Thursday, May 31, 2012

Exercising creative muscles.

Bear with me. I feel an analogy coming on...

I injured my right ankle months ago, and every time it was almost healed, I re-injured it. I had constant deep pain, but no limp. My husband insisted that I go to a physical therapist, and I insisted I not.

Finally he took matters in his own hands and contacted a physical therapy clinic. They called me to make an appointment. I went, dragging my feet (so to speak). I was certain the therapist would recommend I wear a boot to protect the ankle from further injury as it healed. Surely the only way for it to improve was to pamper it and not put weight on it, right? I didn't want the inconvenience.

But nooooooo! That's not the way it turned out. Instead, the therapist manipulated my ankle. (Feel free to imagine me on the exam table with her standing over me, twisting my foot this way and that, while laughing maniacally.) There was popping and crunching and stretching, and then she turned me over to her assistant who made me do a variety of exercises. After that, I was sent home with instructions for more torture to inflict upon myself.

That ritual repeated itself twice a week for about three weeks. And now the ankle pain is gone.

As I reflected on the experience, I related it to creativity.

Sometimes I falter. What I'm trying to create doesn't turn out the way I'd like. It falls flat. It stinks. It's broken. Then I beat myself up (I'm really, really good at that) and injure myself with thoughts such as who do you think you are? You can't do this.

I re-injure my ego and continue to hurt.

Then I think the best thing to do -- the only way to heal -- is to leave it alone. Stop creating until it feels better.

But that's not the case. Instead, I need to work it, twist it, turn it, and stretch it. My creativity only improves when I use it. I need to exercise my creative muscles. And then it gets better.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are absolutely right! I am in the same boat.