By Lisa Agaran
Have you stopped to notice how we conditioned ourselves through our senses? Repeated connections to smells, sounds and our surroundings slowly train our brain to respond automatically. It could be the aroma of coffee in the morning that prompts the mind to begin to awaken. Or a song that gears us up for working out. It could be the way the ambient light softens our mood in a candle lit room. What we often take for granted, slowly become triggers. In the same way, our senses can also become a vehicle to arouse creativity. Because many creative individuals posses an attuned sensitivity to their environment and experiences, this can be an effective tool to utilize for creative productivity.
What Surrounds You?
Many have referred to it as a “sacred space.” It could be your office, studio or even a corner of your family room. Is your surroundings nurturing your muse or hindering it? Is there clutter? Or is it open and spacious, allowing your imagination to freely flow? In the Feung Shui philosophy, it is believed that clutter may cause one to feel sluggish and unmotivated. Is your space a place where creativity can flourish?
Take a look around. What symbols decorate your area? What kinds of pictures or artwork are hanging on the walls? What items do you regularly glance upon? Do these items hold a positive meaning for you, or do they represent aspects of yourself you’ve out grown? The space we frequently create in should be surrounded with the things that offer inspiration. In my own studio, I often have quotes, other artist’s work and objects from places that inspire me.
The sense of smell is one of the senses that is hotwired directly to the brain. Scent instantaneously triggers memory recall and a flow of thoughts closely intertwined with feelings and emotions. This is why a single whiff of an aroma can unexpectedly thrust us back to a place and time.
With aromatherapy, essential oils are used to evoke positive emotions. For instance, essential oils such as clary sage, citrus, lemon and bergamot are used to boost creativity and inspiration. I regularly use Aura Cacia “Creative Juice” Essential Oil in my studio to jump start the creative process.
The use of incense is another way to magically dissolve stresses of the day and helps us become mindful of our present moment. What particular scent or aroma transforms your creative space?
Music has been used to shift moods for as long as we can remember. We now know that music produces certain chemicals in our body like serotonin (the “feel good” chemical). It can increase or decrease blood pressure, effecting levels of energy. We also know that music enhances the connection between both sides of the brain, which aids the flow of information during the creative process.
The type of music is a very personal preference. For most of us certain styles, certain songs can elicit a specific emotion. Music can also be spiritual for some and opens up gateways into the imagination. Playing music that inspires and moves you not only stimulates the muse, but also creates an atmosphere, which can boost the creative experience.
How is the lighting in your space? Does the fluorescent overhead cast a greenish tint, leaving you feeling depleted? Or is your space bathed in natural light? Does the sun peek through windows as it rises up to greet your creative spirit? Take notice of how lighting effects your motivation and inspiration. Lighting is essential when generating an atmosphere that nourishes your creativity and plays a vital part in productivity. It may require adjusting some fixtures in your office or studio, changing some bulbs or finding ways to allow more daylight in.
Time of day
For some artists, during nocturnal hours when the rest of the world is sleeping provides chunks of uninterrupted time. For others, after a good nights rest, they are more ready to perform their craft when their creative energy is replenished. What time of day do you feel you most thrive creatively? Are there particular times when you feel most inspired? Or when your energy is dwindling? Honoring your own natural cycle and utilizing it to your advantage can prove to be more productive in helping you connect to your creative juices.
Solitude versus the company of others
Although solitude is essential for most creative work, long periods of isolation can sometimes leave you feeling uninspired. Placing yourself around a group of other creative individuals who are actively creating in their lives can rub off. Some artists have found it productive to do their work in the same room surrounded by others who are also creating. This is why taking a class or workshop can offer creative motivation. Others might choose to take their creative work outside the studio or office and to a local coffee house or café in order to be around people.
Observing and visually absorbing the works of other artists can spur inspiration and also the incentive to create. I have heard many artists expressing the fear that if they spent too much time looking at other artist’s work, it might interfere with establishing their own unique style. When in reality, we all learn from each other and even the great artists of our time have been influenced by each other. This is why visiting a museum, walking through a gallery or even browsing through Pinterest online can stimulate your creative juices. If you’re a writer, reading a piece by your favorite author, or if you’re a musician listening to one of your favorite songs can offer a healthy dose of creative nourishment. Don’t be afraid to soak it all in. This is also how we train our eye and become more skilled artistically.
Utilizing the senses can help the creative person call to their muse and awaken that inner artist, especially during times when inspiration and creative motivation is hard to find. If made part of a ritual that is established in your creative space, overtime the creative spirit is automatically awakened by a scent, song, a piece or surroundings.
©2017 Lisa Agaran. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reproduced or used on other websites without permission.