After coming back from work, after having dinner, after watching your daily quota of TV and when you are just about to go to sleep, do you feel that there is something missing in this picture? Some spark of creativity, something that breaks the mundane and makes you live rather than to merely exist. You remember a time when it was not like that; a time when you had rivers of creativity and potential coursing through your veins. Maybe it was during those college years, long past. Those rather carefree days, when you could sleep for hours when there wasn’t an assignment to submit the next day, where life was busy but it was satisfying, simpler times, when those little bursts of creativity added that essential spice to life. So what changed?
Well, you are not alone and I have been through these pangs of self reflection in the dead of night as well. I started asking myself, what changed in this picture? I was more creative during my college years but it was not that I was less busy. I was equally busy back then, but what was it that was killing my creativity after I started the job?
The answer that I discovered in 2013, which changed my life was – Hibernation.
- Hibernation – What is it really?
The common definition for hibernation is to curl up in the winter, get cosy and sleep. Yes, sleep does help in recharging us but hibernation is more than just plain, old sleeping. It is about resting the creative part in us and of consciously not being “productive” for some time. Sounds weird? Read on…
- What we can learn from Mother Nature
As humans we feel that we are somehow above nature but actually we are not. Nature does not produce throughout the year. It sheds its old skin and its old patterns in autumn and takes the whole of winter to hibernate, to reflect within itself, to rest its creative energies. Our energy levels follow similar cycles and we cannot be productive at all times without adversely depleting our natural, creative forces. Just taking a nap will not address the issue. We need to spend time, wherein we are consciously being “non-productive” and doing the minimal amount of creating/producing until we feel like being creative again
Our energy levels follow similar cycles and we cannot be productive at all times without adversely depleting our natural, creative forces
- Work life requires productivity throughout the year
We live in a goal driven society. Modern work life demands us that we be productive regardless of our natural productivity cycles. Even when we take a vacation, how many of us are actively planning every minute of our vacation? Checking off items to do, see and experience, as if it’s a goal that we need to achieve. Being productive, setting goals, getting stuff done, working on house repairs, doing chores and the list goes on
- The Writer’s Block or Creative Block
When our creative self has been taken through the wringer, without having had enough time and energy to renew itself, we hit a wall called the Creative Block, or as it is known in literary circles – The Writer’s Block. It is when we cannot think out of the box, cannot seem to get out of the daily rut, when nothing inspires us, new ideas seem to no longer approach us. But instead of listening to nature and to our body, what do we do? We push against this block. We brainstorm. Depending on the need for creativity, we either fill ourselves with coffee and do late nights or give it all up at the altar of suburban comfort and in the lusty embrace of the daily rut
- Some of the best artists hibernate
Nearly all of the best artists in the world choose to hibernate at some point in their careers; either out of choice or out of necessity. The more creative the form of art they practice the greater is the need to pursue the art of hibernation in tandem. Those who don’t, either burn-out, become sell outs or lose that “thing” that set them apart from the rest
Nearly all of the best artists in the world choose to hibernate at some point in their careers; either out of choice or out of necessity
- Few steps that I follow to hibernate effectively
I am no master at the art of hibernation but I have been following some practices, again, without goals or directions, just intuitively, since 2013. It has resulted in me finding my creative rhythm. Within 2013 alone, I started energy healing, drumming, camping and my psychotherapy education, all while having a demanding, full time career. Here is what I do –
- When I start feeling listless, bored or not interested in doing things that I generally enjoy, then I take it as a sign from my body to stop
- I get a few good nights worth of sleep. More than 8 hours if possible
- Apart from doing what I need to do in order to function, I spend time chilling out. I watch movies, go for aimless walks, sit in a park or just stare at the ceiling while lying in bed after I wake up
- I might get voices in my head telling me that I need to do this and that but I schedule those tasks if they have to be done and ensure that I have free time
- I indulge in soaking in creativity. I love music and movies. So I might watch a moving, artsy film or listen to a new track that melts my being
- This is also a time when I actively reflect upon my life; what is working, what is not working and what needs to change and how. But I do not indulge in goal setting right away. Just soulful reflections
I have discovered what makes my creativity tick and I had a long stretch of hibernating before I got this obsessive urge to create my website from scratch, and all on my own, get into blogging and creative writing and do all the stuff that I am doing today. It also helped me immensely in my day job, as I started developing new ideas for analyses and projects. I hope you find these steps helpful to reclaim that zing in your life and that spring in your step that you may have lost for the time being.