Paintbrushes. Vocal exercises. Camera lenses. Every creative, regardless of medium, has tools that are essential in bringing their inspiration to life. Without these tools, their work would cease to exist.
The same can be said for our personal tools, the things that help us stay clear on our goals and keep us in touch with our feelings. I have a small arsenal of tools that I have been using for years that help my creative truth remain at the top of my mind all year long. I have found such tremendous success with them that I want to shout it from the rooftops! But since it’s a cold day in Manhattan today and you might live on the other side of the world, a blog post will have to do.
Tools are most effective when they are well organized, so I have separated these into three categories – body, mind, and spirit.
When you are grounded and in your body, you will find that creativity is better able to flow.
- Embodiment Work
Embodiment is the practice of attending to your sensations. When I feel aware and supported in my body, I feel more in charge of my life. Taking a few minutes to move my body freely and in a way that feels good and brings me joy helps to release all of my pent up emotions. Diffuse essential oils or light some incense. Do a short yoga flow or listen to something you find personally powerful. If you are feeling emotionally locked, I encourage you to take a few minutes to do something that taps into your senses.
- Williamson Technique
I learned about this in acting school and it’s been one of my go-to tools ever since. The basis of this technique is that an actor’s every moment must occur in the entire inner physical life of the actor’s body. In other words, the body is the channel through which the actor’s art must flow. This technique also helps to release stored emotions in the body. I’ve always felt it really loosens my spine which leaves me feeling more open and energized.
- Voice Work
I took a voice class while studying acting a few years back. We learned to hum 3 notes on the syllables “huh-huh-maaaaah” as we connected to our vocal chords and our bodies. Then, our instructor would ask us to think of the words “I Am Me” as we hummed those 3 notes. At first it was nonsensical, but over time, it started to take on a deeper meaning. Those 3 words have continued to stick with me and I now associate singing/breath work with getting in touch with the deepest parts of myself.
- Singing- It’s always held such a special place in my heart. It’s one of the most powerful ways of expressing myself and leaves me feeling so free. Name a time you’ve felt more uninhibited than singing in the shower when no one was listening. It’s such a beautiful feeling, being as much “the real you” as you can possibly be.
- Breath Work- Practicing breath work in school was always about free breathing, resonance, and the release of tongue and jaw tension. Did you know so many of us hold tension in our tongues?! Releasing that tension can unlock so many emotions that we’ve been hiding away and help us become more open and vulnerable.
I don’t know about you guys but sometimes I have no more room in my brain for my thoughts. There’s something very therapeutic about releasing everything that’s been on the mind. To settle the clutter that tends to collect in my brain, get my thoughts out or just make sense of them, these 3 activities are effective every time.
Enter another testament to my love of journaling. I know I talk about it often, but it has been super impactful for me throughout my creative journey and I think it’s important to share that. I started my journaling with Katie Dalebout’s journal book and Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way Morning Pages. During my time in acting school, I began to really tap into my personal feelings and point of view about things. I would journal all of these thoughts after class. My journaling experience continued with the Journaling Compendium by Aimee McNee. I journaled through her prompts frequently. All of these resources made journaling a pillar in my creative process and I would recommend any of them to someone looking for a more prompted approach to getting your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper.
- Pulling Cards
If I’m feeling blocked or confused, I often turn to some intuitive card decks I have. Anything by Kim Krans is generally a hit with me. I’ve always felt that pulling cards helps guide me closer to my personal truth. Making this a regular practice has helped me learn to trust myself and my instincts. If you’ve never done this and are intrigued, I encourage you to try it with someone qualified who you trust. I don’t think there is a wrong way to do it. It can be a lot of fun.
- Talk Therapy
Of course, there are times when it feels good to lean on close friends and family to vent or work through feelings and you should definitely keep doing that. But there can be a tremendous opportunity for healing when you work with a professional. Therapy can help you better understand where negative feelings or emotions are coming from and why they might be there. Understanding is the first step towards positive change. Thankfully the stigma around therapy and prioritizing mental health is slowly changing for the better. There is no shame in getting professional help and you might be surprised by how effective it is.
Tending to our spirits can be a bit of a tricky proposition, as we all approach our spirituality differently. I understand and respect that not every tool works for everyone, but these two have been especially enjoyable for me when trying to get in touch with myself on a more spiritual level.
When it comes to astrology, there are many different components you can dive into. I am personally intrigued by moon phases. The phase the moon is in at any given time can have a HUGE effect on your life, mindset, and mood. Right now, we are in the First Quarter moon phase which signifies decision-making. Having this knowledge helps me feel better prepared to take control of my life and be ready for any challenges that might come my way.
- Human Design
The purpose of human design is to help you discover what makes you unique. It can provide insight into your psychology and strategies/techniques to help you find more ease and fulfillment in your life. There are 4 categories of human design: Manifestors, Generators, Projectors, and Reflectors. I am a Manifestor, which definitely suits me. We are known to be very powerful beings, but we also tend to burn out very quickly. Learning about your category can help you better understand how you think, feel and approach your life, personally and professionally.
As humans, we tend to exist in a dissociative state where we live almost completely in our minds and not in our feelings. But feelings birth creativity! I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your feelings at the forefront of your process. I hope that you are able to incorporate some of these tools into your routine in order to do that, challenging yourself to step out of the box and try something that’s new to you. I’d love to hear from you. Let me know which tool you’re going to try or report back afterward and let me know how it went.