Pleasure in Creativity

Mar 01, 2018

Pleasure in Creativity

I’m just back from Mexico and thankfully spring is in the air in Ottawa. If there’s one word synonymous with spring it’s creativity! On return I’ve been running into friends and colleagues, and there seems to be a common theme. Life is abundant and full. The saps running.

The stark change in the weather emphases that shift is afoot. And while our inner rhythms are not always in sync with what’s going outside, we can be intentional about allowing the season to affect us.

Living our lives as our best and most important creative act.

Creativity comes up so often with the people I work with. We think about creativity as associated with the arts – creating music, dance, writing, visual arts, but at the basis of all creative expression is allowing ourselves to be carried by inspiration. But please don’t feel left out of this conversation if you don’t have a specific artistic outlet. I’m a big proponent of living our lives as our best and most important creative act.

I often muse about where those first inklings of creative ideas come from – lyrics to the song, the agility and flow of dance, impulses for painting – the colours, shapes themes, the first lines of a poem? An impulse to do something that may be so familiar, but in a really different way? All these stirrings ask us to get out of the left brain with its plans and strategies, and surrender to the right brain mode where originality comes from.

You can’t “make” pleasure happen.

It’s the same with states of pleasure. I always say – you can’t “make” pleasure happen, just like you can’t make yourself come up with an original idea. But what you can do is set up the conditions that support and encourage creativity.

These conditions are the same for creativity and pleasure – intentionality and invitation, trust and faith that you will be visited by the muse; spaciousness that is created by the mottos of slow is fast, and less is more. Along with these is the willingness to deeply attune to the flow of expansion and contraction – the basic rhythm of both creativity and of life.

I regularly dip into Elizabeth Gilbert’s book on creativity, Big Magic. What I love about the book is how she weaves back and forth between two ingredients necessary for creativity – action and receptivity – other terms for expansion and contraction – “doing” what you can, so you’re ready for the spontaneous, and nurturing the state of receptivity – doing nothing.

Another thing that pleasure and creativity have in common is that they both really respond to being paid attention to!

How will you honour and appreciate your capacity for pleasure and creativity this spring?

Next entry: Pleasure as a Spiritual Practice

Previous entry: The Presence of Spirit in Moments of Pleasure

“Madeline offers a safe space to explore what it is that blocks our capacity to live in pleasure. She supports us to recognize our unhealthy associations with pleasure, so we can finally open up to that which provides real power, serenity and love.”

Benoît Cazabon, author, professor, and coach