HOW to expand our imagination and creativity isn’t taught at Fine Arts College.* I had to figure that out on my own and it took almost the rest of my life to do that.
For me, to get my creativity to flow and to expand my imagination, I open wide the doors to my intuition and world of dreams.
You can say I’m naturally weird, because I’ve never taken or felt the need to take drugs or substances to let loose for enjoyment or for tapping into my creativity or spirituality.
To energize my visual, written and sound art, and even the organizations I founded, I’ve tapped into my creative Source in different ways.
Here’s are 10 ways to expand your work, creativity and imagination, including some strange, far-out ways:
- Play music for your creativity and imagination. For me Pilgrimage, Deep Forest, Lisa Gerrard and Dead Can Dance have been conducive for my creativity. Yours can be any music that let’s you relax deeply or amp up your energy. See this list for more youtube music videos for creativity>
- Capture your dreams in a journal kept by your bedside. Do this if you’re on a streak of having weird dreams that stand out for you. Or even if you’re not. Write down dreams or just your feelings and thoughts. Journal in the mornings regularly, after you wake up, as this is the time that you’re most open to your intuitive, creative, imaginative self. A journal is a concrete item that you can hold in your hands. It’s something that honors and affirms you, your dreams, intuition, thoughts and feelings. It is a vessel for creative treasures from your subconscious.
- Allow yourself quiet time to just let your thoughts and even daydreams flow. Ideas and concepts are floating out there in the Universe and are waiting to connect with you when you’re receptive. In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert describes that “ideas spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners… When an idea thinks it has found somebody — say, you — who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit. It will try to get your attention.”
- Doodle, take notes and make mind maps. If you’ve imagined new ideas in your head, practice writing them down, it’s the next step in bringing them to fruition.
- Vary your routine. Do your usual things differently every now and then. Example, if you walk or drive somewhere, like home or work, and have a usual same route, then change it and go down another road or turn for a change. If you brush your teeth in quiet then try humming a tune or even dancing while you do it next time. Varying your routines calls for creativity and imagination!
- Read on various topics that interest you, online or off, in discussion boards, blogs, books, comics, magazines, or watch films, use on youtube, vimeo or wherever. It’s a practice that keeps you tapped into the world of knowledge and what other people bring into the world. Others’ works can stimulate and trigger your thoughts and imagination. Take notes in your head or in a notebook. Highlight phrases. Doing this has helped me assemble pieces and snippets of my own ideas into something more whole and cohesive.
- Take time for yourself in nature — take walks, go fishing, or sit at a park bench or picnic table. Take in the view. Jot down any spontaneous thoughts into a notebook or your smartphone notes app. Or even record them into your smartphone’s voice recorder app. Or just simply be there.
And to make this a total of 10 ways, here now are three, super out-there, and surprisingly powerful ways to expand your imagination:
8. Listen to meditation sounds or guided meditations because they can stimulate your creative brain. And if you’re lucky, this can induce visions.
For theta brain wave meditation sounds I’ve used Kelly Howell’s Brain Sync series for years, including Increase Creativity: Open Channels to Inspiration. Listen to the sounds with headphones. You can fall asleep to her brain music or sit comfortably with it.
Guided meditations, specifically for creativity, relax your mind, bring you into a theta brain wave state, and are structured to lead you into the realms of new concepts and ideas, solutions, and fantastic visions or waking dreams. Get Victoria Gallagher’s Creativity and Imagination Meditation or check out this list of free guided meditations for creativity at YouTube.
Next, go deeper and try sacred interconnection.
9. Do an imagination ritual. Make your creativity and imagination a sacred thing by doing a small ritual. Select any time convenient for you — before bedtime, in the morning after you wake up, etc. Write on a piece of paper this phrase or your own version: I am open to the Universe enriching and expanding my dreams, creativity and imagination.
Place the paper on a special place, on a table or counter, put a candle on top of it, light the candle. Better yet put it at an altar in your home, or if you don’t have one then maybe it’s time for you to create one with flowers, things special and sacred to you, and symbols that represent earth, water, air, fire.
The practice of connecting to Sacred Source or the unseen creative force of the Universe, can be a mind-bending, spirit-expanding experience and opens up your journey as a creative person.
10. Try drumming circles or dream journey circles with experienced people. The drumming and the ritual honor your sacred connection to the divine that exist in the dimensions of the Upper, Middle and Lower worlds.
For those of you who are exploring such a new experience, it’s important that you proceed with it only if you’re comfortable. If you’re excited that’s great about doing it that’s great. But really gauge if this is a fit for you.
The drone of the drumming relaxes your mind and brings about a theta brain wave state. This experience can bring you into a state conducive to connecting to the realms of the imagination and also that of the divine.
The power of my waking dreams
Dream journeying IS the strangest and most powerful thing that yields fantastic dreams and visions for me. They’ve been intense experiences of stirring my wildest imaginations. In my dream journeys, I have had vivid waking dreams.
In my very first dream journey, I saw many “dreams” in a very relaxed state, half awake, half asleep.
One of my first and most wild dream journeys was of a visit to the moon, this was the dream prompt. I saw and heard hundreds of stampeding, glowing white horses, their manes flowing in the wind, their chests heaving, their legs furiously grinding into black space… upon reaching the dark side of the moon, I met a moon goddess/diwata/nymph/devata, wearing a crown topped with a sphere bigger than her head.
This mysterious woman was totally covered in sheer, white veils, and she danced in rhythm with the drumming, swaying back and forth with her arms raised. I began to sway with her.
In another dream journey, I met a giant white winged horse, who flew on a spectrum of colored waves of light, launching me into a distant galaxy… I experienced an indescribable connection with Cosmic forces.
I’ve also had dark dreams… in another dream journey I came upon glossy, black, baby forms. They were embracing, snuggling, pushing into a shadowy megalith that cradled them. My root chakra was intensely energized and I felt a deep, inexplicable connection to the Earth.
Vividly connecting to your creative state through meditation and drumming circles can be very trippy.
My crocodile dream.
I’ll share a waking dream that profoundly, affected my creativity, and my spirituality. It was one spontaneously brought on by music played on a harp by my amazing, lovely friend Lizae. Her musical ritual had no symbols or prompts in the introduction. It was simply given to prepare us for having dreams when we slept that night. Lizae’s ceremony included rose tea that she tenderly poured in delicate cups.
The experience was magical.
As I savored the rose tea, I felt a deep love for Life, and I had a sudden, vision of a baby white crocodile next to the tray of tea cups on the sofa table before me. I blinked my eyes to make sure I really was seeing this animal spirit. And there she still was, showing off her curling, jagged tail!
During this meditation, Frances, a young woman whose sacred art form was dancing, was inspired to move, flowing through the center of the room with grace and fluidity.
Frances, too, was seeing and feeling a crocodile, one that was swimming under water. She shared her vision with me next morning.
The white crocodile continued to visit me in dreams and in other drumming circles for 3 years when I finally painted her.
Mind you, I hadn’t painted on canvas for over 20 years, since college. The dreams and visions of the crocodile, an amazing tree, and a woman with white hair had visited me for sometime already.
I was finally able to release these visions into the world by painting them.
The magic of tapping into the mysterious and bringing it forth.
In creativity, you have to be willing to expand yourself and connect to things that are outside and much bigger than you, things that are unseen but out there. The ability to connect to the sacred (including Creative Cosmic Forces, mysterious ideas, solutions and things) and bring them forth is like doing magic.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear that creativity is a magical process of uncovering, connecting with the consciousness of all kinds of ideas — artistic, scientific, industrial, commercial, ethical, religious, political — each a jewel waiting to be found:
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place — that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. The often surprising results of that hunt — that’s what I call Big Magic.”
Even Julia Cameron in the Artist Way says the process is magic:
“The language of art is image, symbol. It is a wordless language even when our very art is to chase it with words. The artist’s language is a sensual one, a language of felt experience… The artist brain is the sensory brain: sight and sound, smell and taste, touch. These are the elements of magic, and magic is the elemental stuff of art.”
Creativity and imagination are, by no means, a mundane endeavor. To let them flow within you, you must be willing to surrender to the mysterious and unexplainable.
Venture into dream journeys with people who are experienced. I’ll share why later, if you ask me. ;)
*author went to the College of Fines Arts, at UP Diliman.
I’ve recently admitted to myself that I’m a weirdo disguised as a normal person.
If you enjoyed my list, let me know by clicking on the little heart, or happy hands, or heart.