Retirement is a fruitful time to develop creative projects and activities that inspire and increase the general health of your mind, body, and spirit. So, let’s get creative!

During my working years I wrote textbooks on acting as well as a plethora of articles for magazines and PR firms, plus a boatload of Hollywood screenplays.

I can’t paint, draw, or play an instrument. I was born to be an actress, teacher, and speaker, and I’m happy and more than grateful for all these creative outlets.

However, in retirement, I’ve been writing books, blogs, and speeches. Writing has been my passion as well as my creative joy throughout my 60s. The gift of writing for Sixty and Me continues to help me discover more color, contrast, and curiosity in my life.

And then another idea hit me in my 70s. I determined that if I wanted to call myself a real writer, I would have to enter the world of fiction.

I’d always written non-fiction and opinion pieces, yet the real and true path that would eventually challenge my writing skills and abilities was to create stories that come from my imagination.

Finding Inspiration

If you love nature, you are quite likely a creative person. Loving nature means that you have developed your five senses, your intuition, and environmental awareness.

Loving nature means you have an inherent ability to develop a creative environment that manifests itself through your mind, body, and spirit. This creative process expands your vision and perspective about how you are living your life culturally, emotionally, and intellectually.

Taking a Leap of Faith

My mother used to say to me, “Joanie, never fear anything. It’s a waste of time. Besides, it’s more fun to be surprised by life.”

My mother was a force of nature and a creative icon to be reckoned with. She never held back from taking leaps of faith while staying conscious and aware. She never feared the unknown. She and my father built homes, condos, and apartment buildings into their early 80s.

Avoiding Resistance

Being creative means turning your ideas into reality – putting your imagination to work. Creativity presupposes that you have the ability to examine opportunities and possibilities that you never thought of before.

When you ask yourself, “What if?” it is then you see that the world is your oyster and your imagination soars.

Yet, it is unfortunate that it is human nature to resist. Resistance is the opposite of creativity. Resistance is toxic to your soul and gets in the way of everything you think you want to imagine and explore.

In your early childhood years, the world is limitless, but as you grow older, you become cautious and lose your ability to expand your world and take chances. As a result, thinking becomes repetitive and predictable.

Being creative means stretching your mind and mastering a new way of thinking that involves exploring and experiencing, questioning and accumulating new information, and recognizing that everything you’ve ever done, everything you’ve every learned adds to your journey of creativity.

Color, Contrast, Curiosity

The following are three ways to enhance creativity after 60 and overcome the diminishing capacity to imagine without limitations.

Look for Color in Your World

Every day, all day, you see color – in your homes, dwellings, clothes, food; in the outside environment –the sky, cars, trees, water, facades, interiors. And the list goes on.

Most people ignore colors. But, suppose you make an intention to see as many colors in your world as possible and make a list of those colors. This activity would necessitate staying fully conscious, fully aware during the day. Artists – painters and designers – do this naturally because it stimulates creativity. Try noticing different colors and blending them into creative ideas. Discover how this exercise stretches your imagination.

Look for Contrast

Contrast is everywhere in life and begins when you wake up in the morning: the thought of a great day but your body is tired and sore; the warmth of your home and the cold temperatures outside. You experience hundreds of contrasts daily.

Contrasts are the meat and potatoes of the living experience and the key to developing creative ideas. Contrasts enrich the human experience and tap into your imagination, as well as stimulate curiosity and provoke the idea of “what if.”

Be Curious

Mental gridlock is the devil you encounter frequently. It teaches you nothing about your life and even worse, it inhibits stretching your mind. In fact, mental gridlock turns off your neuro-transmitters – adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin – and keeps you stuck in mental quicksand.

The only way out of the mental stagnation is to be constantly curious about life, relationships, behavior, and changes that are constants in life. Ask yourself what’s on the other side of your mind? What is challenging, new, and provocative? Take risks and be willing to make glorious mistakes.

More importantly, tap into your vulnerabilities. Vulnerability is the key to creativity. Acknowledge your emotions and be brave. Without curiosity, life will be boring and lifeless.

Creativity is one of the most important tools in your mental tool box. From creativity come new skills, talents, and abilities you never thought you had. It increases mental, emotional, and spiritual bonding. More important, creativity brings joy and stamina into your life.

This is the first of a two-part blog series on the creative process. Please follow my next blog about tips on how to write memoir and fiction and for a discussion of how I published my book, An Accidental Cuban, which launches on January 21st, 2019.

How do you inspire creativity in your life? What are the tools that give you creative energy? Let us know your creative process.

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