Finding Creative Joy

Each day is full of parceled experiences: some are good and some are “works in progress”. The parcels we encounter can be tough. What makes a difference is being able to create or identify the ones that bring comfort and joy. For many people, this is realising that creativity can be one remedy. 


Reflecting on biographies about Frieda Kahlo

helped me come to this realisation. How do you

channel such emotion and creativity while being

constrained? Kahlo teaches us that the way in

which you move around these constraints can be


Here are some of my methods that have helped me through the chemo haze that may help propel you towards creative ways of thinking: 

Waking up:

“Taku wā, taku hā” - my time, my breath. Wake up, acknowledge the day and give thanks… and breathe in deeply. 

Taking in the light of the day fills me with mental clarity, helping to ground me in preparation for the day ahead. The ritual of setting up my breakfast is the next phase - a simple task that is necessary for me, and I find ways to make it enjoyable. One such way is through artfully arranging the foods as it fills me with satisfaction; the aesthetically pleasing touch further encouraging me to want to nourish my body.

Setting the mood:


Looking at things that inspire me each day creates intrigue. Some days, this could be a flower in the garden or an image from a magazine. I allow these images to capture my thoughts and imagination, and I try to put these sources of inspiration into the environment around me to provide me with a sense of joy. 

I may minimise the above process on particularly difficult days, opting instead to seek solace in simplicity. A breakfast ‘ritual’ from the other morning is a good example. I locked my gaze with the colours of my place mat - dusky pink with rose gold marbling. Focusing on these colours brought me a cool sense of calmness to carry me through.

Creative movements:

You never know how your body is going to feel each day. Sitting yoga is your friend when you lack the energy to walk more than 3 minutes. You can do it in your own time and be in one place without excessive strain, and there are free YouTube videos that help guide you. It creates clear mental spaces.

Do things that you think are fun:

I think being honest with yourself with things that bring you happiness is important. Don’t feel whakamā (shame)! Set your embarrassment aside. If watching YouTube videos on interior design for two hours brings you happiness… do it. 


Inspiration for creativity and joy is personal, varied and important for each individual. During difficult times, we sometimes need a reminder on how to blossom it back into being. 

The main thing is feeling that you can find it.



Kristin PatersonComment