Creativity is a quality that most astrologers associate with Leo, the sign of this Full Moon, and with its ruler, the Sun. Absolutely everyone is creative, with a mad desire to connect with a powerful and loving Source, although many people deny that they’re creative at all. But if you ask them to remember a situation in which they lost all track of time because they were doing something they enjoyed, nearly everyone can come up with something. It might have been something as simple as dead-heading roses, organizing a closet, or playing fantasy football. “But that’s not creative!” we might object, imagining that creative people wear berets and wield paintbrushes.
Of course, passionate absorption in anything is the hallmark of creativity. The moment when you’re fully and happily engrossed in some activity, delighting in its nuances and solving its delectable puzzles, you’re engaged in what therapist Phil Stutz calls The Grateful Flow. In his book The Tools, Stutz describes five techniques he uses to help his patients build happier and more fulfilling lives. The Grateful Flow uses gratitude to retrain the mind away from the endless loop of negativity and toward joyful engagement.
For instance, if you’re doing something just for the money, because your boss demands it, or because your readers expect to hear from you twice a month; if you’re preoccupied with how much better you should be doing something, or whether it will be well received by others—you’re not in the Grateful Flow. To motivate yourself with the sting of the whip is the opposite of creativity, which is spontaneous, joyful, and self-directed.
As a writer, I’m no stranger to the whip. I’ve been writing about astrology now for nearly a quarter of a century. In some ways it gets easier and easier, but in one very important way it is harder now than it used to be: Now, I feel self-conscious because many more people are reading the things that I write. It’s easy to give into fear that what I write will be less compelling than others things I’ve written, or might offend somebody. Each time I finish a new article, my finger hovers for a moment over the “publish” button; I’m a little bit anxious about what will happen next.
When we fall into the ego trap, playing out Leo’s self-aggrandizing shadow side, we’re especially vulnerable to creative blocks. “The moment you claim credit for your success, you also have to take the blame for any future failure,” Stutz points out. His antidote to creative anxiety is to connect to the Source by thanking it for what you already have. Literally, any time you notice your mind visiting familiar neighborhoods of negativity, reroute it with thoughts about the things, people, and circumstances for which you’re grateful. Gratitude opens the heart to the world around you in the same way being in love makes the world seem like a kinder and more benevolent place. You’re not only happy, but inspired—available to receive whatever ideas and inspirations come your way. (more…)