Here is a definition of freedom:
You are living authentically, on track, and aligned with your true sense of purpose. You consciously connect and contribute in ways that give you life. As you relax and create, tapping into your inner guidance, you help to make this world a better place. Inspiration, passion, and creative flow states happen frequently with you. Often you find yourself dialling naturally to feelings of love and gratitude. You are in harmony. Your life is deeply, soul-satisfyingly fun. You embrace growth, and you feel purposeful and prepared each time you rise to the next creative challenge…
I think it sounds GREAT.
This is not only a definition of freedom; it’s a description of fulfillment and a life well lived!
What is required in order to establish and sustain the kind of experience I just described?
I think about this a lot – not just for the sake of my own creative process, but for the sake of the people I serve.
We are spiritual beings on a human journey; and while the spiritual part of our nature is one thing, the human part is quite another. Not one of us is perfect. Thus, living the definition of freedom above is NOT something that happens automatically for us without our conscious participation.
Each and every one of us has moments of falling down. Of course, the most important thing to do when that happens is to get up again. While we don’t wish low moments on ourselves or others, falling down can be really instructive. It can lead us to breakthrough – to learning to think new thoughts, embrace new beliefs, and practise new habits which support staying up for longer next time.
The good news is that you and I are designed to grow. We are wired to live aligned with our soul’s wishes. Sometimes we must learn this again, and again… and again… on the road to mastery. (I find this personally reassuring, especially any time I discover myself living an “again” moment.) 😉
An empowered way to invite greater freedom and creative breakthrough is to cultivate daily practices which are calming and vision-centred. These practices make solutions and next steps welcome.
Here are TWO relaxation practices which I have found really helpful over the years:
Practice #1: Relax and Create from the Mind of the Person in Your Vision
A) To work with this technique, you must first have a vision.
If you DO have a vision, then skip to B) and the video below.
If you don’t yet have that vision, I encourage you to create a clear picture of a life that you would truly love living. A great way to do that is to honour your discontent by first listening to it, and then allowing it (like GPS) to point you in the direction of greater joy and fulfillment.
Ask yourself the question, “What would I love?”
Write down what comes. Describe your life in the present tense exactly as you would love living it – and write your vision with gratitude. If you have done this before, it may be time to do it again, since your personal vision changes over time. Your vision evolves, just as you do. Keep it fresh. Consider rewriting your vision statement at the beginning of each new season.
B) Come from the mind of the person in your dream.
Imagine that you are living your vision. Lovingly tell yourself that you have already manifested your dream. Ask yourself: “How would I feel living my dream?”
Write down THREE EMOTIONS that come to mind, and generate those feelings as in your mind you see and fully sense the details of your vision. Feel those amazing, positive emotions. From this state, invite next steps and solutions.
For more on this subject, here is a very short video I made to help you relax and create from the mind of the person in your vision.
Practice #2: Go into the Silence
I love this expression. I discovered it while exploring the work of Unity co-founder, Myrtle Fillmore. For me, “going into the silence” leaves open possibilities for various practices, including (but not limited to) very specific meditation rituals. It also leaves room for explorations in hypnagogia, that “land of solution” state of relaxed attention, which will be the subject of an upcoming blog.
The links between relaxation, silence, and inspired creativity are many.
Cultivating at least one daily silence routine helps us to slow down, focus the mind, and connect with our Source of being.
I encourage you to experiment and discover which silence practices work best for you.
Years ago, I received formal training from a Korean Zen master who counselled me to concentrate my mind by counting breaths. The practice was a simple technique of counting backwards on each out-breath from five – to one – to zero, repeatedly. I still find the practice helpful in training my mind to be calm.
The best way to begin such a practice is to set your clock for short increments: begin by practising for two or three minutes, and gradually increase the duration. It is better to practice for very short periods daily than to sit less frequently for longer periods. With that said, any practice is better than none.
Some silence practices take place when we are in motion. Daily walks, being in nature, yoga, gardening, and martial arts are all activities which cultivate relaxation and set the stage for refreshed creativity and healing.
A few years ago when I was writing Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity, I discovered a book that inspired me to further explore the benefits of meditation. It’s David Lynch’s Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.
Why do I love this book?
For one thing, the author is a filmmaker and visual artist who decided to write a book on meditation. That got my attention. So much of what I stand for creatively is about not pigeon-holing ourselves into thinking we have to show up exclusively committed to “one official version” of ourselves.
I love that Lynch shares on a crucial and expansive connection between the creative process and the spiritual practice of meditation. I love his whole extended metaphor of ideas being fish, and each and every one of us swimming in a sea of creative potential. Meditation helps us to expand our consciousness and go deeper. This leads us to the bigger fish; and yet, the dominant tone of this book is not one of striving, but exactly the opposite. The book is about cultivating a practice that generates and sustains a sense of calm and trust in the process of living authentically.
Here is one of my favourite lines from a chapter called “Identity”: “The thing about meditation is, you become more and more you.”
To your flow and freedom, freedom and flow…