30 December 2014

This little year

Photos from Christmas day

Christmas has passed and we're coming closer to New Years Eve.
This year has been difficult when it comes to my creative side. I've taken a break from all "musts" and I've tried to let go of the thoughts were I force myself to create for others. Thinking this would be the trick for unlocking new, more interesting, projects hidden inside me.

But suddenly all my little ideas have vanished, I'm sitting there with my idea-block only to realize that I simply have no ideas. I get sad. Then I get angry. Is this my fault? Should I be blaming it on someone or something else? That's easier than blaming myself I guess. Is my job ruining my personal creativity? Or am I simply out of ideas? Forever? Is that possible? The less I create the more scared I get of it. Suddenly I don't stroke paint brushes with this tingling sensation in my body but with fear.
Although I'm blessed with knowing many creative people, I don't know someone who's feeling like me at the moment. Someone who's simply scared about the ideas and the creativity disappearing.

That's the creative part.
A part that I'm more happy about is a psychological one. After university I've been looking closer into why I tend to worry more than others, I want to work with this while I'm young. Being sensitive is important in many aspects, but my worrying was starting to get pointless.

During the past months I've developed a way of working with my thoughts where I simply drop the useless ones. I don't need to think about this, the thought doesn't help me in any way - so bye thought. It's like when you meditate, you just see the thoughts and let them pass. It might sound like nothing but it's been great for me :)

A big base in finding inner peace is learning to control and focusing on your breathing. So yes, calming your breath calms your body – but it doesn't change your thoughts. It's important to have this in mind. To work on both your breathing and your thoughts.
However, I've always hated all breathing exercises. Really, all of them. Meditation and yoga didn't help my breathing either. I just got annoyed, this controlled breathing was just shouting at me you should be calming down now, halluuu? Get calm!!
It didn't give me peace. Duh. Starting meditation or yoga with that goal just failed. However, during april this year I started going to hot yoga (moksha, not bikram) in order to fix my lower back that was starting to protesting against sitting in a chair all day. I hear you back, it's no fun! I also had to fix some neck-problems due to almost breaking it in a diving-class I took during spring (in attempt to letting go of fears... maybe jumping from 7,5 meter up helped - not sure yet).

The hot yoga was fun and more challenging than regular yoga without heat so I kept going even after my back was fixed (hot yoga pretty much fixes every single back problem, the studio is filled with success stories). In the heat, you have to learn to breath slowly through the nose, otherwise your breath will run away and you'll get exhausted. So, I'm finally learning how to control my breath by staying in the postures. A much more effective and fun way to learn about breathing.

Psychology in Sweden often turns to CBT, Cognitive behavioral Therapy. But there is a new method, friends with this one, called ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. There's a really popular book about this by Russ Harris (The happiness trap) which I recommend to any- and everyone. CBT is a lot about changing the way you think. ACT makes you realize that thoughts are just thoughts and helps you make them silly and stop taking them so seriously. So in other words, it helps you accept things as they are. Which has been a much more effective way for me.

Hmm... and actually having written this I realize that what I've learned about my mind might have been a bigger achievement this year than if I'd produced more pictures.
So, let's welcome the new year – I've got no idea what I'll learn this time. 


  1. You're not alone, I've had a same kind of year like your when it comes to creating stuff. I've managed to keep on sketching (keeping most of it to myself) and a bit of drawing but pretty much everything I did made me think "yeah, whatever". I completely neglected my blog this year and still have no desire to go back to it, I've stopped reading most of the other blogs and in general this year has felt like a bit of a hibernation year. I hope next year will bring few sparks back for both of us :)

  2. I hear you on the creative part, last two years have been really tough and I think I kind of suffered a burn out. Where I used to be super energetic and fill my sketchbooks with ideas, now I fear I lost my creativity. Hopefully 2015 will bring more creativity and less health issues that block the mind :) happy 2015!

  3. Love this post! Keep pushing forward.... I think your statement at the end is right, what you've learned about your thought process is a huge accomplishment, and can only help
    In going forward with creativity and art.

  4. You are not alone reg. the creativity. The last few years have been like that for me.

    What a great accomplishment though learning so much about your thought processes this year. Let's hope next year brings more insights and enjoyable creativity.

  5. It's the job. When I had my fixed job as a graphic designer, I lost all my creativity. Was not able to make anything creative at home anymore. After quitting my job,my creative energy and ideas came slowly back! I think that it is with many creative souls this way. Unfortunately. I'm the same with worrying and I constantly work on controlling my thoughts more. I still have those thoughts that do not lead to something, but I am more and more aware of it and don't create even more drama in my mind by sticking at that thought. If I react to a negative thought, it always ends the same. It creates even more negative thoughts and makes me so scared of the future and everything that I feel like paralysed. Not all that is popping up in our head we have to believe ;) I wish you all the best for the coming year!

  6. About creativity... I have the same - I painted all those years, I painted a lot. But then I stoped. I still don't know why. Everybody asked me - why? They said - you need to go back to painting, you were so good at! But I can't take my brush in hand again with a joy. So I don't paint now and when I feel to do it again, I'll do. Maybe then I will be 60 years old! :D
    But what I learned from this... creativity doesn't disappear! It transforms to other things you do! How you decorate your apartment, how you bake your cake, how you paint your nails, how you plan your trip... How you live your life!
    Enjoy it!

  7. I'm sorry this is not about your great post and may be kind of irrelevant, but which camera do you use? your photos are marvelous and so is all your other 'products'!

  8. I'm finding it really hard to do personal projects after I started to work full-time as a graphic designer too. I'm happy to read that i'm not the only one!

  9. Hello, I just discover your work with this article that one of my friends shared on facebook (http://www.flipflipmeheidi.com/article/ulrika-kestere-seven-horses).
    I can relate to this post. In the begin of 2014 I produced pictures, not a lot but some and in the middle of the year I stopped. I was putting too much pressure on myself, and my thoughts were basically "you HAVE TO shoot new pictures". I forget all the joy about photography. So I decided to take a break and just enjoy life, I will come back when it will feel right to me. But the months passed, and began the winter, and now that I wanted to come back, I couldn't find any ideas. I thought that maybe it was a mistake to stop everything, that I lost my creativity and every thing that I knew. But I keep hoping and trying to come back, just small step, sometimes just thinking about it. And this week I finally did a picture that I like! A little bit different of what I'm used too but a new step in my artist life, just what I was looking for during months! And I realize that I needed that time.
    Your post makes me realize that it was not a waste of time because I learnt a lot about myself.
    I was happy to read someone who is confronted with the same struggles, and I will add you to my feed list :)