Your Creative Dharma
“Do the thing you love to do,
and do it for the joy and the thrill of it.”
Your Creative Dharma is that life-enhancing sweet-spot of expression, purpose, success and, of course, our favourite creative superpower, joy.
Joy is like a golden thread that runs through all aspects of this work.
And today we’re going to explore the role of joy in your creativity and your favourite ways to express your uniquely wonderful creative spirit.
Let’s begin with one of the joys of my creative process…
You may have noticed that I love to share inspiring quotes – little nuggets of wisdom or insight that creative minds have shared over the years.
I love quotes – and I’m not alone, at last check 330,000 people google ‘inspiring quotes’ every month.
I believe we resonate with particular quotes because the originator has, often unwittingly, summed up a truth that we recognise on a soul level.
Of all the many beautiful, inspiring, insightful and eloquent quotes I’ve shared with my audience and in my work over the years, one stands out as the most popular and beloved.
It’s the one quote that gets shared, repinned, and requoted the most.
It’s the quote that prompts the most people to get in touch with me and thank me for uplifting their day or providing a moment of clarity just when they most needed it.
And this short and simple truth that resonates so strongly is this one:
“I want to do it because I want to do it.” ~ Amelia Earhart
I love this quote because it justifies joy as a good enough reason to do something.
I love the defiance of the convention that we should only want to do things that make sense or get results or benefit others.
I love that the courageous and inspiring Aviatrix Amelia stands confidently in her recognition that the force that drives her deserves to be honoured and paid attention to.
I love the idea – and wholeheartedly agree – that joy alone is reason enough.
No further explanation or justification necessary.
And I’m sharing this with you today because this idea can not only transform your results and your experience, it can provide a valuable navigation system for discovering your unique path and purpose, and crafting Your Creative Dharma.
In yesterday’s introduction to The 4th Principle, we explored the idea that we each have a ‘dharma zone sweet-spot’.
And in our vision for Your Creative Dharma, we intend to discover this sweet-spot and begin to live and work and create from this magical zone.
Now, it’s time to get to the work of clarifying and defining what this zone looks like, in detail, in reality – for you.
And our first focus – this being Your CREATIVE Dharma – is to explore the role of creative expression.
But beyond simply doing the work you can do, the work you’re good at, the work you were born to do, or the work that your entire life has prepared you for – we’re seeking the forms of expression that delight you, the creative works and processes that bring you joy, aliveness and flow.
In this first step towards crafting or discovering your dharma zone sweet spot, we’re going to get clear on the creative expression that is the most joyful for you.
Because, well, because…joy!
And like Ms Earhart, we embrace this idea as reason enough.
But happily, there are also lovely ripple effects that will support us in our goal.
Because, as we’ve learned – there is power in creating with joy.
And in Your Creative Dharma, joy is the compass that will guide us to our optimum forms of creativity and expression.
Joy is, once again, both the destination and the route to getting there.
“Never settle for anything
less than joy.”
In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra says;
“When we are in dharma, we enjoy and love our work.”
And I believe that this joyful expression is our birthright, it’s how we are designed to live.
Of course, life is about much more than just joy.
And Your Creative Dharma is about more than simply enjoying your creativity, and we’ll be exploring the other nuances and ingredients over the rest of this week.
But joy is our starting point.
The joyful expression of your creative spirit is the bedrock of Your Creative Dharma.
All the other aspects and refinements build on this first essential ingredient.
And so today we’re going to spend some time examining what that looks and feels like – for you.
“Ecstasy is your birthright,
you do not need to earn your freedom,
you are sanctioned to do your work in the world.”
Your JOYFUL EXPRESSION
So, what’s your most joyful form of creative expression?
What’s your unique gift, your flair?
What could you happily spend all day doing?
When are you joyously connected and driven by your creative genius?
What do you love to create?
We all have different ways to express ourselves, many and varied ways to channel our creative spirit and bring to life the visions and creations that we feel impelled and happy to share.
All of us.
We’re all creative.
Life is a creative act – we create things all the time; families, salaries, evening meals, safe and happy childhoods for our little ones.
Every human can and does create on a general level, all day long.
But each of us also has a special skillset, gift, talent or preferred way to express our creativity – our own personal flow-zone, where the work feels easy, effortless, joyful and inspired.
Yours may be in the traditional creative fields; writing, drawing, playing music, performing, photography, design etc…
Or it may be the hobbies you’re drawn to in your free-time; cooking, baking, crafting, knitting, crochet, flower-arranging, decorating, gardening or dancing.
(Or a spectacular combo of these!)
These are all creative outlets, activities we enjoy purely because they express our inherent creative urge.
Or your creative genius may be a little less obvious.
Perhaps you’re a great listener or peace-keeper, an amazing parent or friend.
Maybe it’s within your day-job – running a business is a highly creative pursuit, as is taking care of a family and home.
Many jobs involve innovative thinking, idea-generating and solution-finding.
This is your creative self in action.
It’s worth really taking the time to identify when and where you express yourself creatively – and when you most enjoy that expression.
This awareness will provide the bedrock for crafting a creative career and lifestyle that you love, the foundation for Your Creative Dharma.
But there are also a number of additional benefits of knowing what Joyful Expression looks like for you.
(These can be helpful for those times when you forget that joy is reason enough to do the Thing You Love To Do…)
THE BENEFITS OF JOYFUL EXPRESSION
1. Creative expression is good for us.
The inner calm and enjoyment of being ‘in the zone’ has positive and lasting effects on our nervous systems.
Being absorbed and engaged in our favourite activities can reduce stress levels and slow down the aging process.
2. When we express our unique talents, we feel competent and accomplished – feelings that are good for us. (And fun!)
These feelings boost our endorphins, our self-esteem and confidence.
When we spend time in our particular zones of genius, we feel good about ourselves – we walk taller.
And, as a happy side effect, we look better too. (Confidence is highly attractive.)
3. Once you’ve identified your particular flow zone – and how important it is – it becomes more obvious that you should make time for it.
For example, if you dismiss your love of journalling as just a whim, it’s very easy to let it get shuffled down the never-ending To Do list.
But when you see just how vital this activity is – for your wellbeing and enjoyment of life – you’re far more likely to make the time for it.
When we know how much it matters, we find a way.
4. Creative expression is a powerful marker for happiness, and when we feel fulfilled and happy, we’re naturally much nicer people.
Indulging in our chosen pursuits make us feel good, and that good feeling is contagious.
We’re more generous, tolerant and forgiving.
Pursuing our most joyful expression is actually a great gift to our families, friends and communities.
Creativity as a humanitarian act.
• • •
So, I hope I’ve convinced you that JOYFUL creative expression is not only a core ingredient of Your Creative Dharma, it is also a factor of a healthy, happy and meaningful life.
Even just a short time spent expressing your unique brilliance can make a positive difference to your day.
If you do this daily, it can spark a happy upward spiral that shapes your whole life.
And like the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings – the ripple effects can reach far and wide.
(Can you imagine a world where everyone does more of what they love to do? Maybe we could paint, bake or fox-trot our way to world peace…?)
So, I hope you’ll embrace this idea, so that you can identify and prioritise the form of expression that most lights you up and makes you feel like you’ve found your groove in the world.
For your health.
For your family.
For the good of the planet.
And of course, for the joy and the thrill of it.
Simply because you love to do it.
After many years of studying philosophy and the meaning of our human journey, I’ve come to believe that we are here for three reasons;
– to enjoy the journey
– to love and uplift our fellow humans
– and to express our divine nature through the unique filter of our individual personalities and preferences
Joyful expression is a mighty combination of both of these raisons d’etre.
A NOTE ON JOY
By now you’re familiar with the idea that joy is a core component of Your Creative Dharma.
But there are different kinds of joy.
Joy doesn’t always mean you are beaming with glee, or even smiling at all.
Sometimes joy can arrive afterwards – the joy of having created, rather than feeling joyous in the moment.
In Positive Psychology, there are two distinct types of happiness;
Hedonistic – the present-moment experience of pleasure, joy or delight,
Eudaimonic – a more reflective sense of fulfilment, satisfaction and feeling good about life.
Both are valid and both have their advantages (and disadvantages.)
Similarly, with joy, there are many layers and degrees of joy, particularly creative joy which can often be intensive bouts of deep concentration and passion.
So in identifying your Joyful Expression, the Thing You Love To Do, be open to your own definition of what feels good to you.
If in doubt, trust how you feel.
Because even though joy may look different in its many incarnations on the surface, I believe we all recognise joy at a soul level, when we encounter it.
So, whatever your joyful expression looks like, if it generates the positive feelings you’d like more of, then that’s the kind of activity to build your creative dharma around.
“Horses understand the whip,
but I don’t want a racer that runs that way.
A horse that loves to run
will beat a horse that’s compelled
every day of the week.”
So, are you on board?!
Hopefully, you’re eager and ready to get clear and confident on your unique brand of joyful creative expression.
Now is your opportunity to explore what this looks like and feels like, for you, in your life, with all its conditions and influences.
In your journal or notebook, write down the ways you love to express your creativity.
They may be traditional creative pursuits or they may be more unconventional.
It doesn’t matter.
And for now, there’s no need to know how you could possibly create a career or business based on this expression.
All you need to do for this exercise and this stage in the process is to get clear on what forms of creative expression bring you joy.
What feels good?
What uplifts and inspires you?
What energises you?
What makes you feel fantastic and in love with life – either during the process or afterwards?
What do you LOVE to do?
Pose these questions to your marvellous mind and make any notes that occur to you, but also keep pondering these questions over the days and weeks ahead.
Keep these notes nearby as a working document as you uncover clues and insights about the details and specific nature of your joyful expression.
We will be revisiting these notes as we go along, so please do give some quality time, attention and thought to this exercise.
But keep it light and playful – trust joy.
And enjoy exploring the pleasures and delights of your creative spirit and its unique expression in the world.
I hope you will enjoy this exercise and please do devote some quality attention to it over the next couple of days.
And I’ll be back soon with the next ingredient of that magical dharma zone sweet-spot…
YOUR CREATIVE DHARMA
EXPRESSION • PURPOSE • SUCCESS • JOY
Photo Credit : Windows: Victor G; Teapot: Will Willert; Mural: Juli Moreira; Lights: Jean-Louis Paulin