• Rachel Ireland

The Joy of Finding Your Creative Flow

‘The creative process is a process of surrender, not control’ – Julia Cameron

I love asking people what inspires them. They light up. They open up. They smile.

How about you? What makes you forget to check the time? What speaks to your heart? When do you feel at your most calm and peaceful, or most like yourself?

If you don’t know, or you feel stuck on this question, a simple thing you can do is to sit quietly with it and breathe.

It can help to reframe the question to: ‘What did you enjoy doing as a child?’ or ‘When did you last feel really happy?’

What this really comes down to is what makes you feel good, in the zone, like you have a purpose.

I often refer to Chris Guillebeau’s concept of ‘Joy, Money, Flow’, because, whilst he uses it mostly to guide people towards the careers that will best suit them and make them happy, it can be applied to all areas of life.

In summary, Joy is what you like to do, Money is what supports you to do it, and Flow is what you’re really good at. You can see this represented clearly as a Venn diagram here.

If we think about our career, ideally we want to have all three – joy, money and flow, but we can survive if we only have money and flow, i.e. we’re good at what we do and we get paid for it. A lot of people are content with this, and they find their joy elsewhere, outside of work.

Our hobbies and interests on the other hand, need to bring us joy and flow. We absolutely need to enjoy them, otherwise why would we continue? We don’t need them to make money for us, and, whilst we don’t have to be good at them (see my writing on perfectionism!) we do need to feel ‘in the flow’ when we are doing them.

We want to get lost in the activity, we want to choose to spend our time doing that rather than something else.

But I also talk about another perspective on ‘flow’ in my workshops. It’s when inspiration hits. The kind that opens us up, gives us hope, makes us want to act. These are the times when we might say we 'feel inspired’.

What gives you this feeling of inspiration, of awe?

For me it’s looking up at the night sky, going for a run out in the beautiful countryside where we live, the love I feel from my children, and that new favourite song I’ve only just heard but now play on repeat.

What all of this boils down to is living the life we choose, prioritising the things that make us happy and expressing ourselves fully, whatever that means to us.

The basis of everything we do at The Creative Map is helping people to find or rediscover the things that make them happy; to re-write that negative story where they tell themselves 'I can't' or 'It's too late', to reconnect with who they really are, the version underneath all the expectations and conditioning, and then to express themselves and tell their story in whatever way they choose - it might be a poem, a song, a letter, a conversation, a life change, a decision, a piece of art.

Try it yourself

  1. Put some time aside each day for a week to think and write about what inspires you, what you love, what you’d love to try or get back into, what moves you, what makes you happy, what makes you feel grateful?

  2. At the end of those 7 days, take one of those ideas and use it as inspiration to create something; write a poem, paint a picture, tell a story.

Create something. Bring your idea to life.

What are you going to use your inspiration to create?

You can find more details about workshops, courses & mentoring here on the website.

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