Ways We Block Our Creativity (and What We Can Do About It)

According to ancient Chinese metaphysics, there are two elements associated especially with creativity; they are also associated with the summer season:

  1. Fire – early summer, where the landscape contains great promises, colours vibrant, insight, prioritizing, a sense of vigour and momentum of generating.
  2. Earth – late summer that also spans the early days of what the West calls the autumn, where there’s still heat, of harvesting activities, of directly experiencing outcomes (desired and undesired), and a sense of a climax before the waning towards winter begins.

I wanted to highlight the importance of how this relates to our bodies, emotions, and psyche this time of the year, when you or those around you are going through the Earth energy of this Water Rabbit Year. As Rabbit is a Zodiac animal who is sensitive to beauty and creativity, and since Earth is the phase associated with what’s tangible, what’s real, and what’s consequential, it’s likely that you’re being asked about your creative powers.

Creativity is not to be confused with artistry alone. Creativity is a collaborative force that results when deep listening happens. In other words, the attunement to potential, imagination, and possibilities, much of which resides in the depths of the unknown of Yin, and by listening, Yang can steward these invisible forces forward through the generative, creative energies. Just as each year, we cycle through generative moments, creativity is part of life, and in many ways, defines life and is life.

Yet, we cannot silence or suppress the Fire element, we can only redirect or misuse the power, and when we do this, we ultimately prevent ourselves from seeing what we desire and know to be true from materializing during the Earth phase.

In Homing Coven we’ve been exploring what attempted blocked lifeforce (aka creative blocks) can look like. It’s less about staring at a blank screen, unable to put your thoughts to words. Yes, that’s what happens when one misdirects the Fire phase and you’re now confronting the reality in the Earth phase. But what does the action of avoiding or misusing our lifeforce look like everyday? I list a few here, not from a place of judgment, as we all do this, but as a way to highlight just how we can recognize it when our fears try to distract us from our life’s creative yearnings.

  • Getting pulled into drama
  • Creating drama
  • “Helping”
  • Guilt
  • Triangulating, case building
  • Blaming (not taking ownership)
  • Surrounding oneself with people who can’t celebrate with you, and putting too much emphasis on them
  • Needing to create reasons to justify why we we’re avoiding creativity
  • Being defensive / spiritual bypassing
  • Finding excuses, including good ones, to prevent your own growth
  • Being skeptical when signs or good things happen to us (eg. deeming them as purely coincidental, looking for the ‘No’ when there is a ‘Yes’)
  • Belief in roadblocks or momentary setbacks as signs that we should stop growing (mistaking things for a ‘No’)
  • Diminish our needs by calling them indulgences

In other words, we distract ourselves by directing our Fire towards things that disallow our generative muscles from listening and creating. We all have moments when our reflexes react to Fire because we naturally fear the consuming flames of fire; our imagination tells us we will hurt, we will burn, we will melt. The possibility of unknown pain keeps us in the pattern of familiar pain.

We avoid the boldness of Fire, and then wonder why when we’re in the Earth phase, we feel so tied down, rigid, lacking joy and spontaneity.

We assume other people’s energy blocks by engaging with their dramas, and then wonder why when we’re in the Earth phase we’re so fucking tired and resentful.

When we’re in the Earth element, sorting through our harvest, we may feel frustrated with some of the fruits we bore from denying our Fire. Here are some common fruits of attempting to block our creativity:

  • We doubt our right to be here, our right to belong
  • We doubt our talent, skills, intelligence, value
  • Imposter syndrome
  • We don’t want to take ourselves seriously because it might mean we need to trust Mystery to help us and do our part – doing the parts that may feel scary
  • We want to prevent further pain so we create the pain first
  • It’s hard to say yes to ourselves
  • It’s hard to rest because our depths haven’t done the work it truly wanted

It might also look like:

  • We’re with the wrong partner, and we search for signs that tell us we should stay.
  • We’re in a soulless job or unfulfilling work, and we tell ourselves that any physical symptoms of unwellness has nothing to do with it.
  • We fear our success, and we look for reasons to not pursue a dream.
  • We’d rather settle and compromise because we tell ourselves there’s nothing better out there than what we already have.
  • We tell ourselves that we are alone and don’t belong.
  • We spend our hard earned dollars on superficial “stuff” that gives us temporary, perceived safety.
  • We tell ourselves we are okay with crumbs and that being happy with crumbs are signs of being grateful and spiritual.

These experiences not only happen during the Fire and Earth seasons within the year, but depending on your natal chart within Chinese Astrology, things may be further amplified. Rabbit Years are also a transition or gap year between two larger-than-life signs, Tiger and Dragon. Tiger and Dragon are predatory animals; hunting is in their nature. Rabbit prefers peace, options of least resistance, and prefers to stay out of the spotlight. And yet, though Dragon isn’t yet here, we are being prepared for expansive Dragon’s arrival. 

I have said “oooof” six times since I began writing this; I am not personally exempt. The spirits are wanting me to hear this just as much as the Homing Coven and the entire Ceremonie community.

Some inner work practices and other activities that can help you reconcile with your Fire:

  • Tenderly, tenderly, tenderly WITH courage, courage, courage.
  • No more bullshitting ourselves.
  • Do it. Even if you don’t know how.
  • Celebrate your small win today by telling someone about it. Then invite them to share theirs with you.
  • Name your dream. Build that vision board. Better yet, take a photo and make it your phone’s wallpaper. It will go with you wherever your phone goes with you.
  • Write 10 of your own affirmations.
  • Shamanic journey with / to the Strength Tarot archetype.
  • Understand how your natal Elements according to Daoist work relates to the Fire Element (I offer Five Elements Zodiac readings and also offer a self-study Chinese Astrology e-course).
  • Make an action plan so you can finally tell that abusive boss to f*ck off.
  • Ask yourself this, “Beloved, what is it that you desire in this lifetime?”
  • When you feel your inner imposter enter the room, say so. Call them out.
  • When you fall off the bike, sit with the pain, be compassionate, and then get back up again.