The Essence of Creativity:
Bach Flower Essences for Designing Your Life

Creativity is not the exclusive property of visual artists, writers, dancers, or those active in any of the fields we consider "artistic." Creativity is key to the well-lived life. In its broadest sense, creativity is the ability to imagine and design a life that fully expresses your dreams.

In that sense we are all artists, and for every artist the creative path involves countless decisions and choices in service to our visions. When we're creative in our relationships, we can guide them out of ruts and conflict. Creative thinking at the work place gives us passion for what we do. When we think imaginatively about ourselves, we can literally recreate our lives.

In vibrational terms creativity comes from unhindered access to the energy of our soul essence. Inhibition of this energy flow leads to creative blockages. The following Bach Flower Remedies can help to dissolve these psychic logjams.

(Note: While I probably could have chosen dozens of essences related to creativity, I decided to select some Bach Flower Essences not ordinarily associated with creativity.)

Pine: Guilty Before Charged

It's healthy to look for ways to improve our skills, polish our gifts, and enhance our lives. Settling for less than being all we can be usually leads to inertia and dissatisfaction. What matters is the spirit in which we strive for self-improvement.

When every mistake offers an occasion for guilt and self-condemnation, our ability to take creative risks is greatly diminished. Imagine someone who gets an idea about how to improve office procedures. She works on her concept in an initial spurt of enthusiasm, but once she's drawn up a plan, she begins mentally tearing it apart, finding everything that's wrong or missing. Physical destruction follows mental demolition, and her idea dies before it can see the light of day.

Pine allows us to launch our ideas without shooting down during their first flight. It helps us to study mistakes and detect flaws without judging ourselves for them. With this perspective we can learn and expand our ability to act effectively and creatively.

Rock Water: The Straight and Narrow Path

This essence relates to mental and emotional rigidity: the refusal to expand one's boundaries by questioning old assumptions. People who can benefit from Rock Water run their lives by an unbending set of rules. Their speech is peppered with "I would never" and "I will always."

While this is an extreme description, whenever we are ruled by the beliefs and behavior patterns of our parents or culture, rather than by the voice of intuition or spirit or soul, we establish dead zones of rigidity where nothing new can grow.

I find that this is a particularly good essence for the kinds of creative blockages where one finds oneself recycling the same old tired ideas. While "writer's block" is the best known of such blockages, Rock Water can help whenever you feel stuck.

This essence is the only Bach Flower Essence which isn't extracted from a flower, but from natural springs and holy wells long held sacred for their curative powers. Rock Water thus embodies the essence of flow, guiding us to the road less traveled.

Agrimony: for Emotional Droughts

Emotional expression make all forms of creativity vivid and passionate, thus arousing in the viewer an emotional response. Children bring powerful emotion to their creations. Whether they're painting bold strokes across paper or expressing their excitement about something that's captured their attention, their enthusiasm is often contagious.

Creative works, whether they are office projects or choral performances, that lack emotional richness, are never fully satisfying. Creativity itself is in many ways a feeling, an energetic flow that makes the journey joyful.

Yet, many people have been taught that their emotions are shameful, childish, or in other ways unacceptable. People who have a deep need for harmony are particularly susceptible to this kind of pressure. They learn not to speak about their negative feelings and in time not to experience.

Unfortunately, it isn't possible to suppress awareness of negative emotions without also blunting appreciation of positive ones.

People in this condition need Agrimony. When they take it they often find that facing their inner problems and difficulties is easier than trying to suppress them, especially when a renewed flood of positive emotion eases their journey. Their sensitivities and ability to create harmony can lead them to great creativity, while their ability to face their issues and genuinely treat them lightly serves as an inspiration to the rest of us.

Chestnut Bud: Over and Over Again

It's common for those formally known as artists to develop characteristic styles and often patterns for working out creative challenges. We do the same in our own creations, saying to ourselves, "This worked before, so I'll try it again."

Sometimes we are run by patterns invisible to us. A painter may not realize (s)he always looks at and paints a tree the same way. We may not realize that our perceptions of challenges and dreams are filtered by habits from the past.

Whether we are recognized artists or those who seek to be creative in the direction of our lives, keeping on doing things the way we've always done them, without regard to whether it's actually working out, is an energetic blockage that can benefit from Chestnut Bud.

This remedy helps us to break repetitive patterns. It teaches us to be in the moment, to learn right now. It is a valuable remedy for any condition which persists despite every attempt to change it. Chestnut helps to break through those repetitive patterns to true originality.

Larch: The Confidence to Create

People who need Larch aren't those who try and fail to manifest their dreams. They are those who rarely try at all. They are genuinely convinced of their inability to do anything original, or even challenging. They are mines of unrealized potential.

The above is likely an extreme description, but milder cases of low self-esteem are very common. You, for example, might be very confident that you can sing beautifully or play a musical instrument, but when it comes to effectively using a computer, you're sure that whatever you do that isn't in the (hard-to-understand) manual will freeze the screen.

Many people experience a challenge to self-confidence when they begin to tread an entirely new path. Because they've never done something before, they are unsure about what will work and won't. They may anticipate humiliation and failure.

Depending on how deep the feeling of low self-confidence is, Larch may work gently or powerfully. However it acts, stay with it. There is no more powerful and beautiful experience than the reclaiming of yourself.

Holly: Poison Envy

The Holly essence primarily addresses hatred and envy. I view envy as a primary inhibitor of creativity. You will hear people active--and unsuccessful--in the arts explain the success of others with words such as, "Her father is an editor (curator, stage manager). If I had connections I'd be making it, too."

In general, the envious tend to feel that the success of others is undeserved, and they envy people the supposed ease of their success: whether it's in a career, a happy love relationship, or financial accomplishments. (Note: sometimes it's difficult for those new to essences to distinguish between Holly and Willow. The person in need of Holly tends to be more active in their expressions of envy; those who need willow exhibit a smoldering, passive, resentment).

When we believe that success is a matter of luck, we are unlikely to trust the power of our own creativity. If we believe that happiness is available in limited quantities, we block ourselves from getting our share. The sight of others' success or happiness only reminds us of our lack, thus deepening our envy.

Holly has an additional benefit for those who seek to enhance their creativity. Dr. Edward Bach said of this essence: "Holly protects us from everything that is not Universal Love. Holly opens the heart and unites us with Divine Love."

When we create in the spirit of love--for ourselves, for others, for the act of creation itself, our experience of life becomes transformed. No longer fixated on the goal, the accomplishment, the END, we remember what we always knew that the journey itself is our most artistic creation.

Some Crystal Helpers

The purpose of individual crystals and essences rarely match in an exact way. This is mainly because most Bach Flower Essences describe personality structures; while crystals are more general.

Thus, sugilite can be used for anger, guilt, or resentment. It can be be used when one's taking Pine, Holly, or Willow. The principal intention of this crystal is to dissipate these negative emotions by putting us in touch with our inner sources of strength and light.

Although they aren't perfect matches, you can meditate with related crystals to enhance your ability to dissolve negative emotions and expand your creativity.

Opal magnifies and clarifies emotional states; brings suppressed feelings to the surface. It can work well with Agrimony.

It was interesting to think of a crystal that might work well with Chestnut Bud. I came up with Carnelian because this crystal helps one to be in the here and now, making choices based on one's current needs, rather than on those of the past.

Citrine is the primary crystal for self-esteem, and it's an ideal stone to wear or meditate with while taking Larch.

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