10 Ways to revive your long-lost creative passion:
(photo: Erica Mueller Photography)
When you’re looking for something important – lost keys, an important document, a piece of jewelry or favorite accessory – it’s usually pretty frustrating when you can’t find it. You know exactly what it is, and probably what it looks like. And since you probably see an image of it clearly in your mind, there’s no doubt that it does exist, somewhere in space and time. You know that it’s possible for you to find it. And even if you don’t ever reunite with this lost item, there is security in knowing that you could have if circumstances were different.
Imagine though, that you were looking for something deeply familiar that’s even more important than your car keys, something that has the potential to bring happiness and joy to every aspect of your life. The difference? You don’t know what it is, or what it looks like.
This is what it feels like when you’ve lost your creative identity, and have decided you want to find it.
Talk about something that’s frustrating! Add confusing in the mix as well when the sadness hits, as you remember on a deep Soul level that you think, or at least you’re pretty sure, that you had access to this mysterious quality at one point in your life and that it was really, really sweet. As opposed to finding some item you've misplaced on the outside, searching for your creative spirit can only be found by tuning into your insides -- who you are, what you love, and why you love it.
If you’re someone who’s looking for access to your creativity, purpose, and sense of passion, although it may seem like you’re searching for a pine needle in a pile of oak leaves, there is a bit of a road map that consistently leads many people straight to their joy.
Here is my top 10 list of strategies for re-discovering your long-lost creative passion:
10) Take note of the common thread(s) showing up in everything you love.
Write down the string of connection. What keeps showing up for you no matter where you are, or what you're doing? What feels like it's missing when you're not having a great time? Why are you feeling full and alive when you have that favorite night of being with your favorite people in all your favorite ways?
9) Spend quality time by yourself, and feel all your feelings.
This is an inside game, folks. And although our outer environment certainly gives us clues as to what's happening and why, there is absolutely no way that you're going to find your passion if you're still avoiding looking within. One of the first major steps you can take is learning to feel pure, human emotion. And let me tell you, if you're anything like I was when I was looking for myself, a lot of clues are revealed when we simply start paying attention to what our feelings are telling us. Spending time alone also allows us to explore ourselves fully, without inhibition or a need to please anyone else. Time to get into that crazy crafting project you've been thinking about all week! Or take the trip, or cook the meal, etc. etc...
8) Connect with people who are lit up naturally by life.
You know who they are. You feel it because they're oozing with the passion you want to find! They seem endlessly inspired, endlessly real, and endlessly in a state of pure delight at the simple pleasures of being alive. And being around these people naturally ignites your own innate sense of passion, however it wants to live through you. Some of these natural light bulbs may engage with substances like drugs and alcohol, and some may not. What's plain as day though is that they don't need them to engage from a place of excitement and positive energy, because they are sourcing that energy from within. Start noticing these folks and how you feel when you're in their presence. And then, if you're feeling brave, start asking to be around them more and take notes about the different ways they're going about they're life!
7) Release people, communities, and/or situations that feel heavy, negative, or judgmental.
On the other token, you probably know some of these people as well. They're the ones who seem to have the opposite effect on you -- heaviness, laziness, or fatigue. All of a sudden you wake up and notice that you've slept in until 11am the past 4 days and not even the thought of making your favorite spaghetti supreme dish tonight feels enticing anymore. These are likely people who have blocked their own passion and creativity, and they will help you block yours also as long as you let them. Making the choice to reduce your contact with these folks, you will immediately feel the result of increased lightness, inspiration, and excitement that is driving your search.
6) Explore new and exciting interests with an open mind.
When you're looking for something that will give you an internal feeling, sometimes you have to try a few different ideas before really identifying clearly what it is. Give yourself permission right now to try something you've never done before. What if you didn't have to be a professional drummer? Or an experienced painter? Or a long-time gardener? What if you just wanted to try it out and see how it felt? By allowing yourself to dip your toe into a few new things that perk your interest, you receive mega-information about what your passion is really about, and take yourself one step closer to hitting the bulls eye.
5) Spend time with children, and reflect on your own childhood.
Children are masters of passion and authenticity. They can't help but be exactly as they are, shining out their bright and vibrant nature. AND GUESS WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR... ? I see this as one of the intrinsic purposes of people below the age of 10. Along with giving us access to a natural flow of love, they also innocently show up in the way you're trying to be yourself -- fully alive, vibrantly creative, and filled with passion. Spending time with children will also put you directly in touch with yourself at a younger age. What would you have done with the worm y'all just found on the ground together when you were 6? What was your answer when your mom said, "What do you want to do for your play date with David this weekend?" Looking at life through the lens of yourself as a child, you receive tons of valuable information about the truth of who you are, and how you roll.
4) Pay attention to your sleeping and waking dreams.
Our dreams are windows into our subconscious minds, and when you're looking for something buried deep in your subconscious mind, they're like striking gold! Start a dream journal, which you write in every morning recollecting any dreams you had and anything about them that feels important or relevant. Even if some mornings you don't remember anything at all, even initiating the practice will cue you into your deeper wisdom and let yourself know you're inviting answers. Your questions will be heard, and it will feel joyfully mysterious when it does eventually begin to come together.
3) Write love letters to yourself.
Beginning to communicate with yourself is crucial to opening up any conversation of self-discovery. Why not make it a little more romantic and juicy? Maybe you can pretend like your creative passion is like a long-lost lover that you know will eventually find you again. What would you say to it? What feelings might emerge? What kind of paper would you write on? Treating this new relationship you're forming with yourself as special as you would a new romance you're excited about re-kindling is a wondrous way of bringing it closer to you. And it is likely that you will see results from this action immediately after the exciting words are written.
2) Look at yourself in the mirror (often).
Again, this is about forming a relationship with the only person on the face of the earth who can hear the answers you're looking for. You are the window into your own creative Soul. And if you've lost access to that, there is no other way but through your own eyes that your passion is going to start pouring out. Take a look in there, and start feeling the familiarity of what it's like to be you. It may be hard at first to enter into that intimate space with yourself, but I promise, it gets easier with practice. Soon all of the lines on your face that you've been judging turn into marks of comfort, and the way your nose crinkles up a little when you start to cry starts to feel natural. Connecting with yourself visually begins to anchor you in your own sense of self, outside of others' expectations or projections, and the effect of this is a natural emergence of true expression, authenticity, and pure passion.
1) See each experience as a directional sign pointing you straight to your truth.
When you're on the search that you're on, it's easy to feel like you're lost and swimming around in a sea of unknown trees in a forest you don't know the name of. Probably the most important clue you have along the path though, is that each step of the way you are being given direction from your inner guidance, and from the Universe. Life wants to live a full existence, and as long as you are alive you're not exempt from this natural force pulling you into your full, mature expression of self. What does this mean? It means that as soon as you're ready to start looking, it's going to show up. E-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e... If you're aware of this one, simple fact, you can start entering into each experience with your eyes wide open, ready to experience the next miracle showing you exactly where to go next. It is continuing along this path and saying yes to each of these moments of truth that eventually leads to big reveals, big breakthroughs, and eventually big growth spurts as your creative identity evolves.
0) Spending time in nature.
I know I know, I said 10. But this one simply can-not be excluded. I cannot emphasize enough, that if you're someone looking to discover the truth of who you really are, nature is seriously your biggest teacher. Spend time with her. Learn from her. Study her and her ways. If you connect intimately with living things in the natural world from a place of curiosity and learning, it's like giving your passion-battery a mega-boost of essence energy. Living as nothing but the pure expression of what is, each element of nature (at least that has been untainted by the ignorant hands of some humans) lives and breathes authenticity and clear passion. Soaking up this medicine is one of the best, and most effective ways of connecting with your own nature.
If you're starting to notice, these suggestions are not a quick fix. Finding yourself and your passion takes committed action and persistence, and often our progress is building silently under the surface. While on the outside it may look like nothing is happening, internally a galactic shift may be hiding just around the next action or feeling. I wish you ease and grace along your journey, and thank you for finding the courage to seek the truth of who you really are!
Where are you on the path???