when you want to stop creating



It isn't so much that you paint what you feel is the truth, but that you paint the importance of your truth... from the heart."

- Robert Burridge

Once we begin to experience what a creative practice has to offer us, it can be exhilarating, fun and so acutely meaningful in our lives. What a wave of a gift that is!

But it is only one truth of a creative process cycle, and doesn't usually last forever.

Eventually, as is the case in most things, we reach a lull of some sort. A place of dissatisfaction, resistance or stagnant familiarity. Of over-thinking, high-criticism, paralysis, or repetition. Or many other manifestations of the creative process cycle when it's in a 'darker' phase.

This can feel like tension, numbness or boredom. And sometimes irritation.

And it is also often the point when we just STOP our practice.

This is often a period marking the end of a particular phase of exploration or discovery - it has run its course; we've seen what we came to see. Or we have begun to let the usual suspects of judgment, expectation, perfectionism and assumption creep into our mindset about our practice and its outcome(s).

We can easily forget that it is just a phase, and not a fateful demise of our beloved practice or creativity, or worse yet, some reflection of our own failure {as an artist} in some way.

In these instances, we might even try to force it to be what it was for awhile - not wanting to let go of what we experienced before. Or we just stop and abandon ship.

The shoulds or should-nots can flood in....  And a practice that once nourished us starts to become a drag or a delusion.

Our supplies become weighted reminders taking up space, and we wonder how we ever felt so intoxicated by it all to begin with, and why we keep all this shit around when our creative practice really was nothing more than another distraction from the reality of life. OK, maybe that's a bit dire sounding, but I know some of you know what I'm talking about...

If you have an ongoing creative practice, and have ever reached that point of just stopping - for whatever reasons - you may also know how the Stopping phase can sometimes be a very short-lived thing (thankfully), and other times can last for years (unnecessarily - but sometimes a valuable lesson).

But it doesn't have to be a long-term separation, if we can see this crucial moment for what it is... a crossroads to the evolution of our unique creative expression.

It marks a time ripe for the emergence of expression that can only come from YOU, that no other artist can teach you to invoke, but that you get to allow to rise from within, often in the emptier, darker, frustrating, sometimes lonelier & messier moments of your creative practice.

It is a crucial moment to choose confidence and commitment in a voluntary practice that has phases and cycles like everything else. To keep coming to it in the lull or low tides. To vulnerably give it your time, energy and faith when those are such precious commodities.

But that's exactly what we need to do if we have ever felt undeniable passion, love, liberation, healing or spirit-freeing joy from our creative practice.

We must remember it's a phase, as sure as the moon will retreat for awhile, only to return to fullness again in a dance of ever-changing energies and brilliance.

Sometimes, I find, we simply need to make a game of it - to find a new perspective, inquiry or approach to shake us back into a beginner's mindfulness of play.

How can you get fresh with your practice? Keep it spunky and alive? Or let the lull guide your movements and marks? Free to be{come} messy and whole, as is?

How can you let your instincts and intuition guide you forward into joy, relief and curiosity?

Where is the sweet spot, where rhythmic spaciousness and intimacy meet, in your personal creative practice ritual?

I don't know about you - but I have needed to let loose in my creative practice lately! I've needed to break through some boundaries I'd inadvertently created for myself, it seems, and just let myself FEEL what I feel.

And my art practice always reflects my personal life somehow, even if only evident to me.... Gotta love the wordless truth of that.

What I notice when I need to get fresh and impulsive like this is that my creative energy enters a sort of territorial dreamworld - so real to my holistic experience of being human that reality itself begins to arrange with more clarity before me.

I don't always like what I see, but the process is undoubtedly divine and inspired with what I need.

It is liberating to allow our practice to become catharsis through chaos - especially in times when our world is full of so much unrest, violence and uncertainty.

Processing feelings safely, through color and paint, can paradoxically keep us grounded and our energy flowing, clean, and on point. It can keep us in the more immediate moments of our present lives... and this always effects the greater world we are creating.

It is some of the best medicine I know.

Even if the gesture is not grandiose, it builds a resonance of courage, authenticity and vision - and art and life are not separate forces of transformation within that resonance.

In both, we have the chance to know ourselves and practice the dance of impulse, discernment, presence, love and freedom.

We don't have to know how to state or express our truth with words, but it is important that we trust its guidance, as well as its capacity to evolve - and that we live wholeheartedly and expressively from its center - as we create and arrange our lives.

What's YOUR fix, medicine, insight, story or truth when you just want to stop your creative practice or feel like you've lost your passion for it? How do you navigate the inevitable lulls, and what have you noticed in your experience?

Would love to know your take in the comments below or over on Instagram right here...



*** IMPULSE is open for registration, and begins September 12 - a great way to wake up, revive and jumpstart your creative practice. Use the discount code through midnight tonight - IMPULSE10 - and save when you JOIN US!