Seriously. Cloud nine one minute, then this. It’s partly creative ick, and partly spiritual work/shifting ick, but below is an excellent illustration of how ick of any kind does affect my creativity and why forcing yourself isn’t always the answer. {Actually I’m not sure it’s ever the answer.}

Painting it out DID NOT WORK. I could not hate this painting more. The colours are so gross! They really jar to me. Funny though that she looks pretty happy and free, so maybe I painted the truth – my real self with an overlay of ick (gross colours). Interesting stuff, this intuitive painting.

Goddess Leonie has written a post today about it too, so clearly it’s not justΒ  me. {This is quite comforting.} And although it kind of doesn’t agree with my personal feelings about ‘doing it anyway’, Connie talks about painting through the ick her way, here. And oh look! When I went over to Connie’s to get the link for it, I find that today she’s written about the same thing as me! Big epiphany, followed by big knock out of alignment. {I didn’t mention my epiphany cause I’m not really ready to talk about it yet.}

I’m so longing to get back into my painting groove, but you can’t mess with the quiet periods {see above for evidence!}. Also I am reading Twyla Tharp’s ‘The Creative Habit’ and am resistant at every page turn so far, precisely because she’s all about the routine, the ritual and the no excuses. I felt kind of bad about it at first, but then I remembered that we are not all the same, and that the fact that I don’t fare well within structures is totally ok and fine. There is a time to paint, a time to not paint and a time to bake cupcakes.

Here are some little things I do during an ick phase which can help to ease things up and distract my pesky mind/ego from being mean to me about it {a reminder to myself and perhaps something to help you kickstart if you feel icky too}:

~ Take the opportunity of spending time in the studio not painting to do tidying, clearing space, putting away and other such pedestrian tasks. Nature abhors a vacuum and studios abhor empty desktops, white paper and blank canvases. Once it’s clear, creativity will rush back in. (It will.)

~ Do things that are nothing to do with painting. Either entirely non-creative {I like to watch box sets of Charmed}, or creative but different, like baking. Baking really is a healing thing; I’m no cook but I can whip up a batch of cupcakes and I just feel better. Plus I get to eat them.

~ Go outside. Do not underestimate the power of some fresh air, some nature, and maybe a sighting of the sea if you are fortunate enough to live near it.

~ Reading. I love love love reading. I often put it off though til bedtime {where I tend to manage one page before passing out}, but in the spaces where I’m not painting or doing Reiki or whatever else I might be doing, reading is soothing and peaceful and makes space in your head. It also feels kind of decadent and naughty if you do it during the day. πŸ™‚

~ Talk to someone. I have various friends I email but rarely see, or friends who have unconventional schedules like me and can spend an afternoon over tea and cake. Whatever the format, talking about the ick can really help me regain clarity about how unimportant it is and makes it much easier to see the funny side. Plus if there’s someone else in the room you can discuss their stuff and not sit around dwelling in your own.

~ Remember that you can choose what to believe. If you want to believe that you’ve lost your mojo and now everything is shit, go right ahead. OR. Practice believing that this lull is actually an incubating time for something awesome. Your ego wants you to believe the former. Your heart/spirit/soul the latter. As my teacher always says, it’s not easy but it IS simple.

~ Keep walking through. The absolute last thing I am allowed to do in this state is be mean to myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t do it, but I remain vigilant and continually work to drop it and walk on, drop it and walk on, finding things to do or say to myself that lift me, and point me in a happier direction where the painting lives.

I’m off to bake some cupcakes. A painting is right around the next corner…