Writings, experiences and connected events for the evolution of mind, body and soul.
How to Hibernate Your Way to Creative Manifestation
by Ayan Mukherjee
Do you fondly remember a time in your life when you were rather creative? It might have been during your university days. A time when you were always buzzing with new ideas, playing with them and coming up with genius business plans while trying to finish that assignment late at night.
But now that you are older it’s just not the same anymore. That spark seems to be missing; the beaten path has been walked on, way too many times. You are always go-go-go at home and at work and creativity sounds like so much work.
Well, you are not alone and I have been through the experience of asking myself that dreaded question, “What changed in this picture?” I was more creative during my university years, but it was not that I was less busy. I was equally busy back then, but what is it that has been killing my creativity lately?
The answer that I discovered recently, which changed my life was…
The common definition for hibernation is to curl up in the winter, get cosy and sleep. Yes, sleep does help in recharging us but hibernation is more than just plain, old sleeping. It is about resting the creative part in us and of consciously not being “productive” for some time. Sounds weird? Read on!
Learning from Mother Nature
As humans we feel that we are somehow above nature, but actually we are not. Nature does not produce throughout the year. She sheds her skin in autumn and hibernates throughout winter while reflecting, resting and renewing her creative energies. Our energy levels follow similar cycles and we cannot be productive at all times without adversely depleting our natural creative forces. Just taking a nap will not address the issue. We need to spend time consciously being non-productive or doing the minimal amount of producing until we feel like being creative again.
Twelve Months of Productivity is Not Natural
We live in a goal-driven society. Modern work-life demands that we be productive regardless of our natural productivity cycle. Even when we take a vacation, how many of us are actively planning every minute of our vacation, checking off items to do, see and experience as if it’s a goal that we need to achieve? Being productive, setting goals, getting stuff done, working on house repairs, doing chores… and the list goes on.
The Creative Block
When our creative self has been taken through the wringer, without having had enough time and energy to renew itself, we hit a wall called the creative block, also called the writer’s block. It is when we cannot think out of the box, cannot seem to get out of the daily rut, when nothing inspires us, new ideas seem to no longer approach us. But instead of listening to nature and to our body, what do we do? We push against this block. We brainstorm. Depending on the need for creativity, we either fill ourselves with coffee and do late nights or give it all up at the altar of suburban comfort and the comforting, but numbing embrace of the daily rut.
Personal Tips on Hibernating Effectively
I am no master at the art of hibernation but I have been following some practices—again, without goals or directions, just intuitively—for the last little while. It has resulted in finding my creative rhythm. It has really helped me to develop my career in mental health while working full time at a bank.
Here is what I do: when I start feeling listless, bored or not interested in doing things that I generally enjoy, I take it as a sign from my body to stop. I get a few good nights’ worth of sleep. More than eight hours, if possible.
Apart from doing what I need to do in order to function, I spend time chilling out. I watch movies, go for aimless walks, sit in a park or just stare at the ceiling while lying in bed after I wake up. No agenda, no plans. I might get voices in my head telling me that I need to get busy, but I schedule those tasks if they have to be done and ensure that I have free time.
This is also a time when I actively reflect upon my life: what is working, what is not working, what needs to change and how. But I do not indulge in goal setting right away. Just soulful reflections.
The most important lesson that I have learnt is to really listen to my body in these situations as it is a lot more in sync with nature than my socialized mind.
I hope you find these steps helpful for reclaiming that zing in your life and that spring in your step that you may have lost for the time being.
Ayan Mukherjee is a Registered Psychotherapist, certified hypnotherapist and life coach living and practicing in Toronto, Canada. He brings an eclectic set of therapeutic tools and perspectives to his brand of holistic psychotherapy and views his clients as powerful human beings, regardless of the challenges they face. He is an advocate for eradicating the stigma surrounding mental and emotional health, especially among men. He also labels himself as a data analyst, writer, grounded spiritualist, amateur musician and a connoisseur of new, life-affirming experiences. Get to know him through his website www.ayanrp.com or contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org