I remember when I couldn’t write even when I had a brilliant idea. I used to lament the times when I fell in love with a book, but wouldn’t finish it. I’d feel too distracted. My “to-do” list would magically pop into my brain. Then I’d feel guilty and jump into something “productive.” That was my patriarchy-fueled creativity stagnation cycle.
Often my creativity loves the sweet spot of feminism, research, quality community time, adventure, visual stimulation, and “hands-on” learning. Gardening soothes my soul. Travel both relaxes and stimulates my brain. Unearthing new ways to think about feminism for myself and my clients is my religion. Learning to cook Croatian recipes fills my weekends. Talking with my favorite feminist friends brings laughter and healing.
The thing is that I need to make space for all of this in my schedule and my brain. I continue to learn how to prioritize my unique brand of creativity and to expect my internalized patriarchal conditioning to accuse me of wasting time which feels like a gut punch for someone who was raised with a strict Protestant work ethic. That moment is my signal to return that message to the conformity-loving patriarchy. I remind myself that I am the only person on this planet like me. I’m here to be me which means fomenting a feminist revolution through coaching and research while cooking cabbage, traveling to Croatia, and loving the people in my life.
Here are 6 ways that coaching helped me to disrupt creativity stagnation in my life. I’d love to hear your examples of creative expansion and stagnation. Reply to this email to learn about ways coaching together can help you shift your “patriarchy-fueled creativity stagnation cycle.”
- Say “yes” to people and opportunities that encourage creativity with demonstrable evidence of emotional support. The patriarchy will tell you to doubt your ability to create. It will tempt you into second-guessing. Creating alone and in community is a feminist revolution.
- Say “no” to people and situations that suffocate creativity with limiting beliefs and criticism. Surround yourself with people who love it when you say, “I’ve got a crazy idea.” Nourish creativity by cultivating relational and physical spaces for creative expansion.
- Ask questions to develop curiosity. When we stick with a routine without reflection, we forget to wonder. We forget to ask ourselves what we want. We forget to question authority. Curiosity and creativity often sound like “Is there another way?” and “What if.”
- Allow discomfort to arise and know that nothing has gone wrong. Restructuring your relationships and time to lean into creativity can feel like a problem, like you’re doing something wrong. You are owning your own power. That’s only a problem for people and systems that want us to stay small.
- Remember that our time and “productivity” are ours to define. The patriarchy tells us that we don’t deserve the “luxury” of creativity but creativity is one of the ways we live intentionality and intimately with ourselves and others. It’s how we care for ourselves and others. It’s how we create new solutions. It’s how we find our passion.
- Let go of the patriarchy’s shame that tells us that we’re too much, too loud, too radical, too frivolous, too scattered, too strong-willed, too bossy, too feminist, too much ourselves. When we return that shame to the patriarchy, we also liberate mind space to fill with creativity.