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How One Simple Buddhist Principle Can Unblock Your Life

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
money & life

Escape from Behind Doors
You don’t have to be a novelist to be struck with the occasional (or frequent) bout of creative block. But, says Buddhist teacher and New York Times bestselling author Susan Piver, busting through any creative bottleneck, is indeed possible. One of the first steps is creating a space that is conducive to good work.

“In Shambhala Buddhism, we call this the ‘Container Principle’ which states that the environment in which an act occurs co-creates the act,” writes Susan. “The frame changes the picture. You are not the only force at work in any situation. The world you’re in is also a force and when you attend to that aspect, you are covering the bases.”

Your ‘container,’ says Susan, is wherever you are — whether that be your physical space, or your mental one. Keeping a schedule which allows you to take time to write, can help you feel more free and safe to write and creative.

But the container is also your physical surrounding. Susan recommends treating your physical space with kindness and high regard by “keeping it neat and clean, having flowers or beautiful objects around, and/or surrounding yourself with pictures of people or places you love.”

“These are indications that you take yourself seriously. When the outer environment telegraphs acceptance and doubtlessness, the inner environment responds,” she says.

Additionally, recommends Susan, it’s important to remind yourself of your own strengths, whatever they may be.

“Like many, I struggle intensely with self-doubt. Some time ago, I was telling a friend that I sometimes feel weird because I did not go to college. She said, ‘Have you framed pictures of your book covers and hung them on the wall? Those are your diplomas.”

Whatever those achievements may be, make sure to display them and keep them close to where you work.

“They could include a note from a friend thanking you for your kindness, a picture of a family member who has benefitted from your love, a book cover of something written by an artist you admire and whose spirit you too somehow embody…these are your real credentials.When you surround yourself with them, you create a container that longs to be filled with words.”

Get more inspiration from Susan Piver in her course, Become a Better Communicator, which begins April 28.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.