download“Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go – purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.” – Tina Turner

 Have you ever read this quote? This is one I’ve come across a couple of times – every time it totally grabs me. Why? Because I’m one of those people who’s constantly dragged down by doubt, insecurity, feeling inadequate and numerous other quirks that do nothing but stifle. And I wonder…if I struggle with this, how many others out there do as well? I’m guessing I’m not the only one. So that’s what I’m writing about this time around.

Creativity is a tenuous thing. Sometimes we’re so inspired, so overcome with ideas and inspiration, that we can barely work quickly enough to get it all down. Then, just as suddenly, it’s gone. Our muse has left, our mojo has flown and we’re completely dry. Whether you’re a scrapper, a designer, a writer or if you’re just trying to be the best mom you can be, you’ve experienced it. Sometimes it lasts a day, sometimes it can go on for months and months. And, it seems, the longer the dry spell lasts, the greater our self-doubt becomes.

That’s why I chose this quote. Because Ms. Tina’s got a point. Think about it – how do you feel when you’re unhappy? When you’re comparing yourself to others? Do you feel creative? Full of inspiration? Or do you feel “less-than”, stifled, like giving up? I know that I usually feel very negative about myself. And sometimes I feel negative about others and the whole ball of wax in general. How can I be creative when I feel like that? Answer: I can’t. Nobody can. You can take that feeling and try to compete with or copy from whomever you’re comparing yourself, but you won’t have any true creativity. I think maybe that’s why so many of us don’t consider ourselves truly creative. Perhaps it’s because we spend so much time comparing, competing or just copying (or scraplifting) that we’re not free enough to be truly creative.

According to Ms. Tina, we need to purge that junk. Let it go, throw it away, break those chains. But how do we do that? How do we just “let go” of old habits that are so ingrained? I think first you need to identify what you do that brings those feelings to the surface. If you’re a scrapbooker, do you spend a lot of time in online galleries looking at other people’s work? There is NOTHING wrong with that practice. In fact, viewing others’ galleries can often spark creativity and give you ideas you wouldn’t otherwise had. But if this practice makes you feel unworthy, less-than or in any way negative about yourself, then it’s stifling you. Maybe you need to take a break from looking at others’ work and just free yourself from it. Do you look at these layouts and think, “I could never do that….she’s so much better than I am…..I’ll never be that good” or “Geez….what was she thinking……I totally hate that trend….why is that style so popular???”  Because these thoughts are totally non-productive. You cannot make the leap to creativity from these thoughts. You just can’t. So if you struggle with this, maybe take a sabbatical from gallery viewing. Or praise games. Or “best scrapper”-type contests. Creativity doesn’t grow from trying to be the best or attempting to garner praise from others. It can only come from inside you and it can only come from a feeling of freedom. You can’t be free if you’re a slave to the opinion of others. So identify what your chains are – comparing, competing, searching for positive strokes, trying to be something you’re not – whatever they are, you HAVE to break them. Free yourself. Instead of indulging those bad habits, spend time immersing yourself in the things you love – that make you feel alive, vibrant, free, sparkly, electric, colorful. It could be something big like rock climbing or scuba diving or something tiny like browsing your favorite catalogs or etsy.com or books filled with color, gorgeous description and meaning. It could be getting down and playing with your kids – getting dirty and wet and covered in paint. Experiment. Try something new. Start breathing again. Let yourself fly a little bit and see what gets sparked inside you.

Carl Jung said, “If you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself.” Maybe spend some time this summer creating YOURSELF. Discover your song, your passion, your breath, your color and then use it to create something tangible that’s truly YOU.