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Why Connect With Your Creative Self-Expression? And HOW.


Hi friends! Welcome to my blog! If we haven't met before, I'm Sophie and I'm an Artist, Trauma-Informed Somatic Coach & Yoga Teacher!


If you've ever attended one of my Somatics, Yoga Nidra & Art workshops or Day Retreats, you'll probably be aware that I encourage you to be YOU, and to express arty things (and movement things) in your own unique way.


I'm there to guide you through technical processes of certain art materials, (or suggestions for Somatic movement), so that you can get the most out of them, however the main focus of my creative / art events is for you to explore in your own artistic voice / flair / style and focus on the process rather than the outcome. It can be feel really scary being a beginner to art, but trust me, I still get stuck in my own head and worry about my art not being good enough, and I consider myself a professional artist. We all have those self-limiting thoughts and judgements, which can really hinder our creative self-expression and be who we feel we are.


When we get out of of our heads and into our bodies (Somatics), and into that delightful state of FLOW, we can truly benefit from the joy, the expression and the wisdom that comes from our own creative ventures! We feel a sense of purpose, achievement and a little nudge from within saying 'that felt GREAT - Let's do that again!!'.


When we are learning to paint and use materials for the first time, we might need to use artist's as inspiration, and we can learn by 'copying' or 'replicating' how they have done something to try and achieve the same effect. This is a really useful part of the learning process and something I do recommend, however please never copy an artist's picture and then try to pass it off or sell it as your own.


The main thing with my events is; I don't want you to paint or create like me, but to learn how to create and show up like YOU.


But why is it so important to connect with your own creative self-expression?


Yoga & Art Day Retreat Feb 2024


Self-Expression Vs Creative Self-Expression


If ‘self-expression’ is how you express your thoughts and feelings through words, pictures, actions and the choices you make, then creative self-expression is self-expression through artistic forms, such as writing, painting, dancing, crafting and more! It can be anything that outwardly expresses who you are in a creative way, or your unique style - your makeup choices, how you dress or style your hair.


Of course, styles and fashion become popular and lots of people will love the same kinds of styles, and we might dress very similar to our friends, which is part of social connection, or we might have a very similar style of art technique to another artist, but there is still something that makes it incredibly distinctive to you; Your Soul!


You are expressing who you feel you are deep down, on a Soul level! This happens when you feel relaxed, open and comfortable to express it, without allowing other people’s opinions or judgments to impact that or stop you from showing up as the true you.


Self-expression and Creative Self-Expression is your individuality and as long as it’s not harming you or anyone else, no one else’s opinion’s matter!


Self-Development & Awareness

From a very young age, self-expression helps us figure out who we are and who we want to be in the world. It helps us to process and regulate our emotions and allows us to see things with new and varied perspectives.

 

As we get older, we can become a bit more stubborn with our views, beliefs and habits, believing that we can’t change who we are or what we believe ‘because it’s just the way I am and I've been this way all my life’. For many different reasons, some adults consciously or unconsciously shut off from their emotions and the acknowledgement that we can change and grow into better versions of ourselves. It is totally possible as our brains are very malleable! It is scary though, and our brains want what feels familiar and safe. Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn't always feel safe, so we avoid it!


Adults still need to process and regulate emotions and moods, but some adults stop expressing emotions and shut off from who they are deep down; which is like going into protection mode. This can include cutting ties with your Soul and the things that bring you joy, happiness and excitement.


Self-expression as adults is crucial for engaging in...


  • Lateral thinking - Problem solving through creative ideas and solutions. Not your traditional step by step logic. 

  • Building self-awareness - Improves self-confidence, decision making and ability to connect with others, be content with who you are and make effective choices to better your life.  

  • Understanding our actions and how they affect us and others - We all have an impact on this world and the people around us. Kindness is infectious, but so is anger and violence. You open your mind to wider views and can understand people’s circumstances. We increase empathy for others.

  • Our thought patterns, beliefs, decisions - Our thought patterns can be acts of violence or acts of love and kindness. We learn our behaviours through people we hang around with the most and this impacts every decision and aspect of our lives, for better or worse. We can choose to read, educate ourselves and change our beliefs and perspectives to become better human beings. 

  • It helps us to reflect on our life; what we have and what we want.  


In society; within our families, friendship circles, communities and work spaces, we might get told how to be, how to act, how to dress and what we should do with our lives. 

This can really stifle or completely shut down our individuality, and we can lose our sense of self and purpose in the world.


If the people around you are telling you how to act and who to be, they are not the people you need in your life, no matter how much you or they say 'it's because I care'. This could be a sign of manipulation or power dynamics, and if you feel this is the case for you, I do urge you to reach out for some support from a registered support network, counsellor or charity. Do reach out to me if you need advice on where to turn.


On the flip side, if you don’t like the way another person chooses to express themselves; leave them to it! As long as they aren’t harming anyone, it is none of your business!


So how do we access Creative self-expression?


Creative Self-Expression isn't far from Self-Expression, but let's have a look at a few examples.


Dancers use their bodies to express themselves through the beat and syncing up of music and movement that feels natural, primal and intuitive to express. Dance can of course also be choreographed and made into a routine for one or more people, and this act of putting together a routine and everyone working together to dance in sync is an amazing form of creative expression!


If intuitive movement sounds up your street, you might like to try an intuitive dance class that is often titled; Somatic, Embodied or Ecstatic Dance. This can be a very freeing experience. If you are nervous about being around others, do it on your own at home, to your favourite song! Let the song and music move through you and move your body to the beat! Don't worry about what it looks like, be in the moment with how it feels.


Poets or writers use their voices and words to express themselves, as do singers! If you want to express yourself vocally, but are worried you’re not a good singer, try chanting Mantra or a few rounds of humming bee breath to relax your throat and stimulate your vagus nerve for parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest response). This is a great way of reducing feelings of anxiety. Sense and be with the vibrations in your body!

Flow journaling or creating Haikus is also great for strengthening your inner voice and how you express yourself through words. 


Alongside dancing, I love expressing myself through art; painting, sketching and drawing in a variety of different ways and mediums such as; realism, abstract or impressionism, with watercolours, acrylics or pencils. I love allowing my inner child to take charge and draw in a way that is freeing and 'scribbly', which can be very liberating.


I see it as a way of connecting with my Soul, the part of me that is true, the part that lights up when I feel content, relaxed, creative and grounded.




Creative Self-Expression is an excellent way of getting to know & understand yourself on a Soul level, through the power of art and creativity, whilst giving us a sense of purpose and meaning in life. When we are comfortable and confident in who we are and we feel able to express that, we show up as the best version of ourselves. When we don't have that connection, we might feel jealous, angry or bitter and may take it out on others. These are totally normal human responses, but they are also messages from your inner wisdom, from your Soul telling you something is missing. Pay attention to these signs that come through in emotions, behaviours and thoughts. What are they trying to tell you?



Practical steps you can take to access your creative self-expression...


Creativity requires being present and grounded, not just within your body, but your whole being, alongside space, rest, boredom, freedom and play! This is so beneficial for your emotional and mental health, but it requires you to slow down, learn to feel safe, practice reducing the whirring thoughts of your mind and allow yourself time to listen in and hear the creative whispers of your Soul.


A few ways to do this might include;


  • Walking / being in nature, without technology; Expanding your perspective of the world around you, reducing the feeling of being rigid and stuck, and supporting you on a phyiscal and energetic level.

  • Flow Journaling or Art Journaling; doodling, drawing, painting your thoughts and emotions or self-portrait. Writing down or drawing out how you feel and acknowledging your emotions and behaviours that are present, is a great way of reducing a spiral into anxious thinking.

  • Natural intuitive Somatic Movement, Dance and Embodied Listening; Getting into your body through movement is one of best ways of shifting the state of your nervous system and reducing the sensations of stress and tension that can build up. When we are tense we feel trapped and restricted, and it's not easy to access the joy in your Soul.

  • Breathwork / Pranayama; Your breath is the only thing you have control over within your body. Everything else is automatic (autonomic nervous system). Just like movement, we can use our breath to shift the state of our nervous system from anxious fight / flight or shutdown into a more regulated, socially engaged (or at least on the way there) state.

  • Moving Meditation; Sun salutations or other repetitive Yoga Asana sequence, where you sync breath and movement, bringing you into the here and now.

  • Colouring in books and deep focus music; Take it right back to childhood, or give your inner child some much needed attention and reparenting through simple (or complex) colouring in. No need to worry about drawing, it's all there for you. All you need is some colouring pencils or pens, some chilled music from spotify or youtube (without ads) and half an hour or so, to not think about anything else except which colour to use where.


What might work for you?


If you’re not sure, I invite you to try a few of these out and see what feels joyful in your body. It might take a bit of time if you're not used to it, and you might need different things at different times of the week, year or month, especially if you are woman or have female hormones.


Sit with how each one resonates in your body; does it create feelings of openness, excitement and curiosity or feelings of resistance and fear? Lean into the ones that create space and the buzz of happiness.


Our past experiences impact us....


I do want to point out here that our life circumstances may have an impact on whether we express ourselves creatively or not, and whether we believe we can, so it’s important to acknowledge why we might struggle with these things, or other things in life, and why self-compassion is so needed.


It can take time and a few mistakes to learn your unique way of expressing yourself, and sometimes the inner critic or the perfectionist parts can show up to try and protect us. This can be stifling for our creativity, so as best you can, kindly acknowledge their presence & that they want to protect you, and then ask them to leave you be!


Give yourself permission to express yourself for YOU and light up your Soul in this sometimes chaotic and scary world!


I’d love to know what you took from this post, how you express yourself creatively and what barriers (if any) you might face?


Do drop me an email and share your beautiful practices and journey of creative self-expression and healing 💛



If you feel lost, disconnected, lack self-trust, have low self-worth and confidence, or you feel stuck in old beliefs, behaviours and mindset, this is where 1-1 Trauma-Informed Somatic Coaching can offer you a safe, collaborative and understanding space to explore further and see what helps you learn how to feel more connected and at home in your Soma, Psyche and Soul.


Let's Connect....


Find Out More on YouTube!

Why are Somatic Practices Important for our Creativity?


Thank you so much for being here and I hope we meet again!


Take care you beautiful, unique, creative Soul,

Sophie xx





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