Creativity and Your Second Act

| September 1, 2017 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post

Happy young business woman enjoying success at work

“But I don’t have a creative bone in my body,” my client Sarah laments in response to my query, What would you like to create now that you’ve entered your Second Act?” The creativity and second act…

After a lifetime of working in government service, Sarah tells me she feels a deep longing to “break out of my rut,” but lacks the confidence. When I ask her about taking a class or trying something new, Sarah’s fear prompts her to respond with a litany of reasons why she can’t do it. “My grandchildren need me.” “I tried a class years ago and didn’t stick with it so what’s the point of trying again?” “Besides, I wouldn’t be any good at it anyway…”

Sound familiar?

Are You Longing For Something More?

Like Sarah, many of us have reached the stage of life where we hunger for something more but feel overcome by doubts about our capacity to create anything new—especially if we believe “creativity” is the exclusive purview of artists, writers, and high-tech entrepreneurs. But comparing your potential with the achievements of celebrated creators can prove dispiriting. It’s instead important to remember: While we are not all equally talented, each of us has an innate capacity for creative expression.

Access Your Creative Spirit.

Life is much more fun when you access your Creative Spirit. And you access that spirit by cultivating a mind-set of receptivity. No matter what you wish to create—a painting, a business, a relationship, a new life—paying attention to subtle levels of thought and feeling will inspire your progress.

Think like a creator.

Is there something you’ve been longing to try? Do you feel compelled to redirect your energies? Begin thinking like a creator by asking yourself: “What might happen if…?”  When you grant yourself the essential liberty of playing within your imagination, when you reserve judgment and let your ideas flow free, when you allow yourself to experiment, explore, and even, heaven forbid, fail along the way, when you follow your inner guidance vs. heeding the criticism of others, and when you find pleasure in learning and discovery for their own sake—these are practices which nourish your Creative Spirit.

Get out of your comfort zone.

If you’ve achieved a high level of success at what you already know how to do, it can be humbling to be a beginner again. To begin is to dance with uncertainty. We like to feel smart, we like to feel competent, we like to feel in control. But the same hard-won mastery that insulates us from the discomfort of personal vulnerability can also block creative energy. We’d like to imagine that the struggles of learning are behind us now that we’ve arrived at this advanced age of experience. But if we desire to reinvent ourselves for a successful Second Act, we’ll need to let go of the craving to be strong and in control, the craving to be the best at everything we do. As master teacher Shunryu Suzuki writes: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there  are few.” Creators cultivate tender receptivity to invite in a world of new possibilities.

About the Author

Counselor Cathy Wild is the author of the award-winning book Wild Ideas: Creativity from the Inside Out (Standing Place Press, 2017, 324 pages, print & ebook editions). A pioneer in somatic (holistic) counseling, she has spent more than 30 years developing innovative approaches to the creative process. Her private practice, Body-Centered Healing, is located in Sonoma County in Northern California. Cathy also provides personal counseling and coaching sessions remotely for clients via Skype or phone. To learn more, visit:  www.CathyWild.com.

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