When was the last time you got completely lost in creating something? Or completely lost in any moment?
One of the great pleasures of creating is becoming completely immersed in your own world, temporarily immune from everything outside of you.
A world where nothing exists but you and your creativity, you are filled with it and consumed by it, with no room for anything else.
Of course people create in groups and collaborate, and of course we can still be part of wider communities who also create.
But more usually the act of creating is a solo experience.
An experience that, for your best work to flow, and for you to be at your most fulfilled, you need to give yourself up to entirely.
This is something that’s becoming harder to do these days as we are not only constantly plugged in and switched on to networks of other people, but also our attention spans are ever decreasing with the endless bombardment of new information and messages to digest.
In fact though, getting lost is actually much easier than we might think.
The first step is to pick an activity. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a typical creative act like writing or painting or dancing, you could choose something like reading, or walking, or cooking too.
Then, commit to the experience.
This is crucial in two ways.
Firstly, the committing. Do all you can to immerse yourself fully in just this one simple act. Cut off all possible distractions and connections to other people for a short time at least. Tell yourself that this is your commitment to give yourself permission to engage as completely as you can in just this one activity for a certain length of time.
This is a commitment to one single task, not multi-tasking. Give your mind and body and focus and energy and time just to this one activity.
The second crucial part is the experience. As in, the whole experience, from the very first moment to the last, and every one in between.
Notice I said the experience, not the end result or product that comes from it. We’re very rigid in our thinking sometimes, believing that for every creative “process” the end result must be a “product”.
What though, if you made some cakes, that maybe burnt slightly at the edges, but were still delicious? The end “product”, if you were locked in typical process based negative thinking would be – burnt cakes.
But when you focus on every part of the creative experience, then the “product” IS the experience.
You enjoy gathering the ingredients, their textures and flavours and colours, measuring them out carefully, mixing them up with your bare hands, putting dollops of mixture into baking trays, then into the oven to bake.
You love the scent that begins to fill your kitchen as the cakes rise, and you enjoy the anticipation of taking them out of the oven. Then, you enjoy the experience of tasting your cakes, and the feeling that you’ve taken raw ingredients and made something delicious from them, as well as having savoured each little part of the experience.
This is it. This is getting lost. This is creating.
If you don’t currently enjoy your creativity anything like as fully as this, then maybe it’s time to learn how to get lost again.
So, pick one creative act to try, and commit to the experience. And, once you try it with one experience, it can’t help but enhance every other experience in your life too.
Go, get lost!
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