Saturday, 6 October 2012

Remember Your Inner Silliness

Recently I read a quote from Eckhart Tolle that said ‘When you lose touch with your inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself.’ In my own just-skimming-the-text way, I read it as ‘When you lose touch with your inner silliness, you lose touch with yourself.’ I did a double take as it didn’t sound at all like Eckhart Tolle; but upon reflection, I like my version better. We do indeed need to stay in touch with our inner silliness. It can be an extremely important part of our creativity as well as our overall well-being!
Creative work can be fun. It can be satisfying. But it can also be quite difficult and feel like an uphill struggle. If we forget to have fun, to add a bit of silliness to our lives, then we are drudgery incarnate! And drudgery stifles creativity. Even if our creative work is something sombre and serious, we need to indulge in a bit of fun to keep ourselves balanced.  Actually, I ought to say that especially if your work is sombre and serious do you need to engage in jocularity.
When you do your creative warm-ups, try adding a touch of silliness from time to time. If you are a musician, play a silly tune; a writer, a limerick that is absurd; a painter, draw something whimsical, etc. Deliberating being silly can open up levels of creativity that you didn’t realize were there. The serious ‘I’ve got to create’ can sometimes block us from doing just that, making the wonderful.
There have been studies done to show that humour and fun can improve one’s creativity. With laughter or a sense of fun, the brain releases endorphins and these endorphins help us to relax and allow creativity to flow more easily. When brainstorming, it seems that the more ridiculous the ideas get the more ideas you have and that leads to coming up with some real gems
There is also something called ‘Laughter Yoga’ which is used to not only relieve stress, depression and for pain control, but it has been found to be a useful tool for boosting creativity. I’ve actually taken part in a laughter yoga exercise and it was really helpful for my creativity. At first it felt absurd to just be laughing while taking on different positions but after a while I just relaxed and the laughter became quite real.
I often feel very anxious before starting a new project. Using the centring techniques, breathing, etc. sometimes don’t seem to have the total desired effect. For those times, watching a few funny clips on YouTube or talking with my sister (who always makes me laugh) are other ways that I help to set myself in creative motion on those particularly tough days.
If you start your work with something fun, it’s less likely that you’ll avoid getting into your workroom or space and doing the work. And the fewer reasons you have to avoid doing your creative work, the more likely it is that you’ll get in there and create and thereby meet your goals. So every now and then, get in touch with your inner silliness because, to quote Oscar Wilde, ‘life is too important to be taken seriously.’

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