When my thoughts get stuck in spin-cycle, it’s usually because I’m trying to vision a new way of doing something through an old pair of problem-solving lenses. I’m trying to create something new with an old structure. Other times, it’s because I have so much jammed in my mind that I can’t “see” it well enough to organize it. So, I need to get it out in front of me.
One way I do that is by using sticky-notes of various sizes. I color code them and write one item on each note. It doesn’t matter if I’m creating a giant to-do list, creating schedules or writing an article. I find it really helpful to do a big brain-dump of every item related even slightly to the project and then post them on a blank wall. I’m able to then organize them freely by moving them about until their final format completely resonates with me. By completely, I mean with my body, mind, heart and spirit.
This is also a great process of elimination, because it gives me a reality-check as to how much time I really have and how many things I think I can do in that amount of time. A few “heck yes!” items really stand out on a wall full of “interesting.”
When I am working on a new project, workshop, marketing plan or just creating clarity about who I am becoming now, I will use large re-stickable flip-chart papers. I fill them up with lists, mind-maps, constellations, symbols and images that have something to do with whatever it is I am working on. I don’t always know what it has to do with the project when I add it to the sheet, but the juxtaposition of things sparks ideas. I use plenty of color and I devote each chart to a separate subject. I might mind-map it, collage images and words, show how things connect. Again, it’s a brain dump that gets it out of my head and in front of me where I can see it. These I post all over the walls of my office so that I can see them individually and together.
When I have a period of multiple synchronicities, animal messages, email messages, read a sentence or paragraph that syncs up with something else that’s going on for me, I doodle with them and put them all on one sheet of paper. Then I look for the feedback they are giving me regarding the reality I am creating.
I don’t stop at the notion that a synchronicity tells me I’m on the right path. I assume it tells me to take notice. Recently, I mentioned to a friend that if it feels like the Universe is hitting me on the head with a repeated message or messenger, I could just as easily assume it’s because I’m NOT getting something and need to pay attention as I could assume it is affirming my direction.
A friend of mine, writing coach and author, Judy Duenow (Judy Baer), once advised me to put all my notes for a book in a basket and let them compost. I like that composting notion and here’s what I’ve added to it. If I’m working on a conundrum, a mystery with which I am living, I move the giant flip-chart papers to my bedroom walls so that they surround me as I sleep.
Words, symbols, images all have vibrations. Their impact is powerful if often subtle or denied. (This is one reason why vision boards can be so helpful in manifesting our desired outcomes.) I’ve noticed that when I put the papers up on my bedroom walls, I have vivid and helpful dreams, insights pop up from my intuition and meditations and answers come to me without my mind getting all knotted up over it. The results are generally more meaningful and creative, when my integral whole (body, mind, spirit, heart) is involved in this composting method, than when my mind takes charge. I get to think outside my normal box, my normal pattern of logic, or otherwise-logic as it were.
It takes patience, though, and I do have to sacrifice nice artwork and décor so that I have blank walls with which to work. My answers might not meet a deadline, but they almost always will be satisfying. I find less resistance to getting into action when body, mind, spirit and heart are aligned. I’ve discovered that mind loves the extra help and gets to relax a bit. It takes a willingness to live in the dreaming space for an undetermined amount of time and it’s worth it. There’s a lot of tension in not knowing and that tension is the sweet spot of creativity. Creativity loves mystery.
So give it try! The next time you find yourself in a mental spin-cycle, get out the sticky-notes, flip-chart papers, colorful pens, images, scissors and glue and let yourself dawdle a little. Get unstructured. Doodle and noodle. Then let it compost on your walls for awhile and see what new perspectives, connections and ideas arise for you. Let me know how it goes.
Copyright (c) June 2009, Kathy Loh, All Rights Reserved