I find I’m at my most creative after a holiday or a getaway of some sort. I guess that’s why I first became interested in travel writing. I realised that some of my best writing came to me in dark plane cabins in the middle of the night during onward journeys, or while on a bus from one unknown town to the next. I’d get out my notepad and pen and be pulled to write, hurriedly jotting down my thoughts before they floated away, never to be seen or thought of again. During vacations and trips away, we switch our minds off from constant chatter and online distractions and we’re able to tap into creativity. It’s like a radio frequency that becomes clearer the further away we are from distraction.
Just over the past Christmas period I spent the week on Fraser Island, off the coast of Queensland, and with the only form of technology available to me being a walkie talkie radio in the 4WD, I really got the opportunity to switch off from outside distractions. No Facebook, no news sites, no Instagram, no worrying about how much writing I did this week, or how much work had piled up for me. It was just me and the sea and a week full of activities spent with loved ones. One night while the group I went camping with were sitting around the campsite, chatting, I hurried off to my tent, eager to jot down a thought that had grabbed my attention during the day. It just poured out of me, and I found the longer we stayed on that island, the more I was pulled to be creative. What I wrote down was a memory. A memory I had of myself as a child, sitting in the back seat of the car, annoyed at my parents for not letting me dangle my arms out of the window.
“Come on cars! Do to me what mum always said you would,” I would mock from the back seat of the hatchback. “Rip off my arms, decapitate my head and leave me broken and bruised.”
I’m not saying for a second that that piece of writing was any good, but it was about two pages of memories that probably wouldn’t have come to the surface of my subconscious had I not given myself time to sit still and be with my own thoughts.
Famed author and travel writer, Pico Iyer, says sitting can give him more excitement than a trip to the Himalayas or Cuba. That sitting still gave him the ability to take leave from his life, avoid distraction and find out what his true calling was. Wise people have been telling us to do this for centuries, for thousands of years even, and Pico says that while an experience can take a moment, a few minutes, a few days, what we can do with those moments in our minds, how it can be processed by our thinking, well, that can take a lifetime.
Sitting still, daydreaming and allowing our minds to get carried away by fantasy thoughts can have an incredible impact on our creativity. The distractions and exhaustions of everyday life are killing creativity. But that connection with the self and our surrounds, well, that can have a magical impact on how we open up and create. That’s where yoga comes in, too. Yoga helps us to bring up dormant emotions, sit with our own difficulties and open up any emotional blockages we have. We breathe through any discomfort we feel, we are faced with the reality of our own selves and we are encouraged and nurtured through transformations. “Creativity is like an endless stream, always flowing,” says MC Yogi. “Thanks to yoga, everyday I feel myself becoming more and more equipped to harness that creative power.” It’s that creative power that we creative folk (and, by the way, we’re all creative folk) need to harness to get the most out of our days, our experiences and our lives.
By some cruel contradiction, I found this great quote by Luka Lesson written on his Facebook page today, of all places:
Write it. All of it. Don’t be scared of what people will say. Make them realise their potential when they see you realise yours. Write it. All of it.
Learn more about marrying stillness and creativity during a retreat I am co-hosting in March called Intuitive Reconnection – A Yoga Retreat for Creative Types. Otherwise, let me know: How do you reconnect with your creativity? I’d love to hear all about it!