Sometimes it comes like a juggernaught of shit, or a cascading avalanche and at other times a more nuanced shift in landscapes; there’s no two ways about it, any version of depression or anxiety are a bitch. And, the best strategy I find is good management. To know oneself comprehensively, and with honesty, enables the individual to be well-informed, so able to activate recovery procedure sooner on less good days. So often with remarkable brilliance, there is a counter darkness that exists; they are inextricably linked. Some of the most extraordinary minds in history, were also divided characters, and this is my typical experience of creative individuals blessed with gifts of wonderful talent, or genius. If we can embrace and accept both aspects of character, we can come to enjoy and harness them. In addition, we can learn to mitigate and channel these rhythms adeptly, realising their successful output potential. A strong observing ego is also a benefit here, so as to be less overwhelmed by extreme moods or non-normal experiences, seeing them for what they are.
The archetype of the genius is twinned with madness. Rather than feeling disrupted by these extremes, an attitude of acceptance and the approach of moderation, allows you to develop an emotional constancy.
Often my creative output is disrupted by lesser emotional states, but I can find myself distracted when I am feeling too good, which also leads to poor productivity, so my ideal is a sense of groundedness and inner balance.
I am now well practised at my strategies, and can adeptly shift my state from one of potential to one of realisation, to productivity, through a number of activities…moving from gloom to lightness.
Writing, a Buddhist practise, and any combination of swimming (I like to swim out to the farthest bouy) or long distance cycling (which fulfils a need to be in motion, covering ground, and making progress). Particularly with cycling, the passing vistas are engaging and inspiring, keeping you present. It is critically important to know oneself well, in order to best cultivate ideal conditions to come to thrive, and make continued refinements as you become more self-aware. The outcome of said awareness allows for a more harmonious self, better creative output, emotional consistency and general wellbeing.
It’s good to come to know your ‘basic needs’, which are the practises that ensure you keep well, balanced and energised and in an optimum-output state. Some of mine are the following: I attend these with regularity, some daily, and some at greater intervals.
New experiences | Sense of adventure | Creating value | Sensorial experiences | Learning | Cultural stimulation | Wandering and musing | Being is dialogue | Connection to other | Healthy diet | Daily exercise | Being in equal measure sociable and private | Dedicated focus (single field of activity preferable) | A Buddhist practise | Being in motion | Creative works | Travel - short trips to see family, or abroad for friends and inspiration| I need sunshine like I’m solar powered, so all Winters in the tropics therefore
If we can learn to tune in to perceive our individual nature and truth, we can make efforts towards a more artful experience and a more fulfilling creative practise. It is useful to have a clear appreciation of your values here (referencing experience) to inform best outcomes, for example, one might prefer being in community and a regulated and measurable output, whereas another may require isolation and immersion to aid creative process. Your own version of ‘the ideal’ must be self-determined naturally.