creative flow morning practice guidelines

Below you’ll find creative flow morning practice guidelines, for those who are joining in our morning sessions on Facebook Live and those who would like to join us.

For years now, inspired by other female creative facilitators like Dorothea Brande, Julia Cameron, Brenda Ueland and Natalie Goldberg, I’ve done three flow practices almost daily:

  • Effortless Exercise for body
  • F-r-e-e-writing for mind
  • Inspiration Meditation for spirit

Creative Flow Morning Practice Guidelines: When & Where Can I find the Sessions?

Since July 2018 I’ve been using Facebook Live Video to offer two of these to members of a closed Facebook Group, the Creativist Club Cafe.

The sessions run from Monday through Thursday each week, unless I’m on holiday, and you can join live at London time 7.25am. But the idea of doing it on video is that you can join in whenever you rise, wherever you are in the world.

Creative Flow Morning Practice Guidelines: What Is Creative Flow Practice?

There are two aspects to our practice: Inspiration Meditation and F-r-e-e-writing and you’ll need to devote 40 uninterrupted mins or so (5 mins at the start to get ready for Inspiration Meditation, 5 mins in the middle to get ready for F-R-E-E-writing, and 15 minutes each devoted to each of the two practices).

If you think that’s a waste of your creative time, know that you can fit it in in 15 min increments on a commute, or over a coffee.

Most of all, know that time for a creative is not a zero-sum equation.  There are three dimensions to time and more power in one drop of pure creative flow than in gallons of will-powered sweat.

Creative flow practice doesn’t take time, it makes time.

Creative Flow Morning Practice Guidelines: About Inspiration Meditation

Inspiration Meditation is a form of meditation that uses sound and the absence of sound as its focus. It is specially designed for febrile creative minds that can find it hard to settle.

When you become practiced at meditation, it’s easier to slip into the create state, any time, any place but when we’re beginning, or returning to practice after a time away, or when life is especially challenging or our minds especially active–as the minds of those of us in creative business often are–we need a method to settle us back down into the deeper dimensions.

Inspiration Meditation is the most effective method I know.

Inspiration Meditation has three components:

  1. A word phrase
  2. The spaces between the words of the phrase
  3. The sound of All

Words have great power. Because language is so every day, we often overlook its significance, but sound, originating as a vibration, has the power to deeply affect consciousness. Language, music, everyday sounds and the “sound of silence” all can alter our feelings and experience of life.

Although physically expressed as sound and silence, the real essence of Inspiration Meditation is the soundless focusing of mental and imaginative faculties by drawing the attention inwards, leading to subtle alterations in consciousness, that radiate outwards and inwards.

It’s also a profoundly pleasing experience once you are settled in.

The Phrase
The words we most often use during our morning flow practice are Know  ~ Truth ~ Open ~ Allow. 

A full Inspiration Meditation session using the full phrase takes about 30 minutes. In our 15-minute morning flow practice session, we work with some of the words.

You can also work with it any time during the day, using any two words e.g. your first name and surname

During the meditation, each word is separated out and repeated. So the words are not approached in the logical, linear, sense-driven way we normally approach a sentence.

It is not really a sentence. It makes some sense, but its meanings and emphases are not fixed.

Or you may find that the repetition has the curious effect of detaching them from what they normally mean. This, too, is fine.

The Space
Just as important as the words in the phrase are the spaces between the words.

Everything that exists arose from nothing, is surrounded — inside and out — by nothing and will return to nothing.

Unlike words and experiences and things, silence and space and nothingness cannot be divided or categorized.

Words contain silence, and silence contains words. Experiences contain space, and space contains experiences. Nothingness contains things, and things contain nothingness.

Inspiration Meditation draws attention to this interplay of form and formlessness.

The Sound of All
The word “All” contains the vowel sound that is found in so many of the names given, over the centuries, to what is most commonly in Western culture called God: Yahweh, Allah, Ra, Jehovah, Krishna, Kali, Yeshua, Tao, Shiva…

It is also the sound in Mom and Dad, Mama and Papa, Gran and Granddad. The sound of satisfaction. The sound in art. The sound in heart.

As All is sounded into the space between the words of the Inspiration Meditation phrase, new meanings emerge:

Know ~ All ~ Your ~ All ~ Truth ~ All ~ In ~ All ~ Me ~ All ~ Open ~ All ~ Allow ~ All ~ Be.

Again, let such meanings rise without weighing them with any more thought. Sound the sound of the words and return to the space between the words.

Inspiration Meditation Q&A

How Should I Sit? Do I Have to Sit Crosslegged?

In theory, meditation can be done in any position, sitting, standing or lying down. In practice, many people find the metaphysical freedom meditation offers is most easily accessed through a little physical discipline.

In other words: your body demonstrates your intention to your mind.

The postures and breathing exercises recommended by the ancient sages are those most likely to deliver the mental shift we seek in meditation, especially when starting out.

Inspiration Meditation can be done lying flat on your back (as in the yoga pose Shavasana); standing (like Tadasana); sitting in a chair with the feet flat on the floor,  or sitting on the floor in the classic, cross-legged seven-point posture of meditation.

Whichever you choose, in all positions, keep your spine straight and your shoulders, neck and face relaxed; your eyes gently closed; your lips in a half smile; your teeth unclenched; your jaw released; your tongue loose in your mouth; the muscles of your face at ease. Make adjustments with small micro-movements to ensure that you are comfortable.

If sitting, your hands can be cradled, one on top of the other below the navel, elbows held slightly out from your body. If lying, keep your arms by your side in a relaxed position, palms turned upwards.

● If you really need to move while meditating, because of pins and needles, or a cramp, or any other discomfort, that’s fine. Move slowly and quietly, in harmony with the breath, retaining mindfulness.

● A slight anxiety, or an itch, or a wish to move is best observed rather than acted on. It will pass.

● If you find yourself falling asleep during meditation, it means that you are sleep deprived. You will find that regular meditation induces more, or better quality, rest.

● If you need a certain posture, or cushion, or to be with a group in order to meditate well, ensure that you have it. Know yourself. Meet your own needs.

I Can’t Stop My Thoughts?

When you meditate, no matter what technique you use, your thinking mind will produce thoughts. Thoughts are the breath of the mind; we cannot stop them for long. But we can slow them. We can become aware of them. We can learn to observe them. And in so doing we find that we can, every so often, for a while, let them go.

As you embark upon Inspiration Meditation, lay down all expectations or demands and allow what is to be. There is no such thing as a bad meditation. Any time spent in silence is (in)valuable, even if thoughts keep twirling throughout. Fold away your judgements – of what is happening in the session, of what should be happening, of what would be better if only … Just observe. Rather than adding thought to thought, let it be.

That open, welcoming awareness of what actually is, regardless of what your will, your con-mind wants: that is the meditative state. That is your creative consciousness surfacing. You enable it to arise by being gentle and easy with yourself. You cannot chase it or force it. You can only succumb to it. Surrender is the action that allows it to be.

Meditation is a practice, not an accomplishment. The only way you can “fail” is to choose not to do it. And if you don’t do it today, well, just gently bring yourself to practise tomorrow. Stay with it.

I Really Can’t Stop My Thoughts.

Really, stay with it.

I Keep Falling Asleep

You are sleep deprived. Many people are, particularly those with over-demanding jobs or relationships. The non-stop thinking during the day degrades the quality and quantity of sleep at night. Inspiration Meditation will enable you to break this pattern. Once you’re fully rested,  you’ll be able to sit or lie in meditation without dropping off. And you’ll enjoy every other aspect of your life a whole lot more too.

Creative Flow Morning Practice Guidelines: About F-R-E-E-Writing

  1. Keep writing until the time is up. Write for 15 minutes and then stop.
  2. Don’t stop to read what you’ve written or have a think. Think on the page.
  3. If necessary, write nonsense, or “I can’t think what to write” over and again, until you can.
  4. If you feel bored or uncomfortable as you’re writing, ask yourself what’s bothering you and write about that. Write about how you don’t like doing this, how you resent being here, and see what emerges next.
  5. Do whatever you need to do to keep the words flowing out of you onto the page.

Write Fast

Write as fast as you can. Keep your hand moving until you stop.

As you write, no thought or image should be welcomed because it is optimistic or positive, and no thought or image should be rejected because it is negative.

Don’t avoid the familiar or the boring or the petty. Keep going, through the boredom. Bleak and boring bits often produce the greatest insights when we f-r-e-e-write our way through.

Write about how you are boring yourself. Let the words tell you what the boredom is hiding. 

Or not. 

If you feel nothing in your mind, you can just describe your shoes, or write a word or phrase over and over (“nothing, nothing, nothing,” or “I hate this, I hate this”).

Other words will soon rise, they can’t help themselves. At this point in human development, our brains pump words like our lungs pump breath, like our hearts pump blood.

Fast doesn’t mean tense, anxious, or stressed. Decompress your jaw, relax your tongue, sit freely in the chair, breathe slowly, and let your feelings deepen and open. It’s fine to relax your muscles and to pause briefly, but don’t pause to reread what you’ve just written. That leads to stalling and attempting to control or refine first thoughts.

Instead, write a little faster. And when you find yourself slowing, write faster again.

Write without stopping until you have completed the time or page space you have allocated to the exercise.

Don’t think, just write.

Let the words flow. Lose control. Write f-r-e-e…

Write Raw

As you f-r-e-e-write, pay no attention whatever to style or expression. Just write the thoughts that arise, in your own, everyday language. Don’t worry about even basic standards for this f-r-e-e-writing. Forget all about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Freely accept made-up or meaningless words. 

From time to time, you will find thoughts rise in you that you don’t want to write, thoughts that feel frightening or silly or disgusting or pathetic, thoughts you wouldn’t want anybody else to know you have. Let them come, raw as they are. Get them out of you. Resist any urge to self-censor.

Don’t cross out or correct or try to edit anything, either as you write, or once it is written. Even if you write something you didn’t mean to write, let it stand. Explain to yourself how that’s not really what you meant. Refine the thought into new words. 

Don’t think, just write.

Let the words flow. Lose control. Write f-r-e-e…

Write Exact-And-Easy

Capture images in detail. The more specific, the more intimate, the better.

A crack in a coffee mug. The way a lock of hair falls across the forehead of a child as he sits reading. The precise color of the street furniture. The vein pattern on your wrist. Get in close, describe the detail, then another. Follow the images. An image is always the deepest wellspring in writing.

But write freely, just saying exactly what’s true. Write exact-AND-easy. Write free. Be brave, tell your truth. 

F-r-e-e-writing  is a noticing process, a focusing in on what’s rising into our consciousness, so we can take it down.

So allow yourself to discover how you see your world. Play with what you find there, drop it onto the page.

When we’re exact-and-easy in our f-r-e-e-writing, our nouns and verbs are strong. A car chugs. A cat pounces. Clouds loom. Children skip. But as you write, don’t be afraid of using “inappropriate” words, or chastise yourself as you write for getting it “wrong”.

In f-r-e-e-writing, there is no such thing as wrong. All words belong.

Don’t think, just write.

Let the words flow. Lose control. Write f-r-e-e…

F-R-E-E-Writing First Time Instructions Here

Creative Flow Morning Practice Guidelines: Why Do It?

Creative flow morning practice has been an indispensible part of my day for many years. It has countless benefits, some of which are detailed here.

It offers you:

  • MORE CREATIVE AUTONOMY: You strengthen your creative core
  • MORE CREATIVE ACCEPTANCE of yourself, of life, of other people
  • MORE CREATIVE PRESENCE: The ability to induce the create-state, at will.
  • MORE CREATIVE FOCUS: In a distracting and fast-moving world, creative attention gives you great power
  • MORE CREATIVE COURAGE: Take risks from a place of safety.
  • MORE CREATIVE FAITH: Trust the process.

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