By Frances McGowin

Creative energy or mojo is easiest to tap into when you are a child. You have fewer brain filters like financial responsibilities, achievement issues, self-esteem, insecurity problems, and health concerns. Adults know how too much of that gets in the way of fun, relationships, and their own creative selves.

Although that wall seems difficult to penetrate, it can be done. Barriers to spontaneity do have a doorway.

Creative energy is what feels like excitement: a kind of exuberant anticipation about getting started and completing something. Could be something as simple as cooking a great meal or as complex as building a business from scratch. It’s the same energy, and it lives within each of us.

Your first step is finding the art form that connects with that energy. This is where knowing your history can be helpful. 

  1. Is there another family member with culinary arts, painting, storytelling, or teaching talents? 
  2. Is there something that you loved to do as a child but didn’t pursue? 
  3. Is there something you always wanted to do but never had the opportunity to do, like travel, golf, or taking new classes?

Retirement is the perfect time to find your mojo and go for it. Once you connect with this creative energy source, hang onto your seat; your life is about to get a lot more exciting!

For me, I always knew I wanted to paint. I painted 20 years ago. The style was simplified impressionism. When I retired, I started painting again and questioned WHY I ever thought I could paint.

 I was not happy or connected with my new work, but I kept painting anyway. To help this process along, I ate junk food (self-medication), went to art workshops, and watched YouTube painting instructions. Every day that I painted was a painful self-loathing experience. I tried to remember how much I loved painting 20 years ago, but it was a very faint memory at best.

I started taking golf lessons to get out of the house. Then I took up pickleball, more time away. I started writing again. I was slowly finding more and more ways to squeeze out painting. 

What I discovered about myself was that I had not tapped into the right method of painting that lined up with my mojo. The only way to do that was to keep painting until I figured it out.

I always knew I wanted to paint, so even in my disappointing attempts to connect with my new abstract work, I still had the desire to create paintings. I had to figure it out.

Although there are many ways to find your mojo, I finally realized that I needed to align my energy with my desire before painting, not after… I was trying to make a round peg fit into a square hole. 

I painted every day, clearing my mind and clinging to my desire. Then one day, a few months later, while painting, I felt excitement running through my body. It was a mental and physical sensation. Finally, I looked forward to painting again, even though I did not always have this dramatic sensation. I just kept painting.

Inadvertently, I discovered intuitive painting, and it “fit.” The internal electrical pulse that I experienced while painting returns more frequently, making it more and more exciting for me.

This is how I found my mojo, however, finding YOUR mojo may be an entirely different experience. The singular unwavering similarity about tapping this creative energy source is that it feels energizing and exciting, and you always want more!

The journey might include the following:

  1. Participating in an activity that just “clicks” makes you want more.
  2. Feeling exhilaration when watching something on TV or a movie or having an in-person encounter with something or someone.
  3. Understanding that all things are art forms- teaching, writing, cooking, organizing, dance, etc.- There is a plethora of art forms to choose from! Experiment with many forms!
  4. Learning to define “failures” as successes instead of being discouraged because they bring you closer to success. I find that celebrating failure with chocolate can help turn it into a success!
  5. Appreciate that in being retired, you are in a position to explore and appreciate the process of discovery.
  6. Most of all, banish negative self-talk, the comparisons to others, and the need for everyone to like what you do. Let your art form be the deepest expression of who you are- much like dancing as if no one is watching. Put it in the public if you want, but understand that a limited number of people will resonate with your work, and do not focus on those who do not. Create for you only and the feeling that it gives you!
  7. Mojo takes nurturing, so do what it takes to get back on track when you get off track.

I have a group of talented artist friends. We are kindred spirits, connected by our creative journeys and supporting each other through the trials and tribulations of this evolution. Finding your group of kindred spirits who share your desires is important. You will need them to lift you when you are stuck and support your efforts all along the way.

Now, TODAY, take your first step to find your mojo!

May 17, 2023
Musings From The Cove

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