I used to think of getting creative as a distraction. A momentary break from the reality of life.
Now, I think of it as a tool in my toolbelt for navigating real life.
Once you realise this, you are grateful. You will thank God for creativity! Or the Universe, or whatever you believe. Trust me.
For as long as I remember I have struggled to deal with my emotions. Anxiety and depression have reared their ugly heads at different times throughout my life leaving me feeling like a 'basket case' with no ability to control my emotions. As someone who is highly sensitive to those around me, it’s an added burden when things around me get tough.
I FEEL everything...whether it’s family issues, personal challenges or world problems. I FEEL them.
Its taken me a long time for me to realise that I can do everything I can to be my best self in these situations, but after that, allowing the problems to consume me, is simply a form of self sabotage. In fact, I am still learning this. I see how much it takes from my own life but more importantly from the lives of my little family!
I have two little ones, aged 6 and 3, and its taken me until now to realise that when I go downhill, I can be of no service to anyone else. In fact I am doing a disservice.
This year happens to be the most emotionally charged and problematic 6 months I’ve lived through. For myself, my family and our world.
The horrific bushfires at the start of the year that destroyed homes, lives and livelihoods in front of our very eyes. Throw in Covid 19, robbing 100 000's of their lives and changing the way we live and connect overnight. The virus has also taken away my ability to see my family in South Africa and the ‘unknown’ of when this will be given back to me, causes me constant anxiety. What will happen if something happens to one of my parents and I cant get 'Home?' Or I need my mom and she can't get to me in Australia?
Then there is the racial injustice all over the world that is being bought to the forefront and even if you did want to hide your head in the sand about this out of the pure fear of having to hurt, now it is impossible, and rightly so.
Along with my own personal and family issues, the world around me has been hit hard.
YET, despite all of this, the last 6 months have probably been my most hopeful in terms of having the ability to live with my emotions.
Yes, I have sobbed for the world around me. I have sobbed for myself and my family. Very, VERY often. Homeschooling has been more difficult than I imagined and the varied emotions that came from that were overwhelming. I am literally fuming over the fact that there is still so much racial injustice in our world.
But, instead of seeing no 'out' from these emotions and allowing them to consume me, I have allowed myself to really feel them, safe in the knowledge that they will move over me. Even if they will only be gone for a little while before returning. I know I will get a break. I know this because I have found a tool to facilitate that.
I have ensured I have times set aside to completely immerse myself in creativity. I have ensured that I take the gap when I can and even if its 10 minutes of writing, reading, experimenting while creating jewellery or even writing a post to spread my love for it.
During these little stolen moments, I immerse into a different world where nothing else matters other than the gorgeous fabrics I am working with, the exciting designs my mind is putting together or the beauty of the words I am reading or writing.
There’s something magical about being able to allow yourself to be completely absorbed in something where even if its only for ten minutes, you lose track of your sense of self and of time.
And my friends. THAT IS FLOW and I have finally found it.
Finding your flow, even for a moment, reduces anxiety, improves your mood and slows your heart rate. When you immerse yourself in a creative task, whatever it may be, and you succeed in creating a result, dopamine, the feel good chemical, floods your brain. And whether or not you feel it at the time, this injection of motivation or this momentary boost of happiness that you are experiencing, the mere experience itself, will drive you towards repeating this behaviour.
This explains so simply why the more flow I find, the more flow I want and the less overwhelming my feelings feel. I have found a magical tool to help me cater to them.
My name is Kristin and I am addicted to FLOW.