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Clutter & Creativity : Page 2 of 2

Clutter & Creativity

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Do you have relationship clutter?

  • Is there someone in your address book that you'd like to let go of?
  • Do you find it hard to concentrate and listen intently to people?
  • Do you find it hard to be open to what other people are offering you (i.e. the appreciation of your audience or a compliment from a friend)?
  • Do you find it difficult to freely give (i.e. to perform without being preoccupied with your own thoughts)?
  • Do you say "yes" to everything that's asked of you?

Sometimes we hold on to broken relationships for the same reasons we hold on to broken things: because we think they can be fixed (and that we're actually going to take the steps to fix them), and because they're familiar and safe.

The clutter in the rest of your life blocks your communication — it's just too hard to listen with your whole heart when there are layers of clutter in the way. This affects your inner listening as well — your ability to tune into your intuition, your "muse". Stage fright is a BIG form of clutter.

Is clutter impacting your health?

  • Are you "too busy" to exercise?
  • Is fast food easier because you can't find your kitchen counter?
  • Do you exhaust yourself with a busy day and then putter around trying to "wind down" until late in the evening?
  • Do you not notice (or pretend not to notice) symptoms of illness or injury until they're so severe that you have to take drastic measures?
  • Do you have a hard time falling asleep because your mind is whirling around or your emotions are surging?

If we're surrounded by clutter and chaos, things like eating vegetables or walking around the block just don't seem do-able or important. And yet if we don't take care of our bodies everything else becomes much, much harder and can lead to fatigue, illness, trouble concentrating, pain, addiction and weight problems.

Tips for Clearing the Clutter

  1. If you're serious about tackling your physical clutter, I recommend the book, "Clear your clutter with Feng Shui", by Karen Kingston. She has wonderful ideas for clearing your clutter and also helps you to have a much deeper awareness of how the clutter got into your life in the first place.

  2. One simple method to get the physical clutter out is to create three piles (boxes are helpful), labeled: Give away, Throw away and Put away. You can add other categories if you like (i.e. recycling, repair).

  3. To quiet down your mental clutter, try writing. In the Artist's Way, Julia Cameron recommends writing three full pages every morning. Find your own method — write to do lists, poems, lists of everyone you're mad at, talk back to your inner critic, write about whatever's swirling around your head. You can also write down questions for your muse — help with a particular verse or a request for general inspiration.

  4. To deal with your time clutter, just say "NO". This is a muscle that might need some exercising. Put yourself and your creative pursuits first — just because you're at home, that doesn't mean you have to be available.

  5. If emotional clutter has your heart tied up in knots, practice letting go. Forgiving someone doesn't mean condoning what they've done. It means freeing yourself and being open to positive emotional experiences.

  6. To improve your relationship with your audience and combat relationship clutter, think about what they're hoping to get from your performance — maybe to be transported by the music, to be inspired, to have their feelings put into words, to be soothed, to be "rocked", to be energized or to be cradled. You have an enormous power to give them these gifts.

This article was originally published on the Muses Muse Songwriter's Resource website (September 2004) www.musesmuse.com.

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Linda DessauLinda Dessau helps artists enhance their creativity by addressing their unique self-care issues. More »

3/14/05