Guest Scribe Andrew Bathory: Awaken Your Creative Voice
Is it just me, or do we all long for the days when it was completely acceptable to finger paint for the afternoon and play dress up alone in the basement while your mother listened to Celine Dion and vacuumed the house? Okay so maybe it wasn’t Celine, and maybe it was your father, and maybe you had other hobbies that you chose to engage in, but seriously, were those not the best days ever?! When and why did that change? At what point did we stop giving ourselves permission to play?
Don’t get me wrong – productivity, work, and setting goals are all very important life skills. And of course making a living, keeping a steady job and providing for yourself and your loved ones is essential to living and maintaining a healthy and happy life. But at what cost? Does this mean that we must always be serious and spare no time to be creative, playful and engaging along the way? I think NOT. In fact, I would argue that the more creative, the more playful, and the more engaging you feel in your daily life, the more you will begin to enjoy your life in a more connected, creative and gratifying way.
Now, perhaps you would love nothing more than to play all day, but instead you spend 50+ hours a week working, and can’t imagine finding any time to spare for finger paints and beading your yoga mat strap. Not to worry – I have a new practice that you might consider incorporating into your day to day routine that takes little time and offers considerable reward.
Morning Journal – this practice may take a week or two to fully integrate into your life, but I assure you that this has been, for me, one of the most powerful practices I use. It helps to enhance creativity, clarity and my ability to express myself more authentically not only internally but also externally to the world around me.
Like anything else worth having, good things take time and dedication to attain. Starting with a dedication to set your alarm half an hour earlier than usual so that you can add this morning practice to your day. I know that might sound tough, but this time of day is crucial to this practice, and I assure you that it gets easier with time. And as always, it is important to remember to approach your practice with care, love and a sense of light heartedness.
What you need:
~A genuine interest in becoming more creative, playful, engaged in your life.
~Paper* (either in a notebook, recycled scrap paper, or if you’re paperless, your ipad or computer).
~Writing Utensil* (pen, pencil, crayon, marker, keyboard)
*whatever you choose, make sure it’s easy for you to access easily in the morning. I suggest recycled paper and any writing utensil you have that works. If you’re sensitive about pens or type of paper, honour that; but just be sure to choose the elements that will help you feel at ease in the process – even if that means using the sketchbook app on your iPad.
What you do:
I suggest one of two things – either write stream of consciousness (whatever words come out of your fingers to the pen and onto the page) or write and also feel free to sketch whatever patterns, lines, shapes, or colours that want to come out. Try to do this without judging that which is coming out of your pen. Consider it as a meditation on being present and letting your creative juices flow. Try to write three full pages, no matter how long it takes. Some days will be easier, some more challenging, stick with it – it’s worth it, I promise.
Set the intention that you will do this practice every day for 3 weeks to start – give yourself one day off a week to keep it manageable – and witness the shifts that begin to take place.
Remember: It should not be a stress, but consider it a gift you’re giving to yourself first thing each day.
As the time goes on, notice how much easier it becomes to integrate this practice into your daily life. Also, take the time to notice throughout your day how a more connected part of yourself becomes included in your work, your thoughts, and your other practices (yoga, meditation, etc.)
This practice is something that I encourage you to continue beyond the three weeks, understanding that WHAT you write or draw doesn’t matter; what matters is the act of engaging your uncensored creative brain first thing in the morning, allowing you to include that side of you in the way you express, approach, and live your life. Take time for more creativity and free flowing expression, and see how this morning practice can liberate your creative voice throughout your life. You have it in you already; just give yourself permission to let it out and have fun.
~Andrew Bathory is a yoga teacher and voice artist, currently living and working in Montreal, QC. We loved meeting Andrew at Wanderlust Tremblant, where he infused our festival with play and assisted yoga goddess Elena Brower. When not in the studio, you might find him on his bike, playing in the park, or in his kitchen whipping up delicious snacks. For info on Andrew and his class schedule, check out his website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.