Finding peace through creativity is one of my 3 brave things I want to do this year. It’s not an easy task. Find peace isn’t like finding a lost key, where you think Oh, there you are and put it in your pocket. My peace was never lost. I just haven’t found a method that works for me long-term. I think about it briefly, then put it on the back burner. My to-do list almost always has some sort of peace on it. The problem is that I never get around to it. Why? If I were honest, I’d tell you that I’ve always struggled with finding peace. True, predictable peace.
Come On Ride the Train, the Magic Train
I’m a doer and a thinker. I love to discover, dream up ideas, learn new things and try “fun stuff”. If I had to paint myself as an object, I’d probably paint a steam engine. They work hard, are constantly in motion, and have so many moving parts. They can pull an impressive amount of cars behind them, all full of useful resources and things of value to them. In my cars, you’d see family & friends, my creative business, elements of nature, probably a DJ blaring some jams, one car with all of my comfort items, another showing places I love, a car full of DIY projects, some special memories, a creative car full of paint supplies of course, and ten trailing cars of all my “to do someday” items.
See, I’m pretty sure I drive the Magic Train and I love all of it. I couldn’t possibly part with any of my cars. I have enough dreams and ideas to last three lifetimes. I get excited about things and talk a mile a minute, steam coming out both ears to keep the thoughts churning. The problem with all this is getting the steam engine to stop and pull into the “chill” yard. It takes something very loud, distracting, a lot of time, and often a wine bribery to get this steam engine to a halt. I read a lot about peace, mindfulness, meditation, and breath work . . . but stopping to make it a consistent practice has never become a habit.
Damn, There’s Something ‘Bout That Yoga
This challenge of finding peace reminds me of the year I fell in love with yoga. I had heard a lot about yoga and enjoyed doing the Yoga X DVDs when hubs and I suffered through P90X (twice), but it wasn’t until I joined a yoga studio and began practicing regularly that it hit me. It was what Oprah would call an “ah-ha” moment, or as Gru would say, “Light Bulb”.
This, My Friends, Is Peace
It was truly the first time I had felt my body feel exhausted (yet relaxed) and my mind feel so calm, optimistic, and spiritual. I would sit there at the end of class with such clear understandings and little worry. This is freakin’ peace, I thought. My mid-morning yoga practice also meant the rest of that day was more peaceful. Mind-blowing, I tell you. This was when I actually created the Namaste painting below. How can I feel more of this in my daily life, I wondered.
Breathe In Peace, Breathe Out Creativity
Breathe in, while counting to seven. Hold it for two. Breathe out slowly. Words, images and music are my deep breaths in, while creativity and nature are my deep breaths out. I have to fill up with inspiration and soul love until I feel full enough to release it through painting, taking photos, or hiking outdoors.
We’re Going On A Peace Hunt
After the inhale and the exhale, then I feel peace. I remember my husband saying to me one time, “You haven’t painted in a while”. I looked at him with that And? look, so he finished with, “You seem a little agitated lately and I was thinking you might want to paint tonight”. I was speechless. I hadn’t given myself permission to be creative lately, yet here he was encouraging me to go find my peace . . . and do it tonight.
Daily Gratitude Journal . . . What’s That?
I’ve tried the daily gratitude journal . . . about four times. Ah yes, we’ve all heard it. It’s a great idea: pausing daily to be mindful of the positive things in our lives. I have a blank journal near me that is my Gratitude Journal . . . blank as my teenage son’s day planner. The thing is . . . I do want to stop this steam engine sometimes. I am grateful for many things, but won’t deny that I need to find a way to create more train yard “stops” to make conscious notes of them.
I tried a new way to find peace that I’d like to share with you: Gratitude Painting. To find peace in a creative way, I decided to try painting so I could see the bright colors mixing with each other and watch the piece evolve. I kept it simple with watercolors and a small art journal. This was not going to be any great work of art for sale. This was simply a peaceful practice that involved art. That decision took the pressure off and helped me to be more playful. I also wanted to hear peaceful words or music, so I put on a meditation podcast with background music. I made some tea & lit a candle. I started to think about all the amazing things in my life that I have utmost gratitude for. Here’s how it played out:
I Found Peace . . . On the Corner of Gratitude & Creativity
There are so many ways to be creative. Could we make these enjoyable creative times your peaceful times also? Taking photos, hikes in nature, doing home decor/DIY projects, practicing yoga, or making art are my creative ways to find peace. What are your favorite ways to be creative? Could you add a little gratitude time into them to create space for peace? Please share you thoughts/experiences in the comments.
I’ve decided to write an ongoing series, called Finding Peace Through Creativity. It’s something I’ve been wanting to put into practice and keep at the front of my mind. Each new article will feature a different avenue for finding peace through creativity. I hope you’ll join me.