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Getting Lift Off – Finding Your Altitude and Correcting Your Creative Course
Sometimes creatives get stuck. They remain grounded when they want to soar. They remain stagnant when they want to flow. They remain shackled when they want to be free.
This inertia can come in the form of writers’ or artists’ blocks, chronic procrastination, being caught in vicious cycles of negative habits or ineffective patterns of behaviour, meandering off course and losing our way, as well as an inability to take creative risks and embrace opportunities even when they are offered up on silver platters. Most of the time this lack of progress stems from our own doing or our own internal scripts that somehow deem us unworthy of attainment.
Over the years as an editor, mentor, ex therapist and also a self-confessed journeyperson who has encountered her own series of inner and outer obstacles, I have heard people describe their experiences in the following ways, all of which exhibit an astounding similarity in the symbolic imagery of the subconscious mind:
- I feel like a majestic eagle waiting to soar, but am chained to a boulder on the edge of a cliff. I can see magnificent mountains, valleys and forests and oceans spread before me, but can only flap as high as the chain allows me and not beyond.
- I am a princess locked in a stone tower. There is no way out. Through a small window, I can see a beautiful view of bountiful lands and seas, but I am trapped.
- I am a bear that has been in hibernation. I have woken up and tottered to the edge of my den. Before me I see a vast natural landscape, but I am too scared to move beyond the safety of my home.
- I am a pot plant constrained by my canister, and cannot grow into the strong, lush fruit-bearing tree I know I really am.
Whether these trappings are self imposed or enforced by our associations with other people who seek to prevent us from getting lift off because of their own insecurities and perceptions, there is a tremendous sense of anguish when we feel we are not living up to our full potential.
So here are 7 tips to help you accelerate your individual take off process and to get you to cruising altitude so you can stay on course with your creative destination:
- Identify your core values and align everything you do with them – Choose about five or six values that represent your essential self, and then filter your activities through them, so they remain central to everything project you undertake and reflect who you are. This includes your creative practice and the message you want to communicate through your comics storytelling. Here is a starting point: http://corevalueslist.com
- Declutter your life – Keep this key phrase in your mind when it comes to decluttering: “Simplify and subtract!” The five areas you need to focus on are: relationships, inner self, environment, health and finances. As you organise how you think and feel, as well as figure out what and who you do want and need in your life and discard the rest, you will move from a state of stagnation to one of advancement and evolution. All of these factors point to the importance of practising and maintaining self care.
- Retreat into silence – Meditation and mindfulness practice is crucial. Sometimes it is wise to go “underground” so to speak, so you can clean up your messes, as well as recalibrate in order for renewal to take place.
- Identify your calling and remain focused on your vision – Ask yourself, “As a comics creator, what am I meant to achieve in the world?” Then figure out your creative goals and the steps you need to take in order to realise them. Set up a vision board to keep reminding yourself on a daily basis who you really are and to bring the future into the present.
- Align yourself with an accountability partner – This can be a friend, colleague, therapist, mentor, or creativity coach. Give them a short and long list of the things you want to achieve and the dates in which you want to achieve them, and then report your progress to them to keep yourself disciplined and on course.
- Focus more on what you want in your life rather than what you don’t want – It’s okay to whinge and whine every now and then, but don’t make it a daily practice. Anger and frustration are powerful emotions that are meant to flow out of rather than remain trapped in the body. However, if you focus on the things that go right and life’s little gifts you will find yourself attracting more of the same good fortune. How wonderful is it when a spontaneous discount or a special offer comes your way or when you encounter a fabulous piece of good luck! Record these happenings in a gratitude journal and experience the wonderful feelings of abundance and happiness that come with it.
- Practice consistency – This is all about energy management, so you can develop stamina. Abandon the “all or nothing” attitudes and behaviours, and instead take small consistent steps so you can stay focused and avoid burnout or overwhelm.
When you have brought yourself into alignment with your creative calling and are on the correct course, then life will provide you with a series of clues or markers to the effect. Pay attention. These can come in the form of:
- Manifesting opportunity and money
- Gaining extraordinary clarity and wisdom
- Increased productivity
- Achieving a feeling of stillness, of time slowing down, and being connected to the world
- Experiencing surges of powerful and positive emotion (even tears of joy and relief!)
- Having seemingly boundless waves of natural energy on tap
- Experiencing evocative and affirmative waking images or dreams, rising up from the subconscious
We are all works in progress and it is important to keep evolving or else we falter and start to lose our brightness. So if you are that majestic eagle then cut those chains off and soar. If you are that princess in her tower, then chisel away at the bricks and stones until you have created a hole big enough for you to escape. If you are a bear who has just woken up from a long hibernation then step out of your den and descend into the beautiful forest. Breathe in the scent of pine, walk amongst the leaf litter and the wild flowers, and let the remnants of your fear wash away in the babbling stream.
© Julie Ditrich, 2016