Creativity is everything in life. Living in a space of creative freedom should be so natural to us as creative beings.
If only we could stop trying to control things for long enough to be that natural and free!
I’ve been swimming in creativity for the last few months, especially, and very vibrantly. Lots of travelling, lots of new projects. Less time at a computer. More time with people and with clients. More connection, less automation. It is immensely freeing.
There’s no control in creativity. You can structure a story or a piece of art, but you can’t simultaneously create it and control it. In fact, most people can’t talk and draw at the same time. The two mechanisms- analytical thought and creative living- don’t fire simultaneously in your brain.
I have been quite in love with life in this watery space of artistry.
Lots of people who perhaps unconsciously have been a bit controlling of me have appeared to ask me to rationalize my behavior lately. After all, it is much safer for many of us to lean on the rational. Over-analyzing, over-thinking, over-doing everything. Its a way of controlling life when it feels out of control.
Being called upon to explain myself lately has been not-fun-at-all. Particularly because I refuse to do it.
The world will give you many reasons to be rational and analytic and structured and safe. People will have your best intentions at heart when they ask you to be logical and to justify your behavior. You might be looking out for yourself when you want to put the breaks on your momentum in life and all you are creating to shrink back into a place of stuck-ness that masquerades as safety.
What would happen if you indulged in your thoughts much less and created much more?
As my dear friend from Jersey would say, “Analysis equals paralysis. Don’t think about it, be about it.”
Don’t get paralyzed by good sense and reason.
Are you thinking and trying to control too much and living and creating too little?
Ancient arts like feng shui were meant to create optimal environments. Lots of people, though, see it as a means of controlling what was not meant to be controlled. If you change your environment you support change in your life… you don’t instantly create it.
I had a boyfriend once, a long, long time ago when feng shui was this new thing I just discovered. He had no nightstands in his bedroom. He was also very wrong for me in many ways. Immediately I decided I could change his space and he would mystically unfold all of his years of emotional blockades and be the ideal man. It seemed like a good experiment. Guess how that worked out?!
Yep. Not good. Only time my feng shui “failed”.
The truth is, no matter what a person’s home or life looks like they need to be there and wanting and willing. You can’t override your own habits just by taking some homeopathy or trying EFT or even employing lots of feng shui— you can support that change of habits, but you have to be willing and wanting to make things better without controlling them.
Control is the opposite of creativity.
Creating new ways to live means dumping old habits of control.
What we are doing in all this feng shui’ing and shifting of space isn’t witchcraft or wish-craft. Feng shui in my way is crafting intention, creating clarity and opening channels to more energy and creative spirit in meaningful ways. There is no over-thinking involved.
It’s a wild paradigm-shift.
In Eastern medicine, the idea of healing and living in the bast way possible is to respect the natural flow of energy and keep things unblocked and in a peaceful equilibrium. The idea isn’t to let things just go in every direction, but, rather, to direct the flow where it is needed to support life.
That’s the good kind of control. Directing energy. Strengthening intention. Creating flow.
Control in artistry is what holds back some of the greatest artists. Part of the reason so many artists seem to struggle with addiction to substances is that they feel the need to switch off part(s) of the brain- specifically the prefrontal cortex– that is obsessed with logic.
Becoming more open, artistic and creative on all fronts in life requires that you can somehow safely- IE, without drugs- move past this need for control.
The most enormous way I have found to do this?
If you have faith in yourself and your life, you can find more comfort in the unknown and formless and soft space of creative living.
I’m not talking about religious faith, but this is a pretty good example of my own control crisis:
Lots of you know I am a Buddhist. For many years I was a bad Buddhist. Rather than practicing Buddhism to connect to life more, I tried to use it as a giant, cosmic ATM machine of good fortune. As a result, I kept repeating the same cycles in my life, my health, in relationships and even my career over and over again for nearly a decade. I would roll the Buddhist dice, practice hard, bring brilliant things into my life and then sort of abandon the practice and run things with my mind and all its love of order and control. I didn’t want to have faith in myself and my life and let go of all the ideas and thoughts that kept me in a prison in my mind.
I just wanted what I wanted.
And the more I got what I wanted, the more trapped I felt.
Have you ever felt this feeling, like you couldn’t escape the confines of your mind?
It wasn’t until I was stripped of everything that I thought would be stable- my health, my career as I knew it, and then my mother who suddenly died all in the span of a few months- that I realized the utter futility of trying to control anything.
I had nothing to lose. Every day, I had a chance to practice more gratitude and more faith in myself. Life became very simple. Small things that created joy were exhilarating. I used each one to build the next- stepping back into health and my life in a new way. I could suddenly see other people and could feel their feelings with an empathy that I shut out for so long in my intense focus on myself. My entire world expanded in an unprecedented fashion when this space of faith and gratitude and wanting to connect to life rather than control it became my new “normal.”
Faith in yourself and love for yourself are way more powerful catalysts for creating a brilliant life than any sort of control or drive toward perfection.
A brilliant article in Psychology Today, People Who Can’t Control Themselves Control The People Around Them (what a great title!) breaks down the two ways to free yourself from the control trap that damages everyone in a relationship, family or group:
- One of the kindest things you can do for the people you love is develop more emotional autonomy.
- Managing your own emotions, feelings, and anxieties gives other people back their lives.
(you can read the whole article here. it is great!)
Following this line of logic, the more you can love yourself the less drama you will create in your life.
The less drama you have, the more free you are to create amazing things!
I talked to a friend about this. She likes to leave people in order to have them chase her to get her back. That’s how she’s sure that people care. The problem is that this dynamic erodes all the love it is supposed to- she feels- prove to her.
Loving yourself is totally personal, but I know you know how to do it.
I hope you are willing to give yourself the faith and love to get comfortable in a space that lacks strict control. Being comfortable in the uncomfortably exciting is a sign that you are on the right track!
This is where the creative awesomeness begins!
I made a little feng shui video for all of you control freaks and ex-control-freaks. You might find something that strikes a chord…
If you want to learn how to transform the place you live into the home you love in full, grab yourself a copy of Feng Shui 101. Its the unique guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks! It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do. Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow! Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE!!! xoxo Dana
This is such an amazing post and much needed. I have to admit that I have been struggling with how to let go of control. I’ve been so focused on making all the right decisions so that I wouldn’t fail at accomplishing my goals that I have forgotten the bigger picture. I once knew how to let go for a brief time and just go with the flow but then I stumbled in the midst of embarking on a dream of mine and well I took it pretty hard. As a result I went back to being a control freak. I’ve been working on gaining back my faith in myself. It’s a slow process but I feel that eventually I’ll get there. I came across your website a week ago and I love everything you post. It’s so inspiring and it helps me remember and feel that sense of faith and peace I once felt.