by Tania Kelvin

Allowing is a fun, easy, pleasurable, and simple creativity exercise for connecting with your flow of creativity to get past perfectionism, self-criticism, and fears. This exercise helps to allow flow of inspiration and exploration, so that you move forward and take action in creating projects with ease and acceptance.

This exercise is for anyone wanting to proceed with projects or wanting to start projects, in any discipline. This can apply to any type of artist and even if you don’t consider yourself an artist or creative, you can also give this exercise a shot, but please know that you are creative and an artist of some sort…it’s inside you.

Allowing helps to move forward in projects, being present, and also helps to alleviate stress and anxiety by exercising letting go. Please keep in mind that it may come easier at first to some, more than others. It just takes practice.

This exercise was inspired by a time I was painting for the first time in years and in a whole new way that came to me as I was doing it. This is how it started. While taking improvisation classes, I learned not only how to loosen up and play off the cuff without judgments of what came to me, but also the importance of the universal improv principle of “Yes, and … “. This creates a flow of creative performance, by agreeing with your partner(s) in the playful scenes or fun improv games. If someone does not agree with the partner’s idea (the “Yes” part) and doesn’t add to it (the “and” part) to keep it going between the players back and forth, the scene goes nowhere.

This actually applies to other areas of life also, helping to loosen up, accept, and allow flow. I started to apply this to my life as well. It allowed for more acceptances of situations, myself, and others, therefore changed my outlook and thought processes to be more positive, in the present moment and moving forward.

While creating the painting in the moment, I allowed and gave myself permission to be playful and try new things I hadn’t originally thought of or sketched for the painting. For example, when I didn’t like a brush stroke, I basically said “Yes, and …” to myself and created it into something else that came to me, which then gave me new creative ideas and momentum. I also did what felt lighter when making decisions.

Because of applying all this, I was able to enjoy the process, let go, have fun, and explore new ideas that came flowing and allowed the changes. Along with the yes, I was staying in a positive state of mind and emotions. When I was being critical of myself or what I did, I thought of what I’d say to my dog sometimes and so internally said “Leave it!”. I taught myself how to move on and allow. What would have been perfectionism overload, upset, stress, anxiety, and sadness, by being critical of myself and upset over lines that weren’t “good enough” or “straight enough”, I turned the experience into an adventure and loved the end result, as did many others who’ve seen it.

The organic flow was so much more fun than being rigid, stuck, and self-critical, sending me into a pit of negative thoughts. Since it worked nicely and helped me create a new painting style, I started to share what I did with others. So, below are the steps I created with extras to make it even better. Enjoy the process and have fun!

Before getting started, here are some suggestions.

– This is best to do without distractions or others observing what you are doing.

– Set aside some time for yourself for this exercise, and if necessary, in multiple sessions.

– Create a space for yourself that you feel comfortable in and enjoy. You may also want to perhaps make your favorite beverage, light a scented candle, put on inspiring music, or whatever helps you feel good.

Step 1: Set your Intention

– What do you want to create?

– How do you want to feel when you are creating it/them? (Feel it now – you may want to close your eyes)

– Imagine it finished and feel how great you feel. In your mind, you don’t need to see what it looks like entirely or the details. Just believe it’s done and feel the appreciation of yourself for doing an awesome job!

Step 2: Your Project

– Start your project and any time you feel like you made a mistake or are self-critical, let it go without judgments. You might want to tell yourself to leave it or whatever words work for you.

– Say “Yes”, accept it, and allow it to create another form, function, design, or direction that you hadn’t thought of. If an idea doesn’t come quickly, then come back to it. Don’t push or overthink it. Let it go and allow ideas to flow. You might want to move on to other parts of the project or take a break for things like a snack, a walk outside, meditation, exercise, or any other fun activity and come back to it.

Let your mind relax. Eventually an idea will come to be your “and..”. The idea may be to just leave it the way it came out (Yes, and leave it) or to add to it or morph it (Yes, and … add this to it, or Yes, and … make it do this). Be patiently open to listen from within.

– Allow yourself to create organically and “imperfectly”. Think of imperfection as perfection. Just as nobody is perfect.

– Allow your body to physically flow and move in new ways.

– Be easy on yourself, with permissions, and care for yourself lovingly. Appreciate the process and new journey.

Tania Kelvin is an artist and coach who has made it her mission to encourage and inspire others to creative breakthroughs. You can find her on social media platforms, @TaniaKelvin and @TaniaKelvinCreates.

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