A Creative Processing Practice Can Prevent Overstimulated Shutdown

Do you have a creative processing practice?

I often think about the image of water flowing through pipes as a way to consider the role of creativity in helping us process events, experiences, and information from the world around us. Clearing the pipes of information overload with creativity allows us to anchor ourselves in connection and openness.

Cleaning the pipes with a creative processing practice

After talking about doing it for some time, I finally brought my music to The Haven Kota at the weekend. I played some songs and talked about elements of my creative processing practices through the years.

It was a great chance to reflect on the role of music in my life and how it is much more than something I enjoy. It’s an organic part my nervous system and something I’ve naturally gravitated towards for deep processing and re-regulation when I’m overrun by sensory information.

As I spoke about my songs, I realised how much they are part of how I hold and respond to the world. In this sense, creativity is an ongoing practice of integration and healing.

The Joy and Necessity of Creative Practices for Highly Sensitive People

Even if you don’t think of yourself as “creative”…you are. You’re human! Only the principles and social structures we’ve used to organise and control ourselves have removed the fundamental belief in our creative worth. The session was a reminder of the natural joy (and necessity) of creative practices for highly sensitive people.

Obstacles to Creative Processing Practices

Starting a creative processing practice can be challenging because we internalise unhelpful stories and compare ourselves to others. The comparison trap can leave us feeling inadequate and overwhelmed by what we believe we’re missing, especially when confronted by an infinite flow of ridiculous talent pumped through social media algorithms. But this is not about building a creative practice to share it with others. It’s about nurturing our creative spirit to feel more at home in ourselves and the world around us.

Creative processing practices don’t need to be shared with others to be valuable. They don’t require talent or the right tools to get started. It’s a way of anchoring and connecting with who you are concerning your experience of the world. It’s a chance to get out of your head and think with the Right Brain intuition and flow of knowledge that goes deeper than cognition.

I kept thought about the idea of “home” when I prepared for the session, and how music has always felt like home to me. Not as a physical place, but as an anchor in time, in oneself, and in community.

Art and creative spirit bring us:

  • Home in Time (to moments throughout our life – can be bittersweet when it takes us back and the past becomes present)
  • Home in Self (processing, expressing, rest – turning emotion into a creative offering gives the energy an outlet, helping us let go, slow down, and release)
  • Home in Community (sharing encounters, exploring meaning together, and connecting through story – I love hearing what songs mean to people)

I built on these ideas in the latest episode of The Gentle Rebel Podcast. Listen to “Coming Home Through Music”.

Getting Started With a Creative Processing Practice

It’s about recognising when the pipes need cleaning.

Clogged thoughts, feeling stressed, tangled emotions? I sit down at the piano and let rip. I sing a song that I know doesn’t need to be repeated. Occasionally that will produce something I can take with me and use, but most of the time I allow the wastewater to flow through the pipes and out into the ether. Like having a good laugh, cry, or run, I always feel lighter afterwards.

You might write poetry, throw paint at the page, or take photos of things representing your present thoughts and feelings.

No rules. Just play.

How do you creatively process what the world throws at you?

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Coming Up

Join us on Monday for our next Live Café session.

Focused time can often feel hard to come by. The Live Cafe Hour is an opportunity to spend 80 minutes “alone together” alongside other members and focus on what matters most.

It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up with those important (but non-urgent) activities. Or receive gentle accountability to focus on that thing you’ve been putting off.

Theme Kota | Sunday 1st October 2023 (6pm UK)

As social beings, humans are wired for belonging. But in a judgemental and critical world, it doesn’t always feel safe to be yourself, especially when you don’t seem to see or experience the world in quite the same way as other people.

We will bring our Haven hive mind to these questions:

  • What does belonging mean to you?
  • What tells you it’s safe to “be yourself”?
  • In what ways are you different around people you feel safe with?
  • What characteristics in other people help you feel safe and connected?

Whether you want to get actively involved in the conversation or quietly observe and absorb, you are so welcome to join us.

Catch Up (Replay)

PopUp Kota | Travelling Home Through Music

I shared songs, talked about where they came from, and explored how music always helps me come home to myself.