May is a month of CREATIVITY. The natural world is filled with creative energy at this time of year. And it can also be a time for your own creative ideas to sprout, take root and begin to grow.
A while back I told Coach MJ that I was feeling blocked creatively and really needed to get past it. She asked me what I was doing to stoke my #1 character strength: Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence. Uhh…I wasn’t doing much. I had been so focused on work and family, I had forgotten to set aside time to just experience awe.
Then I realized I wasn’t really setting aside time to do much of anything to fill my creativity bank account. I had been making plenty of withdrawals professionally (writing, helping clients brainstorm) and at home (finding creative ways to cope with a bad hair day). But I hadn’t been replenishing my creative energy.
So I made a conscious effort. And the coming of spring made it a lot easier – it’s a coming-out-party of sight, sound, taste and feeling. There’s so much happening in the visual landscape, as crocus, daffodils, tulips and the earliest wildflowers suddenly pop into bloom. Then there’s the aural landscape, with the arrival of springtime birds who fill the air with music. And, for me, it’s also a tactile and scent-filled time. Garden soil, warmed by the sun, sifts gently through my fingers as I prepare the beds for planting. The compost – after a year’s worth of chicken coop cleanouts, kitchen scraps and yard debris – has turned into a rich, dark, earthy-smelling powerhouse of potential.
Once I took the time to stop, look, listen, smell and feel — essentially to make some deposits in my creative bank account by stoking my strength of Appreciation— I was able to ask my calmer self what I needed to be doing. Suddenly, new ideas started sprouting. Ideas that will inform a bumper crop of new projects.
If you’ve been feeling like something’s missing in your life, I invite you to take this fecund time of year to take time out and think about your own strength of creativity and what role it plays in your life.
Everyone (yes everyone) has the character strength of creativity.
It doesn’t have to be painting or crafting or writing the next great novel — it can be something as simple as trying new food and flavor combinations while you make dinner. It can be singing in the shower. It can be arranging flowers in your garden beds.
Even if you don’t think of yourself as a creative person, I hope you will look at your life and see where your creative energy is going — because it is going somewhere. Then ask yourself if that is where and how you want it to be.
What are your top character strengths? Are you using them toward enhancing creativity in your life? Are you making deposits into your creativity bank account or are you constantly making energy withdrawals that deplete your creativity?
A suggestion: try nature bathing.
If you’re having trouble tapping into your creative energy, this might be a good time for some nature bathing. Just seeing all the creative life around you can be inspiring and energizing.
Studies show that as little as 15 minutes of being in nature — a local park, a walk in the woods — reduces stress and makes people feel happier. And when you are happier and feeling more relaxed, your creativity has room to flow.