In the years I’ve been taking a conscious approach to my creative life, there have been multiple times I noticed myself making different choices or having different reactions than I would have in the past. Last week, I wrote about my experience at the Dirty Dancing audition, which was quite a feat.
This week, I want to talk about the creative equivalent of postpartum depression.
(Especially since we are celebrating the completion of the Creative Fridays Showcase and what a fantastic experience that was for the performers and audience alike.)
You know that moment after you complete a big project, performance, or other creation that you had poured your heart and soul into?
That moment when a deep feeling of emptiness takes hold and you worry that you might never create anything again?
That moment. The creative postpartum blues.
Of course it can be sad. When you complete something that you’ve put a lot of work into, there is a natural void that takes hold in your life. You might say goodbye to certain people who were in the process with you. You might all of a sudden feel less purpose or motivation when you wake in the morning.
But here’s the question that can change everything -
What if the emptiness didn’t have to be a negative thing?
You see, the problem isn’t the void or empty feeling. That’s actually quite natural and part of the ebb and flow of the creative process, and of life.
The problem is the judgement you put on it.
When you make it into the end of the world, it becomes a drag. When you learn to embrace this phase of your creative process, you can feel quite free.
Here are a few of the common postpartum patterns I’ve noticed over the years in my coaching practice and in my own creative life:
“Oh, I could’ve done that better…”
“Her thing was so much better than mine…”
You focus right away on everything wrong with what you did or didn’t do. You avoid taking in compliments or celebrating yourself.
2. Moving on:
Starting a different project immediately
Stopping creative process altogether
You don’t give yourself space to look at what you accomplished, but instead move quickly onto something new. You might even abandon your creative pursuits altogether.
3. Feeling down / Stuffing down:
Self-medicating with substances (food/alcohol/drugs)
You get weighed down by the empty feeling and shut off your emotions. You might stuff down the feelings with overeating or using substances to avoid feeling anything.
Take note of which patterns you identify with, or write down your own unique flavor.
And here’s the invitation:
If you feel those patterns coming up, take a moment to pause.
Breathe deep and close your eyes.
And do something that few dare to do:
Allow yourself to feel this side of the creative process.
Allow tears or sobbing heaves to be released if they need to.
Allow yourself the gift of tuning in without pressure to fix or change what’s coming up for you.
There is so much power in feeling into the emptiness.
The creative muses don’t like to be forced. They will shower their inspiration upon those who are most open and ready.
So keep your channel open and get friendly with the Void. It’s there to hold your hand until a new spark of inspiration is ready to be born within you.
How do you feel after a big performance or project completes?
How do you want to rewrite your postpartum patterns?
Take a moment and let your voice be heard in the comment box below.
You’re not alone.
dancing with the void,