Making of a Master Piece…

Creative Routine Hack: How to let go of old habits – and live and work with joy (5)

Have you just discovered the Creative Routing Hack Series? Click this link to read the first post.

The analogy I used in the previous post was that of Butterfly-Me preparing to fly, which involves arranging the itinerary, gathering resources and clearing the runway.

It needs uninhibited freedom and space for take-off, and requires that we are relaxed and still enough to hear it.

Part Five: How to create space – Overcoming blank page phobia

But while the Infinite Creative Mind of Butterfly-Me is active in the background, the Limited Chatty Mind is busy as well…and a lot noisier. It’s got its own ideas of how to get where it wants to go and what it needs for doing so. However, the agenda of the Limited Chatty Mind is a very different one: To keep us safe…or sorry.

Lacking the infinite perspective of the Creative Mind, it can only perceive what it’s got already – previous experiences, previously acquired knowledge, and second-hand information and evaluations by others which it claims as its own.

It only feels safe with what it “knows” because it’s “proven facts” on which it can “rely”, and it rejects everything that is out of its reach and control, or threatening to expose the stored information as “not good enough” or “wrong”.

The Comfort Zone Trap

What’s more, in order to justify its own limited view as “being right”, it has created a Comfort Zone: a delusional world of labels, rules, regulations, and judgment, leading to the “need” of “being in control” and resulting in a false sense of security. Every bit of input is immediately scrutinised and compared with whatever it finds in its archives. Then judgment is passed, a statement is made, and the new “fact” is filed and cross-referenced in the appropriate boxes for future use.

This evaluation process is automatic – habitual – for a reason: If we had to think everything through it would take far too long, and we might react too late in case of perceived emergency.


…all new ideas coming from the Limited Chatty Mind are based solely on what’s stored in the archives. Considering the different sources of the various bits of information, it’s no surprise that we have many contradicting, worried and confusing thoughts, and find it difficult to make the “right” decisions. What is right, what is true, what is better, what comes next?

This stress – ranging from conflicting thoughts and doubts,  slight nervosity or irritation, to anxiety or outright fear – is a “danger” warning sent out by the Limited Chatty Mind.

It signals that we have taken a step out of the Comfort Zone into unknown territory, which the Limited Chatty Mind can’t evaluate, that is has “no control over” and therefore labels “unsafe” by default.

And when we don’t step back right away, then the Chatty Mind really gets angry and starts shouting at us, increasing the stress level.

Either way, it keeps us on our toes to prevent us from leaving the Comfort Zone.

Signpost - Image by unsplash via pixabay

Signpost – Image by unsplash via pixabay

The agenda of Butterfly-Me: Keeping us safe AND happy

Whereas the Limited Chatty Mind uses all its tricks to keep us stuck in the Old, Butterfly-Me reminds us that being creative is one of our main life purposes – and creativity means the New, growth, expansion, progress, change.

As creator of our itineraries, Butterfly-Me with its Infinite Creative Mind does not only know where we’ve been and where we are now, it also knows where we are going – provided we follow the sign-posts and directives it prepares for us.

So…how can we find out what those sign-posts and directives are?

Open your hands, palms up.

Recognise the resistance and discomfort you feel for what it really is: You stepping out of the Old Comfort Zone. You getting ready to create the New. Allow it.

Do Nothing.

Watch how in the void of Nothing the cobwebs of your old thoughts dissolve when you don’t touch them.

Don’t push, don’t pull – let go of “having to know”.

Become comfortable with “not seeing the way”, “not knowing what it means” and “not understanding” – of course you don’t, it’s something new coming up! Observe the feeling of discomfort change into ease and inner peace.

Create space.

See the blank page or canvas – or the next moment – for what it is: Full of potential. 🙂

Open your hands, palms up.

Allow yourself to see the signpost. Approach it.

Coming next: Butterflies in the stomach

Images by unsplash, via pixabay

Creative Routine Hack: How to let go of old habits – and live and work with joy (4)

Have you just discovered the Creative Routing Hack Series? Click this link to read the first post.

Our innately creative minds thrive on buzz –  because that’s what they’re for: taking in, analysing, questioning, spinning alternatives, comparing, recombining, turning ideas into actions, making things.

But it’s not the Creative Mind that’s making all the noise. The Infinite Creative Mind is an aspect of Butterfly-Me, and more often than not it works quietly in the background, without us even being aware of it, presenting us with specific outcomes – once it’s ready, that is.

Part Four: Nothing is a problem – a big ‘un

While nothing is a problem at all for Butterfly-Me and the Infinite Creative Mind, our Limited Chatty Minds (in my case the mind aspect of Maria-Me) perceive problems everywhere, and don’t refrain from commenting and lamenting – ASAP and RSVP.

And one of the most difficult and most uncomfortable situations for the Limited Chatty Mind to be in is the void of Nothing: of having nothing to do and nothing to think, nothing to moan or warn about.

I don’t know about you, but for me Nothing was one of the greatest sources of stress. I was fine with stillness as long as I was meditating, and I longed for it when I was tired. When I had an idea, though, my Limited Chatty Mind opened the floodgates and I wanted to get cracking. Now.

So I sat down, ready and eager to start, and what happened? Nothing. Blank. Block.

Night Sky - Image by tookapic via pixabay

Night Sky – Image by tookapic via pixabay

This black blank made me nervous. I wanted to break through that block. I fought, struggled and sought. I applied pressure, for instance by setting deadlines and making detailed plans, or with “I ought”, “I must” and “Why can’t I”.

And when that didn’t work I tried to manipulate myself into action by feverish phantasies about “success”, and – as a last resort – by setting up accountability traps, that is sharing publicly what I wanted to do and by when.

I felt guilty and beat myself up for procrastinating. I traded daytime for nighttime when I was so exhausted from trying to overcome my inability to act that I couldn’t think anymore, and sleep (for several hours, not just the average nap which I love anyway) was the only thing that seemed to bring relief from my whirling thoughts. At night I tried to make up for the lost time.

Nothing is no problem at all

It took me a long time and several severe episodes of so-called artist’s block to accept and understand that the void of Nothing is a necessary and perfectly natural part of the creative process.

There is no such thing as artist’s block. There is nothing that requires a forced breakthrough. On the contrary.

The moment the Creative Mind has an idea, Butterfly-Me prepares to fly – sorting out a desirable and feasible itinerary, gathering resources and clearing the runway.

What Limited Chatty Mind perceives as a threatening block, is simply Butterfly-Me trying to create an environment for communication: In order for Maria-Me to hear Butterfly-Me, the noisy Limited Chatty Mind must shut up first.

Coming next: How to create space – Overcoming blank page phobia

Images by tookapic, via pixabay


Creative Routine Hack: How to let go of old habits – and live and work with joy (3)

I don’t know what I expected when I decided to listen to Butterfly-Me, but – if anything – I expected some advice on how to use my time more efficiently or how to streamline my workflow and cut down on distractions. But the first thing that Butterfly-Me said to Maria-Me was this: “Open your hands, palms up.”

A bit surprised, I did, literally. I sat with my open hands resting on my knees, palms up. After less than a minute I was getting uncomfortable and fidgety and began shifting in my seat. Maybe ten seconds later I asked: “What’s the point of this? What am I meant to do?” Continue reading

Creative Routine Hack: How to let go of old habits – and live and work with joy (2)

In Part One: To plan or not to plan – that’s the question I ended with saying that during my Delightful Butterfly Phase I got bugger all done.

Which, of course, is not true at all. In fact, I was prolific: I finished many more projects than I would have done without following my passion and my whims of the moment, and I planted plenty of seeds.

So what was the cause of this warped perception? Continue reading

Creative Routine Hack: How to let go of old habits – and live and work with joy (1)

How much time do you spend on making plans and decisions? And how many of those do you actually carry through to completion? On time? Really?

And how often do you beat yourself up along the lines of “I should have”, “I could have” or “why didn’t I”?

Part One: To plan or not to plan – that’s the question

Continue reading