Fuel Your Creativity Through Discomfort
What if I told you discomfort could make you more creative? Would you think I was crazy? Now, if you want to tell the difference between discomfort that holds you back and that which nourishes your growth and expansion, read on. It's time to fuel your creativity through discomfort!
Knowing the difference between these different types of discomfort allows us to regain momentum for projects and goals over time; it can teach us to use discomfort to reignite our passion and creative dreams.
Moving Beyond Our Comfort Zones
So being a thriving creative means that you have to learn, grow, and expand continuously. But naturally, this requires pushing ourselves into unfamiliar territories, such as dealing with people we don't know, having to say things we've never said before, and doing something we've never done before.
As humans, we naturally gravitate towards pleasure and safety. The problem with that is creatives cannot flourish unless we extend ourselves beyond the comfort zone. So this exercise that we're going to do can help us distinguish between the discomfort that stifles you and the pain that's a natural consequence of extending ourselves to become the creative person we long to be.
And so, understanding discomfort as part of the creative process can transform it from something that we want to avoid into something that ignites our passion.
Preparing for the Exercise
When you're ready, let's begin by simply closing our eyes. And as you close your eyes, I invite you to look into your third eye, meaning imagine that there's a third eye in the middle of your forehead.
This is the center of intuition, manifesting the perception of inner and outer worlds.
Imagine that you're focusing your attention on this third eye, no need to strain the eyes or cross them. Simply turn your attention gently towards this area in between your eyebrows.
Then take another third, deep breath in and feel that belly, feel those lungs, and hold on to it. As you exhale, see if you can allow your breath to be longer. Take it easy, just allow all of the air to exit your lungs slowly.
Take a deep breath in through your nose. Hold the breath and sigh it out, letting go of the day thus far.
When there's no more air left, take another deep breath in again. This time Imagine you're breathing relaxing, a beautiful energy that's moving upwards from your pelvic muscles, all the way up through your head through the trunk of the body. As you exhale, let everything else flow in the opposite direction. Then exit from your fingertips, exit from your feet. Let any tension, flow down like a river back to the sea.
Take another deep breath in. Hold it in this time and close your mouth, Breathe out through your nose, drop your shoulders down and empty those lungs until there's no air left.
On one last deep breath in, invite in calm as you breathe in, let it flow everywhere, spread everywhere, as you breathe out and let go of any remaining tension in the body and in the mind. Let it flow out of those fingertips like snow melting in the sun.
Keep your eyes closed. Keep your attention on that third eye. Relax through every breath you take. And if you need to, you can keep on breathing deeply.
Or you can go back to normal breathing. See if you can let each out breath relax you a bit more and only as much as you decide -- because you're in charge.
Remain in the moment and realize there's nothing needed right now, and you have everything you need at this moment. Settle in noticing any sensations in the body. See if you can let them be. If you find yourself thinking I should be doing this differently or don't like the feeling, see if you can acknowledge that judgmental thought and let it be without trying to change it.
When you feel you've arrived at this moment and feel relaxed, I invite you to consider an activity or an action that's come up for you recently, something you've had in mind but haven't attempted. It could be completing a difficult chapter in your novel, or difficult passage in a song, or perhaps a tricky bit of painting. Maybe it's simply decluttering your creative space or accepting an invitation to talk to a group about your art or music.
It can be anything big or small, something you've resisted. Trust whatever comes naturally; it's probably the right thing for now.
Now once you've chosen this activity to focus on, please hold it in your mind for several minutes as you continue to gaze with your eyes closed towards your third eye.
Visualise as best you can how it would feel to do this activity. What would you be thinking and feeling while doing it? Next, I want you to think or ask yourself what the possible outcome of this activity would be. Consider that potential outcome and what you'd be thinking and feeling once the action is actualized or completed.
Stay with this for a few minutes.
What would you be thinking and feeling once the activity is actualized or complete?
Now when you're ready, stay in this space. I want you to mindfully and gradually open your eyes then reach for your journal or notebook.
First, jot down the activity you chose to focus on.
I'm going to give you some prompts, and I invite you to record the thoughts and feelings you came across while holding that activity and the outcome in mind.
Here're some examples:
Keep going for 30 seconds. You can also just write freely.
I'll give you an example. I had a client that wrote this: "when I think about speaking to a Facebook group, I wonder why anybody would want to hear me talk about my art. I get really nervous in front of the group, and my hands get all sweaty. Sometimes I feel like I'm gonna faint. I think I'm going to make a fool out of myself. And, you know, I just want to hide under a table and disappear."
So keep going deeper. Be honest with yourself about your thoughts and feelings, even if they're negative. No shame. Fill at least one page up, two if time allows. I'm going to give you another minute to finish this exercise then we'll move on.
Of course, you can continue this on your own later. But what I invite you to do next is to notice what words or phrases represent the discomfort you felt during the exercise. Underline these words and phrases that describe the discomfort that you felt.
Now I'd like you to circle one word or phrase that resonates more strongly with you at this moment. I want you to ask yourself this question, "when I consider this activity, why do I feel this way?"
So whether it may be that the words are nervous, depressed, anxious, bored, tired, lazy, not enough, whatever it may be, ask yourself why you won't consider this activity. Maybe the action is writing a book or finishing a song? Why do I feel nervous or bored or lazy or whatever it is? And answer that question.
Questions to Consider
"Is this discomfort presenting itself because doing or completing this activity would put me out of my comfort zone?"
Yes or no?
"Will doing or completing this activity, move me closer to my goals or dreams?"
Yes or no?
Look at what you've written and answer the questions. And finally, once the activity is complete, would I feel a sense of accomplishment? Or satisfaction? So now we've got these answers.
We've got information that we need to separate. We need to find out if the discomfort we're feeling about an activity is the result of beliefs, opinions, or judgments that can't be substantiated by evidence, such as, "nobody cares, nobody will make a fool of me," etc.
But, where's the evidence of that? Can you substantiate it?
"Why would anyone care about my music? Or my painting?" Well, why wouldn't they?
You're implying that you believe no one would, but you have no evidence to support that.
This kind of discomfort is all about beating yourself up; this is the kind of discomfort you want to avoid.
The second type of discomfort is the effect of reaching your dreams and doing what you need to support your creative life. It comes from anticipating and entering into unfamiliar territories, such as the nervousness you may feel the first time you go on stage or speak in front of a group that you don't know. This kind of discomfort is to be expected.
And it's good for you, believe it or not, a discomfort that you should embrace. It's part of your creative life.
I'd like you to go back and look at your responses to those questions, look back at the writing, and take time to reflect.
Can you distinguish between the discomfort that serves you and the discomfort that doesn't help you?
Repeating this exercise, focusing overtime on different activities, can help you, especially when you feel resistant towards a particular activity or when inaction is setting in. That's the time to do this exercise and figure out what it's all about.
I hope this has been useful for you. If you found that you'd like more guidance or someone you can bounce ideas with, get in touch with me. You can always reach me by leaving a message on my Instagram or Facebook, the Dare to Be Seen Community, or simply go on my website.
Or book a call with me here: elisadinapoli.com/coaching-for-creatives. It's free. I'll be delighted to help you with your creative projects.