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What does it mean to choose from the heart and trust the creative process? How can we reconnect with our 'why' and infuse love into our creative projects?

When embarking on a creative project, we may fall into the trap of focusing solely on the end result or outcome. We become fixated on the destination, losing sight of the joy and love that can be found in the process itself. This episode reminds us to cultivate a love of creation, allowing us to find fulfillment in every step of the journey, from the moment we choose what to create.

Join me in this first episode of Season 2 as we explore the power of listening to our heart and trusting our instincts when it comes to choosing a creative project. We'll uncover the significance of having a meaningful 'why' and how connecting to a deeper purpose can fuel our passion and bring more love into our creations.

Topics Covered

  • The importance of choosing from the heart
  • How to choose a project to create
  • Exploring different creative projects to choose from
  • The practice of listening to the heart and trusting it
  • The fear and doubts that may arise when choosing from the heart
  • The significance of reconnecting to the 'why' behind the project
  • Different motivations and 'whys' for creating
  • The impact of having a meaningful 'why' in the creative process

⏱️ Time Stamps

00:00 • Introduction to season two: The love of creating.

00:33 • Invitation to choose a creative project.

00:45 • Exploring different types of creative projects.

02:24 • How to choose your creative project.

04:38 • The importance of listening to your heart.

08:41 • Committing to your chosen project.

09:23 • Understanding the 'why' behind your project.

13:07 • Homework: Choosing your project and finding your 'why.'

14:09 • Conclusion and invitation to share your journey.

📄 Transcript

Leo 00:09

Welcome to the Zen Habits podcast, where we dive into how to work with uncertainty, resistance, and fear around our meaningful work. This is for anyone who wants to create an impact in the world and cares deeply enough to do the work. I'm your host, Leo Babauta, creator of the Zen Habits blog.


All right, so we are launching into Season Two as of today, as of this episode. Season two, as a reminder, the theme is "The Love of Creating." Love of Creation. Sorry. So love of creation, love of creating, we'll call it the same thing.


The thing that I've been inviting you to do, if you haven't listened to episode zero that I released last week, please go back and listen to that because it talks about the season. The thing I'm inviting you to do this season is to choose a project to create over these next four months.


So something that will take you about four months. So that'd be exact. Maybe you only get halfway done through that. Maybe you want to write a book. Maybe you want to paint or draw maybe you want to paint and draw and put it onto Instagram or put it somewhere out into the world. Maybe you want to write a blog, a newsletter. Maybe you want to create videos and put it on to YouTube or TikTok. Maybe you want to create a podcast.


What else? Music. Maybe you want to create music and put it online. Put it on Spotify or one of the other platforms. Maybe you want to create some kind of art installation out in the world. Maybe a collaborative art project. Or maybe it's something that's not traditional creative stuff. A business, an app software, that kind of stuff. A startup, a community organization, some kind of change in the world, some kind of change in your life.


So maybe you're like, "I want to create abundant finances for myself." Okay, great. Choose that. If it feels like it would be a creative thing, something that's new, that isn't already there in your life or in the world, then choose it.


You can really choose anything that feels like you're going to be creating. This will often be very applicable to your traditional kind of creative stuff. But imagine that the creative process could apply to creating anything.


And so you would have to, you might have to translate some of the ideas into what you're working on, but I believe that it'll be translated to anything that would require a creative process, some kind of creation. So choose something. How do you choose? Let's talk about that. And then we'll talk about the why, that's also really important.


So how do you choose? I would suggest choosing from the heart, where is your heart called to? And so for some of you, that's going to be really obvious. You're like, "Oh, I've been wanting to write this book for 20 years." So write it. That's what you want to choose.


"Oh, I've been wanting to create a huge. painting, a wall-sized painting for a long time now. I've been doing some sketching for a while, but I actually want to create something big", or "Man, I would love to create an album. I've been, practicing with my music for a while, and I actually want to create a freaking album." Okay, great.


"I want to create a YouTube channel, a podcast, a blog", whatever it is that you're like, "Oh yes, of course. That's what I'm called towards." And again, it doesn't have to be one of these traditional kind of creative type projects, but your heart might already know. You might be like, "Yes, I've been wanting to do this. This is the perfect time. And I'm going to finally do it."


For those of you who are lucky enough to have that, where it's just "I know already what it is." Great. You're sorted. Trust that.


Some of you might have a few projects. Things like, "Oh man, it could be this. I've been wanting to do a, sew a quilt for the longest time. But also, I really love the idea of some kind of watercolor practice, daily watercolor practice. And, I've been wanting to create a YouTube channel about watercolor practice for the longest time", right?


For you, you might have three things. And, I really encourage you to practice choosing one. And in the last season, we talked a little bit about the distinction between deciding and choosing. So I'm going to talk a little bit about that here at the outset.


Deciding as a reminder, if you already remember this. Deciding is from the head. It's let me try and get the right answer. And we will do rational, logical kinds of thinking decision trees, pros and cons. These kinds of thinking based things are the realm of deciding.


But over here. As distinct from the head based deciding is choosing and choosing is from the heart or the gut is from what we feel, our intuition. It is simply choosing what the heart wants, something we rarely allow ourselves to do.


And in here, there is no right answer. It's just "Oh, I think that's what my heart wants," or it is simply true. "That's what my heart wants." There isn't a right or wrong answer here. This is an amazing way to tackle life in general. It's just "Oh, I choose to do this next task or I choose this project. I choose to have this meeting with this person. I choose to go outside and go for a walk because that's what my heart wants."


What if we allowed ourselves to have what our heart wanted? And as you practice with this heart-based thing. It will help you in the creative process as well. So that's why I'm bringing it back here at the beginning of the season, because if you practice it now, it will pay off throughout the course of this creative process that we're going to be doing the next four months. And it will pay off for life in everything, really, but definitely in anything that you create.


So practice it to practice it right now. If you have two or three or four projects that you might choose from, just say, "Ooh, okay. I'm going to line them up here in front of me and just see what is my heart calling me to do?" And you might not have the answer right away, but you might just sit without thinking too much about it. Just "Ooh, let me just feel my heart."


It's a practice. So it takes some practice. You might not get it right at first. It might be like, "I got nothing." Okay, great. Sit there for a while longer. And then a little bit longer. If nothing comes to you, sit down later. Maybe a more comfortable spot where you don't have anything to do. No doing anything, nothing on your phone, no meditating. Just sit back, be receptive, relax, breathe, and see what comes up.


And put those, put the question in front of you "Which of these is my heart wanting to do?" And if you sit long enough, something will come. Maybe you have to sit again the next day and the next day and the next day, but make this your main thing. "What am I going to, what does my heart want? What am I going to choose?"


And then just choose from the heart and whatever comes, trust it. There was going to be fear that comes up or questions or doubts, screw all of that. It's okay if they come, but. Trust what your heart said. And so this requires a listening that we normally don't have. So it's a practice in listening, listening to the heart and then trusting it.


Now, maybe you don't have three or four things lined up that you might choose from. Maybe you got nothing. And so sit with that. And just be like, "Huh, I got no possibilities right now, but what does my heart want? What do I want to create over the next four months? What would be amazing? What would be inspiring to me? What would light me up? What would be an expression of my love? What a possibility do I want to create that doesn't already exist in my life and in the world?"


These are just some prompts. Rewind this podcast back a minute, 30 seconds ago and start to write these prompts down. And then one by one, take each of these questions and just sit in silence with one of them. Not all of them, one of them. What does my heart want? Sit there with that question for 10 minutes, 20 minutes. Do that for several times during the day.


And then tomorrow, if nothing comes to you, choose another of the prompts that feels good. Maybe it's like, "What possibility do I want that doesn't already exist? What's my heart yearning for", is another great question. So sit with these prompts, and just sit and see what your heart says. Listen to the heart, and then trust it.


Choose something. And then just commit yourself to that for four months, and there's going to be some scariness to that. "Oh, I don't want to commit. I don't know if this is the right thing." That's the head trying to protect you with fear, with doubts, with a lot of head talk.


And what I'm suggesting that you do is just choose from the heart and trust it and commit to it. What's the worst thing that can happen? You choose the wrong thing. You waste these four months and you've learned something. You practice with it. You started trusting yourself and maybe it didn't turn out to be the right thing. Great. Choose something else next. You've learned something. This is how we discover.


Okay. Last thing I want to touch on. So practice that. Last thing I want to touch on is the 'why' behind the project. So you could choose something and you can be like, "Okay, I want to write this book. I want to create this YouTube channel." And then you you just do it because that's what I said I was going to do. And I feel like I should do, and I have to, and all of that.


Screw that. That's not what we're practicing here. So you could you could do that. And that is actually probably likely what you'll be doing if that's your usual way. But what if you could practice something different? What's a different way to come from that would be amazing to you. That would be a different kind of creating.


And so this is where the love of creation comes from. We are in the act of creation and we want to bring some love into this, a love of the act itself. Is a great why, like "I want to create just because I freaking love watercolors. I love writing. I love singing."


But what about also the love that's in your heart that wants to come out into the world? What about the love of the impact of that? "I love seeing people's faces light up when they hear my comedy, when they see me out on a stage, like acting something out with my, the fullest expression of who I am. I love the impact on that. I love seeing people just sing in joy as my music gets played in their AirPods. It's amazing." This is the love of the impact.


And so these are some of the whys you might have. Maybe it's just because this thing freaking needs to come out of my heart. It needs to get out. And that's a ‘why’. So if you have a why that really matters to you, that's meaningful, then write that down somewhere. It could be a sentence, a paragraph, half a page, a full page.


This is the 'why' for why do this. And you need to reconnect to that ‘why’ regularly throughout this. I would say at least weekly. Throughout this four month process. But it could be every single session where you sit down to write, where you sit down to paint or sing or play your instrument, where you sit down to code or record a YouTube video or connect to others and creating a nonprofit organization as you sit down every single time reconnect to your ‘why’.


This is the thing that you care about. This is why put yourself into this space of uncertainty and the unknown. This is why step into the place where you have fears and doubts. There has to be a 'why' bigger than our fears and doubts. Bigger than our struggles and our blockers. Bigger than the discomfort that's gonna come. Bigger than our usual patterns.


And if there is a why there, then you will be willing to step into that over and over again. Maybe not sometimes. Maybe sometimes you're going to turn away from it in avoidance and resistance. But other times you're going to be like, "Yes, I choose this. There's something that's going to become available to me if I step into this space of the unknown. If I risk making a fool of myself, what would be available to me? What would be possible? What do I want that's on the other side of that? What do I want that's in that space of the unknown? That's in the act of creating." So ask yourself these questions. And again, you might need to sit with them for a little bit, but write it down here at the start.


So your homework for this week, if you should choose to accept, if you choose into this process is listen to your heart and choose a project. You might need to sit for a day or several days until something comes up. Trust it, commit to it.


And then number two, find a ‘why’ that you actually care about. And this is going to be some, each of these might be a struggle for some of you. It's okay. Let yourself be in this process. Let it be fun. Let yourself play. Let it be expansive. Let your curiosity come out. Let your heart open. And by the, by next week, as we start to dive into this, hopefully you've done some of this work.


Set aside some time to do it, set a reminder to do it. And if you do these things, which are not trivial tasks, but if you do them, you will be opening yourself to the love of creation. And you will get so much more out of this podcast season. And I would love to hear about it.


When you choose a project, when you struggle with any of this stuff, when you find your ‘why’ send it to me, I might not reply to every single one of you, or maybe I'll just reply with a heart emoji or something like that. But I would love to hear from you [email protected].


Send me your projects that you've chosen, send me your struggles and your questions, send me the places where you're getting stopped already, send me your deeper ‘whys’ and share with me. Let me share in the joy of it, but also let me take those so that I can use them in my creation, creating this podcast season, future episodes. Maybe you want to come on and get coached. Come and ask, write to me, [email protected]. Let's talk.


Okay. My friends, I will talk to you later, sending you all love as you go into the process of creation.


If you haven't already, please subscribe to this podcast in your favorite podcast app. If you found this episode useful, please share this podcast with someone you know, who cares deeply. That would be really meaningful to me. And, if you'd like to dive deeper with me into this work, please check out the blog at or get in touch at [email protected].

Thanks for listening, and I hope you'll join me every Wednesday for more episodes of the Zen Habits podcast.

Connect with Leo


Zen Habits

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Music: Salem Belladonna & Robrecht Dumarey

Editor: Justin Cruz

Post-production: Diana C. Guzmán Caro & Amanda Goddard