In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert begins with a chapter on courage. Twyla Tharp mentions fear by page fifteen in The Creative Habit and Julia Cameron tackles fear in “Week One: Recovering a Sense of Safety” in her practical guide for creatives, The Artist’s Way. Fear stifles creativity and each of these authors offer tools and techniques to overcome, befriend and manage fear. Gilbert writes that “creative living is a path for the brave… and we all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun. This is common knowledge; sometimes we just don’t know what to do about it” (p.13). She guides readers to make space for fear by acknowledging its relationship to creativity – new ideas may then work their way into awareness and allow curiosity to be one’s shepherd toward new creative adventures. With her prescribed approach, she believes that “sometimes, rarely but magnificently, there comes a day when you’re open enough and relaxed enough to actually receive something. Your defenses might slacken and your anxieties might ease, and then the magic can slip through” (p.36).
Because our nervous system is governed by both the sympathetic and parasympathetic responses, we “must employ a sort of trickery in order to create optimal conditions … to manipulate your excitable self into states of sedation”(The Roll Model, p. 363). Using these states of sedation prompted through self-massage, we can allow the magic that Gilbert identifies to skirt around our fear. When we are relaxed, fear can no longer exact its hold on our creativity.
The following technique is simple. (Be sure to have a notebook and pen handy for after your rolling practice!) Using a Coregeous ball, find a place anywhere in your abdomen that feels tender or tight and drape your body face down over the ball. Hang out and breathe; feel your breath as it moves your abdomen. Notice tightness. Does it change? Does it ease?
As Gilbert recommends in Big Magic, follow your curiosity. Roll the ball to the places that intrigue you, interest you or stay still. Practice this for at least ten cycles of your breath or stay for as long as you feel change continuing to occur. When you are finished, roll off the ball, pause for internal observation. If ideas arise, jot them down in your notebook without judging them. Simply write or sketch allowing anything that surfaced to be captured on the page.
Breath. Feel. Create. Tap into what Gilbert calls “your inherent creativity, humming and stirring quietly in its deep reserve” (p.89). Try this tool to wake the reserve and bring your creativity to life!