Do you play an instrument or sing? Draw, paint, or sculpt? Write prose or poetry or drama? Make quilts, fashion furniture, take beautiful photographs? Cultivate a garden?
Most sensitive people are creative or artistic. You are keenly attuned to beauty and subtlety. You feel things intensely. And your style of thinking runs both deep and wide. How can you not be creative?
But creativity goes beyond noticing, feeling, and pondering. When you create, you interact with the thing you are creating. In fact, you go through these three steps:
- You refer inwardly to the whole felt sense of the way you want your creation to look, feel, or sound
- You observe your creation and notice the whole felt sense it brings in you so far
- You go back to your creative vision and let it show you the next step that will bridge the gap
In short, you Focus!
That’s what Focusing is. You invite the whole felt sense of something. You sit with it. And then a kind of shift happens. That’s what the painter does when she pauses to gaze at a certain dark spot in her painting.
Is it too brown? Too blue? too precise, or too vague? exactly right, or out of place? Though she may or may not articulate these questions, they are implied by her pause. When an answer comes from her internal felt sense, her brush will make the next move.
This is so natural that when you do it—and I’m sure you do do it in some field you engage in—you don’t even think about it. When I’m learning a phrase of an oboe sonata, I sing it to myself until it feels right. How do I know it feels right? Because there’s a whole felt sense of it in me. I can refer to that.
I do the same as I write these words. The first draft is like a rough sketch to capture the whole sense of my subject. Then I pause, stand back, and sense…”Is that it? or perhaps…Ah! Yes…this way would say it better. That captures the sense of it!”
The act of Focusing vs the skill of Focusing
You know how to focus in certain situations: you’ve experienced the act of focusing. The act of Focusing happens when you refer to your internal sense of something. This sense includes thoughts and feelings, but is much broader and subtler and holds aspects that are not yet known.
But what if you want to apply this extraordinary creative skill to all areas of your life? That’s where the skill of Focusing comes in. You can cultivate your ability to sense the whole felt sense of any situation, project, relationship, or interaction.
The more you develop this skill, the more your creativity explodes. Focusing is at the heart of any creative act. But it also acts to remove internal barriers to your creativity. Remember #9 of our list, 12 Reasons Sensitive People Love Focusing:
Focusing gets you out of your head when you get trapped in your thoughts
If you are having trouble accessing your creativity, it is likely blocked by a cloud of thoughts. You process deeply in an attempt to know the answer, to know what to do.
But opening to the felt sense for creative expression requires you to let go of knowing. You don’t give up what you know: you just go out beyond it. You don’t figure out what is next: instead, you let the felt sense show you.
In other words, to connect to the heart of your creativity, you need to get comfortable with not knowing. And then you discover Reason #10:
Focusing is a creative playground for sensitive people
Your creativity lives at that edge, just beyond the clear and the known
You’ll be astonished to witness the ideas, solutions, insights, and creative expressions that emerge from you when you allow yourself to have no idea what is going on. It’s a great feeling.
It can also be a very weird feeling at first: some people find it uneasy or even panicky to “not know.” Fortunately, Focusing with a partner helps ease this.
When I first learned to Focus, I used my time with partners to focus on healing anxiety and overwhelm. Over time I’ve developed the ability to do more and more of that kind of work on my own so I use my precious Focusing partnership time for creative work.
I sense what wants to come next in my life, my business, my relationships, my writing. It’s exciting!
Photo credit: Thanks to Kaitlyn Wyenberg (firstname.lastname@example.org)