Secret #4: Surrendering to Creative Cycles

I’m writing this post in my PJs from bed while the afternoon sun is shining outside. I guess I could call this a mini-down cycle!  Gail McMeekin’s fourth secret of Highly Creative Women is about surrendering to creative cycles and dealing with the void.  In coaching we call this the dip.  It’s that time when you may be feeling stuck, slowed down, discouraged, vulnerable, sensitive, or perhaps not feeling anything at all because you’ve numbed out.  It’s the low point, the darkness, the spaces in-between, the pause, the quiet.

For me, sometimes these dips can be really bleak and blue, especially when I let the inner critic run the show.  “Um, hello, get off you’re butt, you should be doing more!!!”  “Look at what everybody else is creating, you’re getting behind!”  “You’ll never be that creative or successful again.”

Other times, these dips are much needed respites after intensely creative and hectic periods.  That’s when I just allow myself to rest.  To spend a week not doing much of anything except reading, vegging out and indulging in self-care.  Typically, I’ll be very busy and productive for a month or two straight (with travel, lots of events and projects, etc.) and then the following month will be much more spacious and mellow.  In fact, I’m heading into a more calm month now after a whirlwind past two weeks.  Many times, my body will just tell me to stop and take a break (in fact, I hurt my back in yoga yesterday, so it’s another reason why I’m telling myself to just take it easy).

So, I am enjoying my quiet time this afternoon.  I treated myself to a massage this past Friday and I am looking forward to white space on my calendar.  I know that this break will give me the renewed energy and spark to continue on my creative path.

9 thoughts on “Secret #4: Surrendering to Creative Cycles”

  1. Time for rest and relaxation is definitely a part of the process. I am in that mode today…I have been sick a great part of this week fighting a bad cold as I prepared artwork for an exhibition in Philadelphia.

    After a whirlwind of 48 hours starting Friday night and ending last night renting a car, uploading my artwork, my sister’s and an artist I work with, driving to Philly, dropping it off, trying to make it back to DC before the car rental place closed and home in bed by 10 pm, I did nothing today but watch “House” reruns and veg out.

    I needed today to actually take care of my cold before it gets worse and strengthen myself from a week of stress and running around, even though those voices kept saying to me today, you need to do this and that.

    Very important…thanks for reminding me in your post today.

  2. I hear you Jennifer!! It’s especially hard I think when your profession is one that relies so heavily on those creative juices pumping. But, it is so important to remember that we are human-BEings and not human-DOings.

    I like how Leah and Jamie Ridler spoke on their last interview this past Friday about creativity having cycles…when we think of our own creativity in seasons, it is so easier to be less hard on ourselves.

    And if that doesn’t work–cry to an artist friend who understands! There’s tons of us out there that go through the same thing..but for reasons of feeling inadequate, are many times embarrassed to share. I think support makes a world of difference! I’m always here for you.

    Peace & Love.

  3. I appreciate the word dip. I am going to use it now. I am sending you love an light as you enjoy your dip. Thank you for sharing. Make your pj time yummy.

  4. It sounds like it is definitely time for a little lull in your life, especially after that injury in yoga class. I know when I start having little accidents, my body is shouting “Pay attention! Slow down!”

    Hope you enjoy some self-nurture time for rejuvenation.

  5. Ahh, yes, “take it easy.” It never ceases to amaze me how often I need to be reminded of this, especially because the rewards are so consistently great. Hope you feel better soon, and that you continue to relax into the spaciousness that stretches out before you!

  6. It’s nice to know that even other professions know and recognize these lulls, or dips. Thanks for the perspective!

  7. It is great to hear that others feel tired or not in top shape. Unfortunately many people are stuck in office 9-5 jobs which means they can’t take care of their needs first. Making sure people take care of themselves and stand up for what they believe and want is the most important step towards a more fulfilled life.

  8. Rest is one of the ways we get strong and stay healthy.

    In the past, I’ve gotten in to trouble by reacting to dips by being self-destructive.

    Now, I’m better at recognizing “feeling stuck, slowed down, discouraged, vulnerable, sensitive, or perhaps not feeling anything at all because you’ve numbed out” and finding respectful and healthy ways of being in that space — and moving through it.

    Santina: I have a 9-to-5 desk job but don’t consider myself stuck here. And I *do* take care of my needs first — one does not preclude the other 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *