“Herding” Our Creative Energy

I was recently thinking about how to keep moving forward with my art! It’s so easy for something we love and need in our lives to take a back seat because we are too “busy” with all our responsibilities and deadlines! But if it makes us happy, and keeps us balanced and positive we must make space for it! Isn’t it?

Nayaswami Asha shares about a time she was assisting someone in the Ananda kitchen and her role that day was essentially to “herd the energy”, to ensure that everything was prepared on schedule and served on time. And I was thinking about the same, in life we all need to keep herding our energy. Sometimes we have the support of others on the same journey, or a community to help us keep moving, but sometimes we are on our own!

Talking specifically about art, what are some of the ways to do this?

“Friend of all friends”, (mixed media on paper)

I just took a few days off to paint and since I knew I had such a short time I wanted to make the most of it! On the first day, it usually takes me a while to just get in a flow mentally and energetically, so I gathered my inspiration and sketched out what I wanted to express. On the second day I was able to dive in with color and play and it was great fun, but somehow the piece wasn’t quite done by the time I had to stop for the day. It seemed like it was almost done, but not quite yet! And I was a little blocked!

On the third day I got inspired by another idea! So I started with that new one and all of a sudden when I stepped away from it, I got an idea on how to finish the previous day’s work. (I hope this isn’t too confusing haha but the piece I feel I finished is attached here).
Essentially, what I realised is that sometimes if we are blocked, it helps to start something new. Even if you haven’t quite finished the previous piece, it makes space for the inspiration to flow!

Swami Kriyananda would say in order to build concentration, focus on one thing at a time! And art helps with this greatly because while working on a painting we are completely immersed! But I realised we have to work with ourselves too and not push too hard, sometimes we may have to step away and try to find ways to “herd our energy”. And then come back to it with fresh eyes!

I wanted to share a few tips that have helped me work with this through art:
  • Have a bigger project to work towards, like a “theme” under which we are creating a series of paintings, or signing up for a group or exhibition! This helps keep it big and gives us deadlines to work with too!
  • Get support from others. For example, sign up for an online course you can keep referring back to for inspiration or a class nearby you can attend regularly
  • Experiment and play with color: Do many rough pieces and see where that goes
  • Make a commitment (set a day of the week for example) to paint or do something creative and fun
  • Create an uplifting space for where you can have all your art supplies and paint that invites you

These are a few I could think of! I’m sure there are so many that have helped you keep your creativity moving forward and I’d love to hear from you if you can think of any more that come to mind!

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