I just got back from Waco, Texas where we wrapped up the first-ever Empowering Creativity Retreat! This 4-day workshop is only available to members of The Turquoise Iris’s Creative Connection membership group on Facebook and, being the first one, my only goal was to make sure that nothing went wrong. Not only did nothing go wrong, it was one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had! (And I’m not saying that because we got a chance to visit Magnolia, promise!)
This event turned out to be more important than I ever imagined.
The first thing I did was ask our attendees to do one thing over the course of the retreat: watch. Just sit back, watch, listen, and see the magic that happens when we begin to break down our walls. I know that some of the women who attended sat in their cars, wondering if it was really such a good idea after all. Who wants to bare their soul to 60 strangers?! But they showed up and that alone is courage.
Everyone listened to my advice. They watched as person after person stepped up, opened their hearts, and let down their walls. And when I say there were tears… Y’ALL! These were some of the most cleansing tears the world has ever seen. It was powerful, life changing, and truly inspiring to witness woman after woman embracing her courage.
There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a woman become the person she was always intended to be.
As people watched, and listened, they began to see what was happening. All around us women were lowering their walls, unfurling like new flowers in the spring, and it was inspiring to see the unconditional love and support they received in return. Can you imagine?! We shared our greatest fears and weaknesses and people loved us harder.
Of course the nature of the retreat aspect meant that not everyone was able to attend this truly transformative weekend, but I don’t want you to feel like you will never get to experience what we had in Waco because you can have it right now. For some of us, it took the spotlight and commitment of the retreat to see our own potential, but I think it’s possible to recreate right at home.
Mindset Exercises for Artists
I truly, truly believe that the most powerful tool in any creative’s toolkit is their heart and mind. Those are the places where we find our inspiration and creativity and there is where we need to spend the bulk of our energy. When you’re not at your best, whether you’re feeling like a fraud or you’re fighting that old bully Imposter Syndrome, the act of creating something beautiful becomes about a million times harder! To truly grow and create and evolve as an artist, it’s so important to start with our mindset.
Whether you’re facing a creative block, you’re nervous about taking a big leap, or you’re dealing with some Negative Nellies in your life, the best way to reset is to practice some mindset exercises.
Practice positive self talk.
The only way to improve at anything is to practice, right? It’s why my boys go out to the batting cages at all hours of the day! Practice telling yourself POSITIVE things, like “I am amazing! I am creative! Everyone wants to buy my art for lots of money!” (it can be whatever you want or need to hear), until they become second-nature!
Release your old beliefs.
Sometimes, all the positive self-talk in the world isn’t enough to release the hold of stubborn beliefs that you’re not good enough. One of my favorite activities that we did during the retreat was to write down the limiting beliefs that we no longer want to hold on to.
I’m not good enough.
I’m a failure.
People don’t like me.
I don’t deserve this.
And then we tossed them in a big ol’ bonfire! You don’t even need a bonfire to do this one at home! Take out a piece of paper and split it into two sides. On one side, write the belief you’d like to release. On the other, write a replacement belief. For example:
I am a failure. | I get to define my own success.
Rip off those old beliefs and toss them in your fireplace, throw them in the trash, or rip that paper into tiny pieces until all you’re left with is the good. Whatever you do, make sure that you take the time to reflect on the process and enjoy the catharsis.
Find your community.
Look for the people in your life who consistently lift you up. Haven’t met any yet? There are tons of online communities (including mine!) where you can find other creatives who will empower and inspire you.
Listen and watch.
I think you’ll find that there is a lot of inspiration that exists already in your daily life. Look for the small acts of courage, like a child standing up to a bully or a friend brave enough to ask for help, and allow them to strengthen you, too.
Vulnerability is powerful; it’s the reason that the retreat was so life-changing. There is magic in watching others learn to believe in themselves and love themselves so much that they lower the walls. While it took some of our attendees four days to do that, it could take you longer. Challenge yourself to find small ways to be vulnerable and then see what can happen when you let people in.
The best thing I have ever done to help myself grow as an artist and a person is to help others grow, too. We rise faster when we rise together. To see someone recognize and share their gifts is to experience grace, and that’s something we can always use a little more of.
Please take a moment today to recognize the power, strength, and creativity within yourself and call it out. Write it down. Look in the mirror and thank yourself for being so amazing!