If you are one of those lucky people that flows creativity from every vein with as much ease as blinking, then stop reading now. If however you are like myself, at times wandering aimlessly both in mind and body to source stimuli for an article or art installation, then read on! You may take comfort in my words. Deconstructing  ‘the block’ may seem a somewhat formulaic approach to quite in contrast results, all to dispel this dastardly mist that fogs the brain when grasping for an idea or subject that spurts the fruits of creative liberty. However in order to jumpstart the disconnected patterns in one’s mind, the attentional switch must be flicked to focus, in order to organize the boggling arra­­y of thoughts that overwhelm us daily.

From recent conversations with some artistic friends, it has become clear to me that mental blockages are something we ALL experience at varying times in our lives. Whether you consider yourself creative or not, to birth something new and unwritten takes some form of creative spirit. Whether you are problem-solving a project or fine-tuning the penmanship in your poetry, these situations always call for some form of contemplation and reflection to produce ingenuity. Rushing to conclusions and haphazard ramblings are not usually the best rationale as there is much magic in pausing to stroke the proverbial beard and ponder.

Another shared philosophy it seems is that you cannot force inspiration. If your nature is more of an introverted type, there is certainly nothing more ghastly then being summoned to perform a song or dance (for example) at the whim of another. But equally, there are moments when certain environments are constructed (such as being set an unreasonable deadline) and the ubiquitous torch of adrenalin ignites your spirit to scramble for completion. Astonishingly, you perform and complete the task at hand, panting from the process but utterly relieved by the results. This is the most human instinct at work, our incredulous logic overcome by our need to survive.

We are curious creatures throughout history, which is how progress is made and innovation occurs because we want to make sense of everything. ‘Why?’ is not an adverb restricted to children, it is very much an adult obsession too. It is why we wake up in the morning, why we go to work and why we love others. The complexity of the human mind is immense, with pockets of information becoming embedded deeply due to the increasing amounts of knowledge we consume so it is inevitable that the retrieval process may wane from time to time. We are exposed to data in many more forms now, with a boom in the last century. From written word to spoken word, we have visual exposure to the entire world, which was once confined to paper circulars and word of mouth.   Should we ever question facts that we hear, we can verify them with a search engine quest. This is perhaps what has dulled us; the hunt for knowledge is no longer required because it is so instantly acquired from various digital devices.

So this is why it is necessary to deconstruct blockages and accept there may be times our inspiration burns on a lower flame than usual. Like losing a bunch of keys, counting back the steps to where you last had them is a functional way to assume your creative path again too. Additionally, creating the right environment through the company of like-minded souls and allowing yourself golden moments of solitude will enable you to recalibrate and generate the wisdom that resides in all of us.

So when that mental fog descends (because it will), do not fear it or reap anxiety from this momentary block. Embark on some travels, go for a stroll, confide in friends and embrace your loved ones. Take time to accept that this is your mind’s way of telling you to pause and contemplate. Enjoy the intermission: it provides us with breathing space from the years of evolution that have made us the zealous characters that we are.

Photo Credits from exhibition held at the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas – Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash) by James Drake

 

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