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Creativity, Christmas and Recharging

December 13, 2013

Christmas is upcoming at my house.  And with all the things to be thankful for to God and people, and looking forward to seeing kids and friends; for many of us it also signals the end of a year that may feel like it went on forever.  In the spirit of Christmas, this blog is meant to be a gift to anyone who feels like the last year(s) has been a marathon and they need some new creative options, in addition to a rest.

Maybe this afternoon, you’re feeling like you’re working as hard as you can to cross the finish line, the year is ending, but you haven’t won anything.  In fact maybe it feels like you are late to the finish, all of the concession stands have packed up, the fans have mostly left a long time ago, and the time-keeper isn’t there.  It’s just you, your tired body and your watch.  Maybe you even feel like you’ve left various body parts on the course in the process of getting here.

Recovering from all of that is what this blog is about.  Before I get started, stop and take a breath and listen inside for a moment.  Listening to your insides has probably been put on hold for so long that it will take you some time to reconnect.  Sometimes you can get there with a good question, like “So what is really fulfilling for you?”.  Sometimes you have to catch it in the way you breath, the sigh you make, the sense of flow versus push.  That voice, that recognition is there inside somewhere.  I’ve got a couple of tips to help you find it, just keep reading.

As you stop or pause to reconnect with yourself, one thing I would like to suggest is that you gift yourself… with something quite specific. Yea, sure, have fun with getting or giving whatever is on your list, but this is something different.

I’d like you to give yourself the gift of being actively creative in your best interest.  I am requesting that you help yourself… in a creative way. Got that?  Help yourself resolve, instead of carry forward, what you have been shouldering plus change the mix.  I’ll explain both in a moment, but first you’re going to need to fire up your creativity, because it’s probably partially blocked by 101 and one things.  And you’re going to need it.

How do you fire up your creativity?

There’s some great ideas in Leo Widrich’s blog: http://blog.bufferapp.com/why-we-have-our-best-ideas-in-the-shower-the-science-of-creativity.  So let me pull just two take-aways from his research that you (and I) can use.

1. Stop and Listen. We’re all creative, we just need to stop, relax, listen and record when we’re having a creative thought.  One of the best ways to stop and listen is to disengage from decision making and/or interaction (including watching TV), might be while you’re in the shower, working out, etc. and then listen to what your brain comes up with.  By-the-way the relaxing part really helps get more Dopamine going in your brain, which fuels the creative connections.

2. Plant a seed.  Some of your best creativity can emerge if you will plant a thought or series of thoughts in your head, do some research, write up an initial outline, draw a diagram, set a goal, and then distract yourself with less challenging “clean-up” tasks.  Or go to sleep and let your sub-conscious work on it.  But regardless, give yourself a break before you come back to the task you want to address creatively. Basically we all need to let our brain have a break, a relaxing mental break, between starting and completing a task (like taking better care of yourself) requiring creativity.

OK, still with me?  So back to the task of wrapping up the marathon and what recharging looks like, and no, hitting the parties or visiting your in-laws probably won’t do the trick.

So, there are two parts to this gift of recharging you’re going to give yourself for Christmas.  They both involve your creativity, because you’re likely going to need to do something different, maybe a lot different than you’ve been doing for this year of 2013 to make it much of a gift.  Big and different.  Impactful.  Not the usual you.  Outside of the box.  One step beyond “Oh you can’t do/afford/be that.”  Your gift needs to be in that zone to do the recharge thing.  So now that you know what we are aiming for, taking good care of your self in a way that changes the game for you inside, let’s go over the two areas I’ve found work the best.

1.  First Resolve the Burdens, the frustrations, whatever those gotchas are that come up in your head when you relax and let your creativity start to roll.  You maybe able to resolve them with other people, through being assertive, making new requests, apologizing, etc, but in addition, or maybe its your only alternative, you need to resolve them inside.  One way I’ve found to do that, is to creatively change how you respond to the memory and emotion connection.  The biggest gift you can do for yourself here is to do something positive when prompted with the memory.  What?  That’s right resolve the problem, creatively break the memory and negative emotion connection by repairing the memory with a positive action.  Example:  when you remember something that happened this year that bugged you, use it as your prompt to go do something positive for someone, send a note, make a call, smile, offer a prayer.  Use every time you’re reminded of those burdens as a reminder and prompt to do something really wonderful.  Use your creativity, you’ll figure it out, and what a transformation, right?  You’re going to feel elevated.

2. Then Change the Mix.  Remember Eistein’s comment about the definition of crazy is to do the same thing and expect different results?  I want you to apply that to yourself.  Be good to yourself and change the mix you have going in your life so that it is more fulfilling for you, so that you do more things that take care of you inside… even simple things.  Use this year as a backdrop and start changing the mix over Christmas as a gift to yourself.  BTW if your “change the mix” plan has “work on it” activities, like exercise, lose weight,  and other tough, but good things, be sure to pair them up with non-strenuous positive gifts.  Example find one song you really like each week and buy it and add to your mobile and pc devices.

Bottom Line:  Most of us need to actively recharge as we wrap up the year.  Recharging involves both resolving and releasing burdens and changing the mix so we have more positives.  And it all involves doing it creatively, doing it different than you’ve been doing up to this point in 2013.  Thanks for your tolerance in letting me get in a blog where the shrink in me popped out.  Actually kind of fun.  Hope it was good for you.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.



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