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  • R. J Dyson / Life Coach

On a blank sheet of paper, a black or white board, a spreadsheet or a journal take five minutes and:

  1. Write down three unproductive habits you've picked up in the last six months keeping you from your creative pursuits. (sleeping in, obsession with Instagram news feeds, stopped daily creating, lack of exercise or prayer, etc.)

  2. Now write down three refreshing habits you've adopted over the past six months that will help bolster your creative journey: (discovery of new creatives, spiritual rhythms, personal wiring, daily times for creative processing and creating, etc.)

Q. How will you address and overcome the unproductive habits that are stealing your growth, insight and goals by the end of this week?

Q. What are you going to do to incorporate and lean into those refreshing habits for the coming winter season, for the current project or the for the long haul?

  • R. J Dyson / Life Coach

Writing that song about it or drafting that painting series is part of the healing process, but it isn't everything.

Expressing pain, hurt or struggle is key to healing. Healthy expression, I should say. Creatives are pretty good at this. We all have a playlist ready to go for days and seasons of hurt, grief and just feeling down or lost. We have our go-to movies and books. But there's more to it. We have to address it.

Here's a simple rhythm to work around as you attempt address, heal and grow in maturity and clarity as creatives on mission.

  1. Reflect on past events that have brought similar hurts, struggles. What were some of the characteristics? How were you involved? Pray for insight, understanding and truth.

  2. Observe your own thoughts, words, actions and beliefs that helped foster this current turmoil. What are the common threads to the past? How did you respond and why? What did you handle well with grace and truth? Where did you fall flat?

  3. Discuss these observations with a trusted friend or partner. Journal for added insight. Be honest, clear and try to connect the dots between present and past. Strengths and weaknesses. Righteous choices and sinful actions.

  4. Make a plan for moving forward. Who do you need to apologize to? What personal parameters do you need to set up for healthy growth? Which weakness can you begin to address intentionally? What action steps are you going to personally own and invest in for mature growth?

  5. How will you hold yourself accountable? Yes, you can and probably should invite in a close friend, partner, bandmate or spouse for accountability. But the the goal of a mature creative is to be able to hold ourselves accountable in real time.

  6. Act on it. Today. Take a bite out of the healing process by taking a healthy step forward in your plan. Pray for courage and strength to grow.

Let me add that if your plan involves drugs, booze, revenge, porn or a random sex romp, well, you can guarantee another season of pain and suffering. The world is big and incredible and full of divine adventure - go connect with that.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, maturity in how you process and grow from wounds won't stifle your ability to create the art you want to create. In reality, living your freedom will foster greater depth and insight into a whole new world of creativity.

  • R. J Dyson / Life Coach

What are you investing in beyond the world of your creative pursuit?

Many of us pour into developing our skills. We research, study and seek out new techniques, equipment, training and opportunities to develop our craft. And we need to. Hardworking creatives do this because we're curious about our craft and know that we're never too old to grow.

Investing in ourselves is vital to healthy and sustained creativity.

But something supernatural happens when we invest in others beyond our creative talents. When an author serves at the winter clothes bank. When a designer volunteers to help build that home for the family working their way up again. When a songwriter delivers groceries for the old folks in their neighborhood.

Service, not demanded to be sourced by the big ole government, but offered by you and I, here and now, in between creative outbursts and for the holistic good of all involved, is blessing to all involved. This service is part of the true disruption in a otherwise self-centered rhythm. It not only lifts up those on the receiving end, but those of us investing our hands and hearts experience a divine filling of life, joy and hope beyond the flesh.

Our creativity doesn't simply live within the bubble of our creative focus, it's infused by the world around us and brought to life as we build, encourage, invite, serve, honor and help lift our families, communities and cities up, even as others tear it down.

Q. How are you serving beyond your bubble? Beyond your talents? Beyond your comfort zone?

Q. What acts of kindness, service and sacrifice have influenced your creativity lately? How? What creative fruit has come of it?

Creativity is one aspect of our investment in building up the world around us. How are you building?