Shut Up and Dance!

Getting physical and improving is how we can continue to thrive among the living. Twyla Tharp, choreographer

In her new book, Keep It Moving, renowned choreographer, Twyla Tharp, 79, gives readers a piece of her mind writing, “Shut up and dance!” She goes on to write, “With the time you’ve got choose to make your life bigger. Opt for expression over observation, action instead of passivity, risk over safety, and unknown over familiar.” In other words, make the most of your life. 

One of the ten steps to help daughters move forward after mother loss in my upcoming book, Mom’s Gone, Now What?, is “Stir Up Your Creativity.” Another step is “Take Care of Yourself.” As we take these steps, we embrace what Tharp is suggesting—express yourself, be active, take a risk, and “shut up and dance!”

Affirmation: I am creative and take care of my body.

Coaching question: What risk, action, expression will you take to expand your life and make it bigger?

Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

Taming COVID-19 Anxiety With Creativity

Just make something. Todd Brison, author

In a recent Medium post, Todd Brison wrote this about creativity endeavors, “This is your space. You have complete dominion. Hope is found here. Peace is found here. Silence, too. Acts of creation cannot heal a broken past. They cannot repair a world of despair. They cannot guarantee future hope. However, they can provide shelter in a storm.” 

My research and personal experience tells me that what Brison writes is true. In fact, Step Four in MOM’S GONE, NOW WHAT? is “Stir Up Your Creativity.” Generally, people don’t become more creative in spite of tragedy, they turn to creativity because of tragedy. They use creative endeavors to calm the anxiety related to uncertainty brought on by loss…and, there is no doubt, we are experiencing a heightened sense of loss right now. Paint, knit, cook, garden, learn a language, color…stir up your special creativity to bring you calm as you shelter in the storm.

Affirmation: I find comfort in creativity.

Coaching question: How will you tap into your creativity? 

(I’m coloring – see photo)

 

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Use Creativity To Heal Yourself

Creativity is something that already exists inside each of us. It needs only to be uncovered. Gwen Coleman Detwiler, opera singer

One of the steps to recovering from loss is to apply your creativity. This may mean writing about your experience, tapping into the visual arts, engaging in dance or music to express your grief. You can also apply your creativity to establish a new or different life for yourself without a spouse, mother, or other loved one. 

To be human is to be creative. As we guard against pain or failure we block our vulnerability and creativity. Instead, be curious about your altered life and how you might use your creativity to express your feelings and explore new avenues for joy.

Affirmation: I am creative.

Coaching questions: How have you experienced your creativity in the past (think back to childhood if necessary)? What did it mean to you? What creative outlet will you use to heal yourself? 

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Embrace the Pause

When you pay attention to boredom it gets unbelievably interesting. Jon Kabat-Zinn, American professor

Friedrich Nietzsche referred to boredom as the “unpleasant calm that precedes creative acts.” Embrace boredom as a positive force. Think of it as the pause that makes magic happen. I claim to never be bored. That’s not to say I don’t have hours free of activity, conversation, or other stimuli. After a busy week like I just experienced, there is nothing I enjoy more than a day with nothing planned, a day to linger over a cup of tea, to read, to water plants. No time frame, no urgency, no goals. 

Routine chores like cooking or folding laundry can feel boring. However, we can reframe them as a time of meditation or the task that gives us a sense of achievement. Boredom isn’t about what you do but how you do it. It helps you rethink your relationship with the world. Embrace the blank page, the silence, the pause.

Affirmation: I embrace the pause.

Coaching request: This week, take a moment to sit with the silence, the boredom, the comma in your life. Resist the temptation to fill every moment—checking the weather, the news, Facebook. Let your mind wander and see where it takes you. Let the magic happen. 

On Being Silly

If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian-British philosopher

Sometimes it feels good to do something silly or at least appreciate someone else’s silliness. I took this photo several months ago in Goodland, Florida whose motto is, “We are a drinking village with a fishing problem.” They also have a Mullet Festival featuring the Buzzard Lope Queen. They love silliness.

Being silly isn’t particularly in my nature but I do appreciate a good laugh. I like Ludwig’s opinion that silliness leads to intelligent action. Silliness keeps our brain fresh, our creativity alive, our funny bone front and center. I’m looking for an opportunity to be silly. Any suggestions?

Affirmation: I can be silly.

Coaching questions: What’s something silly you’re done recently? How did it feel? What’s next?

 

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The Flow of Creativity

Harnessing your creative capacity can reduce your compulsion to consume–and enhance your joy in living. Quoted from an article by Dallas Hartwig and Pilar Gerasimo in Experience Life Magazine

We live in a society that promotes consumption–more things, more information, more experiences, more external approval. The more we consume, the less inclined we are to create; the less we create, the more inclined we are to consume. Creativity includes more than the obvious painting, writing, sculpting, etc. For you it may be creating an herb garden, cooking a meal, organizing a closet, or inviting friends to a book discussion.

Once we shut down the constant need to watch TV, play video games, shop, peruse social media and get into the flow of a creative pursuit, we will trigger a positive feedback loop that will inspire us to create more, leading to a greater sense of confidence and joy in our daily living.

Affirmation: I am creative.

Coaching requests: Identify a place where you mindlessly over-consume–TV, food, social media– then replace at least an hour of that time with a creative activity like writing in a gratitude journal, planting a succulent bowl, or making a new recipe. Improving your personal space also counts—like cleaning out a closet or decluttering the junk drawer.