She makes time to rest, reflect, and act. The desires to simply push through and get more done is replaced by an increased awareness of what is needed (and what is not)…Stress is replaced by motivation. (From the marvelous blog of Leslie Bosserman at Lead With Intention. You should really check out the whole post here.)
Would you like to have such a thing said about you? That you make time to rest, reflect, and then act? I know that I certainly want my stress to be replaced by motivation! As a creative writer, I am motivated to write. Oh, so motivated! In fact, when I am not able to get to my creative work during the day, I can literally feel the anxiety rising within me. But, sometimes, I just can’t get to anything on my to-do list when I would like to, much less my creative writing and blogging, because I am a mother. That is where mindfulness comes in. For as a creative person, you have a bazillion things running through your head: projects, ideas, thoughts on what you need to do next in your current project, plot lines and bits of dialogue running rampant in your brain. And add the rest of your life into the melee, and you are drowning. But that is no way to live your best life, let alone a successfully creative one.
Don’t worry – you can still be mindful, no matter how much you have on your plate. In fact, if you do implement the core principles of mindfulness, it will change your life. You will be a better woman. A better creative professional. And even a better mother. Do you want that for yourself? Then read on while we delve a little bit into what mindfulness actually is.
What is Mindfulness?
Wikipedia defines mindfulness as: the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment.
This means that, to be mindful, you have to actually focus all of your energy on just one task. Yes, you even have to focus all your mental energy on it. Granted, that isn’t to say you should stop dreaming. That will kill creativity like frost kills a rosebud. No, instead, it means you save your daydreaming and planning for appropriate times (aka, as a busy mom that translates to while doing the dishes, showering, or while driving around to run errands). The rest of the time, you should focus on the moment. What can you do that moment? What are you doing? What are you grateful for?
How can it Change My Life?
Now you are probably asking yourself, “Yes, but, how can mindfulness change my life? How can being mindful make me a better creative professional, woman, wife, and mother? I thought it was multitasking that was supposed to help me get more done.” Well, so did I! Until I realized (through trial and error, and research) that the reason I was feeling so distracted and finding it hard to delve deep and focus on anything for too long was because I was multitasking so much. Think, writing a freelance copy piece, watching a TV show, cooking, and sometimes even talking at the same time. On top of being distracted, all my tasks were taking much longer than they should have, I was remember only half of what I was reading, and my creativity was dropping.
That’s when I discovered that research shows that your brain can’t take in two things at the same time. Sure, you can multitask with one or more rote tasks, such as talking on the phone and folding laundry, or thinking up a new plot line while driving to the gym. But you can’t take in or put out anything new, much less do anything creative, if you try to do more than one thing at a time.
This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness at the most basic level, again, is bringing your attention to the moment. Focussing on what is going on, and what you are doing, right now. Nothing more. This boosts your creativity. (Try writing a truly excellent scene, or painting, when the the baby is screaming, or the news is blasting from the other room…) And boosts your output. Which will then make you satisfied with what you were able to accomplish, making you less stressed and more able to love and focus on your family. See how that works? Plus, taking the time to focus on one thing at a time, whether that is writing or making faces at your baby, deepens your enjoyment of everything you do, making you feel more fulfilled. Which means you will stop beating yourself up for doing a sloppy job with your book or for being a “bad mother”. Plus, when you are mindfully still, soaking up each moment on a walk or while reading a novel, you will find that you will have an increase in creative inspiration. After all, it is really hard to think up anything new and delightful if you don’t give you brain the space and quiet it needs to do just that.
Okay, Then Help Me be More Mindful!
Are you intrigued yet? Do I have you wanting to join me on my journey towards a constant state of mindfulness? Good! For I will have my top 5 tips for cultivating mindfulness for you on Monday! Don’t worry. I’m not about to leave you completely hanging today. I will leave you with one actionable for the weekend: throw out all but the most essential housework and work related tasks. Read your favorite book or have a movie night (James bond and martinis, anyone?!). And take the time have a date, even a very small one, with your significant other or a good friend.
Check back on Monday to discover the 5 best ways to cultivate powerful, creative mindfulness. Can’t wait to see you then!
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