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  • Writer's pictureLeela Kirloskar

Accessing Your Creativity

I’m sitting in the November afternoon sun, at the local Starbucks ten minutes away from my little studio apartment in Berkeley. On offer today is a fresh pumpkin scone, glistening with raisins and topped with a smooth snowy layer of sugar. I’m smiling as I bite into it, washing the sweetness down with hot chamomile tea, uncaring about the calories that (I hope) will be burned on the way back up the hill. It reminds me how much I love baking; the sight of seasonal fruit and spices has always made me look up the nearest go-to recipe for pie and cake. One entire winter in Delhi I made moist saffron butter cakes topped with glistening apricots and chopped roast almonds drenched in honey only because I’d been gifted a huge carton of fragrant Spanish saffron that Diwali and my pantry was stocked with lots of plump dried apricots and almonds. It was such a fun project and made many tummies happy with the goodness of it all. The memory makes me wonder now about other ways to enter and stay with that feeling of flow and creativity, that lightness of being.

I’ve stayed with that feeling of curiosity all week, experiencing its felt presence and how it allows me to show up and act. It’s a shape for me that has a boldly expansive essence that takes space easily and effortlessly; it’s a fun, fizzy, focused effervescence; it’s a feeling of hyper awareness of my length, width, depth and centre; it’s when I’m at my most creative and it’s when I can be powerfully productive and easily playful. It’s a place from which I always feel deeply and lightly connected, to my inner self and the outer world. From where I just know – what to say and what to do and what will work – without having to think about it. Along with the bounce, I am optimistic, hopeful and joyful, and that’s how I meet my world. I would absolutely love to be able to tap into that shape more often. Wouldn’t you?

So it got me wondering about what brings it on for me and I shared that with my coach a few days ago. She synthesized it beautifully like this: connection and contribution, that’s what matters to you. In other words, that’s what makes me tick. As I walked home that day, I thought about how to get there consciously, instead of waiting for those moments to happen. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Music is a packaged mood: It helps me to connect within, to touch that place from where I flow. To lift my spirits and help me feel playful, I’m partial to 80s pop music (think Abba, Dancing Queen). Music at the start of a workshop, or during breaks, is now standard operating practice for me.

  2. Exercise brings the bounce: Even on days I’ve been physically exhausted, with travel and work, I’ve gone to the gym, knowing it will keep my spirits (and body) light. Find your own zone and experience what the adrenalin rush can do for you with any body practice you choose.

  3. Colour is fun: What you wear or what you surround yourself with can shift your mood too. I’ve been through phases of bright yellow curtains and turquoise blue sofas at home; now I choose what colour I wear more carefully than I did before (and I’m partial to shiny accessories). Notice what’s different when you add this element in your life.

  4. Flow energy comes from clear spaces – Zen your room, your desk/physical space, and the stuck spaces in your life, to notice what that does to your productivity and energy. The days I plan to write and can’t, it’s usually because of clutter of some kind (yes, mental and physical).

  5. People can make the difference: Conversations with people I care about and meaningful spaces and connections are all that I really need to access my own creativity. It’s the mood I’m in when I come out of those conversations that make the difference, with the people who’ve given of themselves with just their own presence, to spark something in mine.

  6. Connecting to purpose and meaning keeps the juice flowing: Did I say it was going to be easy? I think that’s why I kept this one for last: it’s true. When you wake up to something you care about, something that is bigger than yourself, for reasons that are bigger than money or survival, then you will find that energy flowing through you effortlessly, allowing you to contribute to your world in ways that are creative and joyful. Hold an intention to invite that into your life and notice the difference in how you meet your world.

To tap into your own creativity, you first need to feel into your energy and what it’s doing for you. Opening that up is the work…the rest is practice. You might discover a lot along the way as I usually do. It’s the other thing that makes me tick 🙂

If you want to lead, know what you’re doing with your energy. ~ Lao Tzu

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