187: Coronamania: From Survival To Creation


“We have to learn to assess what is, shift our perspective, move forward, and do what we can to help other people.”

Hey guys, welcome back to ONKEN RADIO, the podcast where we explore the body, mind, and soul of the creative entrepreneur. It’s my goal to help you take your creativity, business, and life to the next level. I’m so glad you’re joining me on this journey!

Today, I’m discussing what’s happening to all of us right now: The corona-apocalypse. We’re all going through some crazy times with the spread of the virus and the quarantine, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and scared during this time.

We’re going through a moment where three major things are threatened in our lives: Our health, our wealth, and our family. Not only are we worried about the virus infecting our loved ones and ourselves, but we also worry about the state of our finances. The economy is completely crashing under the threat of the virus, and everything is getting canceled. I’m already starting to feel the economic effects of the shutdown; I’ve had to cancel numerous photoshoots because of the threat of the virus, so now I have to find new ways to make ends meet. 

I’m also very concerned about my family. My mother has cancer right now and is going through chemotherapy, which weakens your immune system, so she’s extremely high risk. I’m obviously also concerned about contracting the virus, but I’m far more concerned for my loved ones, and my concerns have given me a great deal of anxiety and fear. 

We’ve all shifted into a survival state during this crazy time. The survival state is absolutely paralyzing, so it’s important that we take a step back and shift our perspective. 

Today, I’m giving you ten steps to shift your perspective from a survival state to a creation state so that you can move forward with your life. These steps really helped me a lot during this difficult time, and I know that they will help you too. Let’s get started.

Ten Steps to Shift from a Survival State to a Creation State

#1. Practice awareness of what you’re feeling.

I want you to define how you’re feeling. Put a name on your fear, anxiety, and stress. What’s causing your survival state? Are you afraid of losing your job or maybe a loved one? Are you concerned about contracting the virus, and it having serious effects on your health?

Whatever it is that you’re feeling, I want you to put a label on it so that you can bring more awareness to your feelings. Everyone has underlying fears, so it’s essential that you take a step back and practice awareness so that you can understand and examine your fears. 

#2. Exercise.

It’s so critical for you to keep moving during this time. I know that most of you don’t have access to a gym right now, but there are plenty of exercises that you can do at home. Right now, I’m just using a little yoga mat, but I’m still staying very active. 

A friend of mine has many bodyweight exercises that you can be doing right now from home. His name is John Peel, and you can check out his Instagram @johnpeelfitness and his website. Right now, John’s exercises emphasize staying fit at home, so definitely check him out. 

In addition to exercising, it’s also critical for you to eat healthy right now. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that you have let your physical and dietary health slip. Your health is crucial during this time. 

#3. Reset your nervous system.

This step is going to be a key factor for shifting your perspective to a creation state. To do this, you need to understand the body/mind connection (which I’ll expand on in step four). Your thoughts are the language of your mind, and your feelings are the language of your body. Your mind and body work in a cycle. When you have negative thoughts, your body releases chemicals that make you feel stressed and afraid. Those chemicals cause you to have more negative thoughts, so then the cycle repeats. 

You need to break the cycle of negativity, and a great way to do that is breathwork. Breathwork is such a powerful tool for pulling you out of your fear loops. It’s so easy to get caught up in a negative thought spiral. You continue to think negative thoughts over and over again which makes you feel worse and worse. Breathwork breaks the cycle of negativity so that you can shift into a creative space. 

Breathwork has helped me so much during this challenging time. Just the other day, it helped pull me out of that fear state and into a creative state. I use my own version of the Wim Hof breathing method where I lie down and use a guiding track. I talk more in-depth about this practice in Episode 164: How Breathwork Has Helped My Creative Flow.

#4. Understand the body/mind connection.

Understanding this connection is essential for breaking you out of your negative thought loop discussed in step three. I recommend everyone read Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Becoming Supernatural. Dr. Joe explains the scientific evidence for how your mind can heal your body, and he explains how the mind/soul connection works. You have got to pick up that book. It will change your life. 

#5. Practice gratitude.

I’ve had a hard time maintaining this practice with COVID-19 and the quarantine. I’ve felt fear come into my life, but now I’m starting to get back into the practice, and it’s helping me immensely. I’ve even been thanking the universe for the coronavirus because of what it will show us. I think COVID-19 will awaken our world and our society so that we can bring positive changes, and I’m thankful for that. 

We can practice gratitude to be thankful for everything that we have in our lives. We can be thankful for every breath that we take. This needs to be a constant practice because practicing gratitude amplifies our vibration so that more positivity comes into our lives. Plus, being a grateful person makes you more likable. People want to be around positive, grateful people, so get in the habit of practicing gratitude today!

#6. Find your connection to the universe, surrender, and co-create.

Surrendering to the universe is a huge part of getting through times of uncertainty. The global situation is out of your control. Trying to maintain control will only exhaust you and create more negativity. You have no clue what will happen in the future or even in the next few moments, so surrender and embrace this present moment. I think that the more you surrender to the present moment and to what the universe will bring you, the better your life will become!

It’s also essential that we let go of control in our creative alchemy. When we’re creating, we shouldn’t try to control the outcome — we should surrender to the universe and co-create with it. Our art will become bigger and better if we co-create with the universe rather than worrying about having full control. 

#7. Think about how you can use your time to ideate and create.

You can use this time of isolation to build something new. It may be tempting to just sit around and watch television since you’re at home, but it’s essential that you use this time to be productive and make something new. 

Something that’s helped me get through this time is creating a routine to be more productive. I block out my time to meditate, practice gratitude, and then get into my workday. Every day I ask myself how I can create something to make the world a better place. Whether through an Instagram post or my podcast, I try my best to brighten people’s days. We can use this time to be productive and do what we can to make the world a better place!

#8. Create something just for fun.

Recently, I made a video for the Corona Aid Dance Challenge for the organization We Inspire Justice, and I had a ton of fun with it! The dance challenge supports multiple aid funds for communities suffering economically from COVID-19, so definitely check that out! Not only was I happy to do it because it was for a great cause, but I also found that it got me into a flow state. Making that video got me moving and out of my fear state. Do something fun with your creativity, and have a good time with it! 

#9. Think about how you can reinvent your business.

Most people are taking a financial hit with the shutdown, so start thinking about changing your business to suit our current moment. My business was heavily affected by the shutdown because photography requires me to be around people, so I had to reinvent my business to make additional revenue. Something that I’m doing now is creating one-of-a-kind hats, so definitely check that out! 

How can you be making additional money during this time? Maybe you have a passion that you can turn into a profitable side hustle! Use this time to think about additional revenue streams.

#10. Be aware of what is happening without overindulging.

It’s really easy to consume too much news right now. This actually happened to me last week. I was consuming way too much media, and it absolutely paralyzed me and filled me with fear. The steps that I shared with you today got me out of that paralyzing fear state. 

Definitely don’t overindulge in the amount of news that you take in during this time, but a few sources that I’ve found helpful to stay healthy are Danielle Shine (@chef_shine), Dr. Peter Attia, Dr. David Sinclair, and Peter Crone. Even though it’s important to stay informed about your health and current events, it’s essential not to overdo your intake of news and health sources so that you don’t fall back into a fear state. 

Something else that has really helped me shift into a creation state is Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast, where Oprah Winfrey shares her enlightening conversations with a variety of different celebrities, spiritual thinkers, and wellness experts, so make sure to check that out as well! 

If this episode helped you during this difficult time, please share it on Instagram, and tag me, @nickonken. Also, if you love the podcast, make sure to leave a review on Apple Podcasts. I’d appreciate your review so much, and your reviews help the podcast grow so that I can help more people! 

It’s so important that you shift from a survival state to a creation state. Alchemy is defined as the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.

With that being said, I define Creative Alchemy as using the process of creativity to create a lens of which to perform alchemy. These principles not only apply to artists and creatives in their own creative processes, but to anyone who wants to create an extraordinary life in color for themselves. I’ve found that 80% of creating is alchemizing the thoughts, emotions, and other inner blocks that keep you from putting the pen to the paper. Navigating to the act of creation takes alchemical processes.

Don’t let fear control your life. Use this time to pursue your Creative Alchemy and make the world a better place!

See you next time —

Nick Onken

“Your thoughts are the language of the mind and feelings are the language of the body.”

You can Subscribe and Listen to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts. And please leave me a Rating and Review!


Some things we learn in this podcast:

  • How to move from survival to creation [1:00]
  • How to put a name to your fear [5:35]
  • How to stay fit at home [7:20]
  • How to break the cycle of negative thought [8:10]
  • How breathwork can mitigate stress [9:15]
  • How to understand the mind-body connection [10:20]
  • Why gratitude is so important [11:17]
  • How to manage your time in quarantine [14:30]
  • How to manage your intake of news [19:00]

How to Migrate from Survival to Creation

  1. Put a name to your fear
  2. Keep moving
  3. Nervous system reset
  4. Understand the body-mind connection
  5. Practice gratitude
  6. Find your connection to the universe
  7. Think about how you can use your time inside to ideate and create
  8. Create something for fun
  9. Think about how you can reinvent your business
  10. Be aware of what is happening but don’t overindulge

Links Mentioned:

A FREE email series to create a personal visual brand authentic to who you are.

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  • Learn how to ideate and create storytelling visual assets to enhance and up-level your personal brand
  • .. PLUS! You’ll get access my brand building book recs and favorite resources

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