Creative prompts for the uninspired

Creativity prompts for the uninspired | Kimberly Hetherington | Art Therapy with Kimberly

Being creative is part of our wellbeing. Even Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs places creativity in the highest category in self-actualisation. Maslow essentially believed that all prior needs must be met before creativity could be achieved. 

I used to engage in creativity all the time. I could spend entire mornings writing and pondering. Being able to coherently put my thoughts together and release them into the world felt like the most cathartic release. I don’t know anything as powerful as that feeling. I yearn for it nowadays as I navigate my new life as a mother.

Naturally, I’ve changed since my daughter was born. Some of my interests and my capacity for certain types of mental stimulation have dramatically lowered, or even evaporated completely. It’s been confusing, like the very skin I’m in doesn’t fit me anymore. My writing and self-expression has very much taken the backseat as I focus on my daughter. Free time nowadays is squeezed in between her naps, and as much as I’d love to write there are too many other things to do. I could write after she’s in bed at night but often I’m so tired that I just wanted to zone out in front of the tv.

However, for some reason something strange happened the other night. For the first time in a long time after putting my daughter to bed, I didn’t sit down and watch Netflix. Instead I had an urge to write. I ended up writing an entire article in one sitting. It was the first time in a long time I did that and it felt incredibly satisfying. I submitted the article to Tiny Buddha and it’s expected to be published in the next few months, I will share it with you once it becomes available. In the meantime, I await my next creative spell knowing that these moments are hard to come by these days. It’s inspired me to search beyond the monotony of daily life, slowly coaxing out that creative energy again.

Here are a few little thought tokens that have acted like little gateways to new ideas, images and writing prompts. I hope they will help you find a sense of uplift in your busy day and maybe, just maybe, lead you back to your own creativity.

DIY good-luck charm

What is your good-luck charm? Many of us know that a four leaf clover is lucky, but it’s not always around us. Nor is it easy to find. So why not create our own? For me, my good-luck charm (at the moment) is a rainbow lorikeet. Specifically when they come to sit on our balcony. They are abundant, yes, but that doesn’t matter. They don’t always appear. Every now and then one or two, or even three will come by for a snack and we all go crazy about it, especially my daughter. I rummage through my cupboard to feed them seeds and raisins and some water in a container. They love it! It makes me so happy to see them, I mean they are literally flying rainbows! It’s also such a wonderful feeling to know that these small little creatures trust me enough to sit on my arm. So my question for you is, is there an animal, or a plant, or anything else, that lives nearby and fills you with joy whenever you see it? Make that your good-luck charm. Make sure to choose something that’s not the most common sight but common enough. Once you’ve chosen something, be prepared to experience a wave of good-luck. This idea has interested me recently because I’ve realised that people who believe they are lucky, attract more luck.

Imagine your entire life changing tomorrow

There are changes going through our family, with new desires and needs. We would like a bigger place to live but unfortunately the prices in our neighbourhood have gone up sky high. It’s looking more and more likely that we will be edged out of this beautiful neighbourhood that I consider home. The other day I went around my neighbourhood to get groceries and take my daughter to the park. Everything was walking distance and so easy to get to. I suddenly stopped taking it all for granted and imagined how it would feel if this place no longer my home. It made me sad and gave a whole new sense of appreciation for it. I came home and unloaded my groceries, stopping for a moment to take in the gorgeous view from my kitchen of coves surrounded by beautiful trees and tiny sailboats. I love where we live, I don’t want to leave. But sometimes life takes on a journey we didn’t plan or expect, and I have to learn to trust in that.

Don’t wait too long to realise your life is pretty good

I remember watching a movie, I’m pretty sure it was the biography of Edith Piaf played by Marion Cotillard and one of the most poignant lines of the film was when she was old and reflecting back on her life realising that it was actually pretty amazing. She says something life, “I realise now, looking back, that my life was quite beautiful. Too bad it took me so long to realise it.” This scene hurt; knowing that she was not even present to the beauty of her life, always wanting something else or more, wanting to change this or that. I related to it strongly. Why must we wait til old age before realising how wonderful things are? Life is not perfect for anyone, but it is the only life we’ve got. There is nothing else we have to hold on to so we might as well take moments to stop and look around and enjoy the good. Because even in the worst moments, there is always something good.

Talking to strangers

My daughter loves to wave, point, and squeal at people. She is keen to start a ‘conversation’ with anyone. I love people like her in general, they make the world feel friendly, warm and inviting. Her particular favorite spot to strike up conversations is at our local grocery store. As I’m paying for groceries I face her stroller outwards so she can ‘chat’ to the staff. Often there is someone who comes over and plays with her and she giggles. It’s so heartwarming. I tend to nod or smile at strangers, but I rarely talk to them. Since having my daughter I’m often talking to strangers. It’s usually older people who are either reminiscing on the days when their kids were young, or others who are just happy to be in the company of a new human who carries zero judgements. Or maybe it’s people who are lonely and desperate for some kind of human interaction. It has reminded me how important it is to be friendly to people. To be the first one to initiate the interaction. To smile, hold the door open, make a joke. Some people have no one to talk to, some people have not smiled in a week. So many people are lonely. Simple exchanged with others can bring so much joy for both parties. After all, we’re social animals!

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