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In today’s episode of Creative Lift, Creating Space: Reflecting in the Attic, we’re building on last week’s exploration of an inner, mental space, specifically designed for reflection.

Today, we’ll step into that space and try an activity together called The Emotion Jars. You’ll consider the emotional fuel you currently have for your creative work through a hands-on experience. I encourage that you listen to this one with pen, paper, and some colored pencils in hand.


Why consider our emotions in relation to our creative work? In Brené Brown’s book, Atlas of the Heart, she describes a survey that she gave as part of her research on shame. Over 7000 participants were invited to list all the emotions they could recognize and name as they were experiencing them. The (shocking) average number of emotions named across the surveys was three: happiness, sadness, and anger. What about shame, disappointment, wonder, awe, disgust, embarrassment, despair, contentment, boredom, anxiety, stress, love, overwhelm, surprise, and the many other emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human?


Through our creative work, we craft experiences that evoke emotion. We open doorways that make it possible for hearts to expand with wonder, and to contract with disappointment. Through experiencing art, people strengthen their emotional range and each artistic touchpoint clarifies their compass. By returning to your song, your story, your poem, your painting, they intuitively feel the slight difference between surprise and shock, or between embarrassment and belonging.  The emotional fuel we use for our work shines through in it, whether it is remembered emotion, current emotion, or sometimes even unacknowledged emotion. Taking the time to ground ourselves in our emotional landscape helps us to see ourselves, our work, and others more clearly, and deepens the impact and meaning of our creative work.


Let’s take a look, then, at where your heart is, today, through this activity in the Illuminary’s Attic. 



Find me on Instagram: @naomikinsman

Find Alex on Instagram: @ag.doherty


You can also help others find the show by rating and reviewing it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to the show. Your words make such a difference for them—and for me, as I continue to create this show. Many, many thanks in advance. And of course, a huge thank you to Alex Doherty for his fantastic editing of the show.