A conscious practice with my creative expression and listening to my body has taught me a few things.
For instance, there is a direct relationship between my sense of well-being - and whether or not I'm showing up to my painting or journal practice.
When I put my creative outlet on the backburner for all the other things that will easily fill up my waking hours, I just begin to feel lousy, tense, anxious, fatigued, bored, apathetic, irritated, disconnected, stressed, scattered, overwhelmed, spread thin, achy... or any combination of those.
Sometimes I don't recognize right away what it is that I'm neglecting (and craving). Then, my mind will make excuses as to why other things ought to take priority.
It's a lot like eating well, getting enough rest and exercising, though. When we do it, we just feel better in our skin, with more energy - and we respond better to the unexpected, with more resilience, compassionate strength and heart-centered truth.
Yet, so often we put creativity last - it's just play, it doesn't matter or have purpose, it's frivolous or selfish, there are more important things...
Or we tell ourselves that we'll get to it - right after this, just as soon as we feel inspired or have the energy, tomorrow...
Really we are just depriving our thirsty spirits of our natural inclinations, a primal need.
We don't water a flower if it blooms; we water it so it will bloom.
~ Naomi Aldort
The very gifts that help us bloom into our wholeness, to thrive in our natural states, are the very elements that also help prevent the downward spiral, the feelings of un-well, the many faces of dis-ease and symptoms of dis-content.
Creating is one of those blessed acts; expression the sustaining carrier of our essence.
Whether we paint, write, dance, capture photos, make music, sew, doodle, perform...
It's not just a bonus, a reward, a perk, a leisure, or even a salve - it is fundamental to a vital human experience.
And it serves us best when we honor and tend to it consciously as part of what makes us whole and well, daily.
It is innate in every one of us - this thirst for creative expression.
So, please, pour yourself a glass and enjoy.
You'll thank yourself later.