If you are a creative soul, you probably have wondered at times how you could be more creative.
When I was living in rural Denmark, I discovered the soothing and inspiring effect animals have on our creativity.
I was living on a farm with about 20 horses and two cats and a few mice. By being in the presence of the horses, my creativity went skyrocketing, and I decided to make a film about the bond with my horse, Golden Arrow.
But what exactly happened, that made me suddenly able to make a film I had been thinking about for a while?
By being with the animals, I felt supported and not alone anymore. With that lovely connected feeling inside me, I could tackle all those obstacles that often come along when creating and realizing a creative project.
Over the years, I have learned so much from my horse, cat, and dog about creativity and listening to my heart, which helped me to discover my creative voice.
Here are the five most important ways in which my animals have helped me with my creative expression:
Often, animals make you feel more confident. Being able to train your dog to not run off with you being dragged behind him probably makes you feel confident and like you have achieved something wonderful—and you absolutely have! You have negotiated with an animal to agree to a certain behavior (or not to do a certain behavior) and that is huge!
Or if you have a horse, how do you feel when you come back from a lovely ride in the forest or just had a great lesson? You most likely feel confident and happy. And that feeling will help you to create.
You need a bit of confidence to try something new, as trying something new can be daunting at times. Plus the fear of rejection often plays a big part in creating something new, but with a bit of confidence, you can move that fear to one side and just start on your project.
Have you ever sat down and watched your pet play with a favorite toy, snore loudly, or eat a yummy snack noisily? If so, you probably know the belly-tickling playfulness that most animals possess and show often.
Your cat might have her crazy five minutes running through the apartment and sliding around tight corners; your dog might be throwing his most loved toy through the air with a massive grin on his face. And maybe you have joined your pet in having fun, or laughing loudly with them.
But why is that important? Because we all need to feel that playfulness in our hearts that lets us forget about our inner critics. Playfulness often leads us to find a new approach to a creative project, which we probably wouldn’t have found with our serious hat on.
Riding my horse in the forest with the sun shining through the green leaves and the warm sun on my face will always put me in a kind of meditative state. My senses are being tingled by my surroundings, but I don’t need to react to them, which is pure mindfulness.
And you can exercise this wonderful mindfulness with your animal by being really aware of the sensations you are experiencing. What does it feel like when you touch your animal’s fur (or skin), what can you hear (snoring?), or smell (especially when my dog has rolled in boar poo)? As you observe these, you can just lovingly look at these sensations and let them be.
This simple exercise will help you to see, hear, and feel what is around you. And these mini-mindfulness exercises will make you calmer, reduce your breath rate and heart rate, and get you out of your flight-or fight-response, which we are so accustomed to in our hectic lives.
So, essentially animals can help you become a bit calmer, which will then help you to ponder on your creative ideas.
When you live with your animal, you connect to their specific heart energy. Often, you will know exactly what your animal is thinking or feeling without any words being spoken. This process often happens organically and without you noticing it, until one day you just know what your animal would like you to do (they do train us well!).
This heart-based connection helps you not only to connect with your animals, but also to connect with the energy of your surroundings, to your subconscious, and your heart. Animal energy is a bit like Reiki energy; it helps you clear your energy channel in order to experience the energy around you. And this flow of energy can help you with your creative projects.
Our creativity is often fueled by ideas and insights that don’t come from our conscious mind, but from our surroundings and subconscious. And these subtle energies inspire us to create something new.
I think love is the biggest motivator to do anything new whether it is a creative project or something else. If you love something, you just want to do it. And when you are with your animals, you are probably feeling love in your heart.
Just look at your animal and try not to think, “Awww.” Did it work? Probably not. I can’t look at my sleeping dog without feeling that mushy feeling inside my heart, and to create something new, we need to tap into this feeling of love. And when we feel love, we can act from a place of self-love and kindness, which will help us to take our wish to express that creative idea seriously.
Having animals in our lives is scientifically proven to be beneficial for our health, and everything that supports our well-being also helps us be creative.
Living with an animal will sensitize you to the subtle energies around you, which you will need to receive creative ideas from your subconscious or from your surroundings. And when you are not listening to your ego telling you what you can and what you can’t do, you might just try out that idea that sounds really too far-fetched.
Your ego is always trying to protect you from new things, which could be dangerous, and normally that is a good thing. But for creating something new, you need to think outside your normal box without your ego telling you that you can’t translate that wonderful new idea into an art project.
If you do have pets and you would like to start a new creative project, why not try to spend some time together and let that lovely heart-based connection fuel your creativity? Just sit together, share your energetic space, and let the ideas flow through you.
You could also try some mindful breathing, which could help you calm the chatter in your mind, as our mind chatter is seldom kind. And kindness is one thing we definitely do need when giving birth to a new creative idea.