood.  I am concerned about truth.  And when one is concerned about these, once can never advocate violence.  For through violence you may murder a murderer but you cannot murder murder.  Through violence you may murder a liar but you cannot establish truth.  Through violence you may murder a hater but you cannot murder hate.  Darkness cannot put out darkness.  Only light can do that… And I say to you, I have also decided to stick to love.  For I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go… [Because] I have seen too much hate…to want to hate myself…. Hate is too great a burden to bear…. I have decided to love.”  — REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

Yes!  That’s what I’ve been trying to say for years, only it comes out more like, “Can’t we all just get along?” when I say it.

In Kundalini Yoga, one thing I have been focusing a lot on lately is our power center, the third chakra (energy center), also known as the navel center.  When it is balanced,our navel chakra draws upon the Earthy, grounded, feminine energy of the  lower chakras and combines it with the cosmic, celestial, masculine energy of the upper chakras.  When our power center is out of balance, we are prone to power struggles with others, trying to dominate or avoid domination.  We may also suffer from lack of will power, or from greed, anger, or a sense of powerlessness.  When we balance this chakra, and draw upon the vast energies I described above, we feel a subtle sense of unity with everything.  There is no “Other” to fear or control or guard oneself against.   We can relax and be.  When people around us try to suck us into their turmoil, we observe them as having a hard time, but we don’t react to their button-pushing.  We can be more tolerant, compassionate.

So there it is, I’m changing the world, one belly button at a time.