Creativity is Mindfulness (and you need both to thrive)

ceramics disc carving photo of hands

Mindfulness is a word we hear often these days.  It’s everywhere, it’s something that takes practice, but with practice can lessen worries about the future, or dwelling on the past.  Creativity is a great tool to develop mindfulness.  But, the relationship doesn’t end there – creativity is mindfulness – and you need both to thrive.

I was first introduced to mindfulness about 15 years ago through Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now.  Over the years I’ve built on what I learned from that book by reading more, practicing mindfulness and meditation, and trying to be more present in my everyday life. 

And yet, I still felt like something wasn’t quite right.  No matter how much I practiced and read, I still felt like something was missing.  Over time, I did notice that every now and again a longing to do something creative would bubble to the surface. 

But, the trouble was I didn’t know how to be creative, so I would push it down and carry on.  Or, I would dabble a little, but no one thing ever stuck.  What I did eventually realize was that whether I was taking pictures, writing, or learning something new, I wasn’t thinking of anything else. 

Not work stress, not laundry, and not which kid had to be where for which activity.  As I allowed myself to explore my creativity, I knew I had to make it a priority in my life.  Creativity is mindfulness in action.

Creativity is Mindfulness

Even if the concept of mindfulness is brand new to you, think about what happens when immersed in creating something.  And, it doesn’t have to be anything as grand as a painting, a novel, or a symphony.  If creating a grocery list keeps you squarely in the moment, imagine what activities you truly enjoy can do.  [although, not gonna lie, I love making my grocery list!]

I’m a hand weaver and every part of the creative process is mindful.  Whether I’m choosing a colour way and design.  Or, warping the loom, and passing yarn through the warp strings, I am 100% completely in that moment while doing so.  And, that is powerful.

The more we remain grounded to the present, the less likely we will ruminate about the past or worry about the future.  How freeing is that?!  Over time, mindfulness will actually change the structure of your brain – in a good way.  Being a neuroscience junkie, I’ve included a short video clip that explains how.

So, not only is creativity fun and fulfilling, creativity changes our brain through mindfulness resulting in less stress and an improved ability to cope with challenges.

Suggested Reading

Here is a list to get you started on your own journey. Creativity and mindfulness will help you thrive in all areas of your life.  These books helped me on the path, and I still thumb through and re-read them.

The Power of Now by  Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now book by Eckhart Tolle

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hansen, PhD

Buddha's Brain book by Rick Hanson

Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hansen, PhD

Hardwiring Happiness book by Rick Hanson

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Meditation is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Meditation is not What You Think book by Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Happy Creating!
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