Showing Up, Immersing, Reaching Deeper, Holding Longer

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image: dancoachcreative

How regularly do you create?

How deeply?

It’s easy to measure and relay how much time we spend creating, whether it’s five, 10, 30, 90 minutes a day or more. We can write down the numbers.

But when we present these numbers on its own, they’re next to meaningless, because they says nothing about the depth or quality of our creative experience.

Showing up often is a crucial element to being consistently creative, and to being able to give life to the ideas and visions and songs you have within you.

Creating every day is something I often talk about, and something I believe in and practise myself.

But there needs to be more than just showing up.

In yoga practice, I could unroll the mat each day and sit, cross legged for five minutes, before rising, rolling up the mat again, and resuming my day.

There would be some benefit of this as a daily practice, taking that specific time out of the surrounding busyness to be calm and focused.

But it’s not until we start to push a little further and hold a little longer that we really begin to see, and feel, the benefits of daily practice.

It’s only after attempting and holding poses like trikonasana for 90 seconds or more that the we move through the initial discomfort and into a place of deeper calm.

We only arrive at this place by reaching, stretching through what seems too difficult, holding, and being patient.

It simply cannot happen in nine or 19 seconds. We need a longer period of time to let ourselves slide into that different state, to let body and mind enter a different plateau to the one they spend most of the rest of their day in.

In creating it’s similar.

We can’t come up with our best work in two minutes. We can begin, but to go deeper we need to immerse ourselves in the practice for 15, 30, 60 minutes and beyond.

When is the last time you truly immersed yourself in creating?

When did you last feel like you had entered new territory with your work, that you’d stretched beyond the familiar, immediate landscape that you’ve spent most of your creative life in, and ventured out into the wild unknown?

Again, creating every day is a powerful technique to make this happen.

If you create for 15 minutes everyday, it becomes so much easier to create further at any time of any day.

But once you start to regularly stretch yourself – to reach deeper and to hold longer – then those initial steps become easier still.

Think of it like this. If you went to the beach every day, and walked into the sea up to your ankles before returning home, it’d make it far easier to enter the water the next time than if you only went once a week, once a month, once a year.

But if sometimes you then waded further into the sea, up to your waist or your chest, if you swam out into brave new waters, even just once in a week, it would make those mere toe dipping days seem as effortless as breathing.

When we reach beyond, everything before the beyond seems so much more effortless.

The struggles where, to use our beach analogy, you’re sitting on the sand endlessly deliberating over whether to reach even a toe into the water, disappear.

The question that fills your mind becomes not “Do I create today?” but “How deeply will I create today, how much further will I go?”

How regularly do you create?

How deeply?

 

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2 thoughts on “Showing Up, Immersing, Reaching Deeper, Holding Longer”

  1. I had a powerful dream the other day which seemed to point to just this topic, Dan. I won’t go into it but fundamentally it seemed to indicate that if I carry on for longer just at the point where I normally say “Done!”, I will gain something extra. I’m not sure if the dream meant in a general sense – as in not giving up on my dreams – or in a specific sense – as in keeping on working a canvas past the point I would normally deem it to be complete. I aim to try both!

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    1. My daily 15 minute creativity sessions usually stretch into longer sessions. That usually means I’m “in the zone” or trying to work out a design problem I’m not satisfied with. Either way, I am immersed in creating and that can be beneficial in so many ways, such as getting better at my craft, satisfying my creative urge, producing tangible results that shows me visible progress, relaxing and escaping from a problem, and many other benefits.

      What I need to work on now is fulfilling my other obligations without allowing my creative pursuits to put me behind in those responsibilities!

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