What Pillows Taught Me About Snapping Out of My Creative Rut

What, what!? How many of y’all are feeling in a rut? I’ve been having this conversation on loop since the pandemic started and, more recently, a frequent topic with many creatives — including folks I know and strangers alike.

How do we get out of a rut and how does being in one serve us? I believe that all challenges are here to break us open so we can ultimately be and do better. We must experience the darkness to see the light. As spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The art of happiness is also the art of suffering well.”

This universal intelligence has been coming through strong since we were forced to shelter in place last March in San Francisco. Where did the year go? And where did our inspiration and creative energy go? Ahhh.

I know I’ve suffered through multiple ruts as of late, but now, thanks to this lovely sofa and these pillows that sparked a massive fabric hunt, I’ve gained some knowledge that I want to share.

Sofa with custom-designed pillows
My new sofa with custom-designed pillows.

Ready for some pillow talk, boo?

On a walk this morning, I was thinking about how to help creatives get out of their ruts. Then, an acronym came to me. Duh!

Here’s my download on emerging from R.U.T.S:

R — Realign with your authentic self and true desires to manifest whatever excites you.

U — Unlearn the “should’ve/would’ve/could’ves.” Just be in the flow and tap into that feeling of excitement and spur-of-the-moment momentum without trying to figure out how to make money, get more likes/views, etc. Don’t distract those creative juices!

T — Tribe. Nobody gets through hard times without their homies, family, friends or community.

When I’m feeling sad, mad or in a rut, I reach out to my beloved network of friends and family. I always feel better after connecting and chatting about what is bugging me. According to this article in The Atlantic on “The Pursuit of Happiness,” being socially connected and doing things you love are directly related to our happiness quotient. 

For nearly five decades, Bhutan has used a “Gross National Happiness” index to form public policy. What, what? Sign me up for more.

S — Share. I believe sharing is caring. Share not only your happy, but the sad and seemingly bad. You’re not alone and there is always hope.

Now just be and do. No matter how small the project seems, get started and you’ll feel the momentum build. It’s as simple as that. Move your energy around by taking baby steps. When you follow your excitement, the universe really does conspire to help you.

In this case, as I mentioned in the video, Elena, a creative soul sister and friend, was super excited to search with me for fabrics that matched my sofa and sew the pillows I designed.

Toan's friend Elena helps sew customized pillows
My soul sister Elena, whose mother was a seamstress for THE Coco Chanel, helped bring life to these custom pillows and my creative juices.

This creative combustion has gotten me eager to share more of what brings out my true authentic joy — helping you design a life and style that elevates you, boo. For more inspiration, go to StyleYourSpirit.com.

Toan and his new sofa with pillows he custom designed.

Sharing is caring, so please share what kind of rut you’re in and tag a friend who needs some inspo to keep the good creative energy going.

Love ya,

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“Style Your Spirit” features fresh, quick videos with a SIMPLE design tip to create a BIG shift in your perspective. These videos were borne out my mission to inspire you to be aware of the beauty around — and inside you.

When you change your space, you change the place inside you. It’s even more exciting when you find it and share that spark and sparkle with others. Some of us just need a little inspiration to discover it and take action. You’ll find it here.

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