We are in the middle of our writing circle, and I should be working on this project I have been engaged in for the past two years, but in random fashion, I am distracted by this idea of the High Creative. I decided to write a letter to the High Creatives as a preface to the big project. (I still hesitate to call it a book lest I jinx it---just like athletes, writers are superstitious too).
I thought I would share.
Preface: A Letter to the High Creative
Dear High Creative,
There is nothing wrong with you.
You have been told that you are unfocused, that you need to be this way or that way. You have been told that you have attention deficit, that you are damaged and disordered. You have been told you are a dreamer, that you need to grow up. You have been told that you are too sensitive, that you should be that way. You were told you shouldn’t be you.
Maybe you have rebelled against all those who tried to tell you how wrong you were to be just you. Maybe you started to doubt yourself, and question your own reality, turning always outward for someone else to tell you their truth. Maybe you just became what someone wanted you to be, but always feeling there was something that just wasn’t right.
But the truth is that there is nothing wrong with you. The thing that wasn’t right was that you were not allowed to see how brilliant and amazing and talented and inspiring you are!
You are a high creative. You live in a world of ideas. They flow to you like water in a stream. Drink deeply from this water. Dive in and feel the current all around you. You are here to experience this amazing life by just being you.
So share what you experience, write it down, draw, paint, sing, dance. Bring this amazing beauty to those who sit in the straight-jacket of appropriateness. Nudge them out of the confines of their boxes and show them the beauty and magic all around. This world is a magical place, and you the High Creatives are the sorcerers.
So create! Bring your imagination to life! The world is waiting for your hand now. So create the world you want to see.
Do you have dozens of ideas that are percolating in your mind? Do you have multiple journals and notes written all over the house? Do you get inspired to create, and then have difficulty following through? Perhaps you are a Random Mind Type.
There are linear thinkers, and then there are the High Creatives. Creative people are rarely linear, or sequential, in the way they think and engage in the world. This randomness of thought and action can be extremely frustrating in many ways, both for the creative person and all those who work with them.
In graduate school I had the chance to take the Gregorc Mind Styles Assessment. It was created by the psychologist Anthony Gregorc and describes four cognitive styles for perceiving and processing the information we engage in the world around us. Not surprisingly, I was highly Random.
Randomness has an advantage in that it is responsive to moment to moment insights. I don't get stuck on a single process to follow. This openness allows inspiration to come at any time. Randomness has its disadvantage in that it can leap around so much that one never finishes a project, or even a thought.
So how can a High Creative deal with this randomness? My solution is to anchor down ideas the moment they come into being. All you need is a place to anchor those ideas in place. Preferably a public forum. This will ensure your idea does not get lost.
So, why not start a blog or two (or three). When an idea enters, you can simply write it down in your blog. Anchoring in those fleeting ideas, at first with just a little bit of inspired thinking, can help to build something meaningful. You don't have to sit down and write a book one chapter at a time. You can simply start sharing ideas on a topic in a selected forum.
Instead of sharing all your ideas in one spot, because of their randomness it might confuse those non-linear types, why not have several blogs you are working on at once. When and idea comes "randomly", you can ask, which forum is most appropriate for this particular idea?
In my experience, even though my thoughts extend across many different domains, they tend to fall into only about five categories. When any idea comes, I can usually find that it fits somewhere in one of my five different websites. If not, maybe you can just start one more? What does it hurt? These things are free to all who want to learn how to use them.
Anchoring in our ideas helps us to build something meaningful in our lives. Instead of feeling chaotic and lost in a sea of possibility, I can now see the possibility turned into a meaningful piece of work. Perhaps, when I am ready, I can take my blog posts and turn them into a book? Who knows. But the ideas are no longer lost amongst a sea of papers.
So ships ahoy! Go ahead and sail on the sea of ideas, but don't forget to drop the anchor when you get to an interesting port!
I am interested in not just the creative process in the Art Garage experience, but the way in which working with different media can enhance my understanding of the world. Art is playful, joyful, creative and fun. Like making mud pies in the backyard, art can be done just for the pleasure of it. The combination of the pleasure of making something by hand and the final product is what gives artmaking such a wonderful impact on a person. My finished product is something I can admire, or give to someone as a gift, and say "I made that."
Kids love making art for others. So it is not surprising that some of my favorite projects involve creating functional art.
Plaster masks are fun, and we have done these year after year. This year I didn't realize we only had one box of plaster, so after the boys had made their masks, we had nothing left for the girls to make their plaster bowls. Ah-ha! Cement!
I love working with cement. You must of course be careful with mixing and the dust, but it give such a beautiful product, and ultimately it teaches me some building basics. This is where working with the materials of art leads to many avenues of a successful career path. As anyone who has talked with me knows, I am a huge fan of teaching skills in the trades.
I hadn't done it before, so it was an experiment, but the vases came out beautiful. We used two hats, and pieces of fabric from old stained clothing. I can't wait to see what they look like when they are painted.
So just remember, when you think you don't have the materials you need to create art, get creative! You never know how it will turn out. You know the old saying: Creativity is the mother of invention!
I am always curious about how creative people experience their gifts. This process has been described in many different ways as something beyond their individual egoic selves, and that is how I experience the creative process. It is as if one were connected to the divine flow of something greater than the "self".
I was listening to the recording of The Power of Your Subconscious Mind (1963) by Joseph Murphy and heard him speak of yet another example and definition of this creative process.
His description is worth a listen.
"Your subconscious is very sensitive to your thoughts. Your thoughts form the mold or matrix through which the infinite intelligence, wisdom, vital forces and energies of your subconscious flow. Most scientists, artists, and inventors have a deep understanding of the workings of the conscious and subconscious minds.
One time Caruso, the great operatic tenor, was struck with stage fright. He said his throat was paralyzed due to spasms caused by intense fear...he shouted from behind the stage, "The little me wants to strangle the big me within." He said, "Get out of here, the big me wants to sing THROUGH me. By the big me, he meant the limitless power and wisdom of the subconscious mind." (pg 25)
How often do we let the little me run the show? We don't allow ourselves to share our gifts out of fear of ridicule. But that is not how we were meant to be.
So sing your song! Shine your light! Write your book!
Opening your creative channel will bring more joy into your life and into the lives of all those around you.
There has been quite a bit of activity here on our block. As the weather has started to get warmer there has been an increase in fighting in the streets. When I started the project, one my my goals was to create avenues for the youth in the neighborhood to get to know one another so that they wouldn't fight. This evolved into the idea of creating leaders within our group who could become Ambassadors of Kindness. But lately it seems like we are going off course.
So to remind myself to be the example, I have decided to implement a Kindness Challenge for the month of May. The goal is to say as many nice things to as many people you meet every day for the next month. It is a good idea to keep a little tally sheet. For the people you work with, or if you are around young people for awhile, the goal should be about five positive statements an hour. Or more if you can manage. By working on our behavior to reflect the highest ideals of ourselves, we are sure to see a difference in our relationships.
But that is not enough, we have to work also on our thinking When a critical or judgmental thought arises, replace it with a loving and kind one. Make a tally of all the times you do this in a day, and see if you can start to reduce your critical thoughts. Even make sure you are doing this for yourself as well. A critical thought against myself is the worst kind, just like negative comments towards others brings them down, those against ourselves discourage us from becoming our best.
So give it a try.
It is quite amazing to realize that we are now entering our fifth year of operating the Art Garage, and if you have watched our history, it is pretty standard to have snow sometime near our opening day.
We stayed inside for the most part and since the house at 800 Thrush has been converted into a Center for Creative Learning, it was comfortable and productive. Jessie led the activity creating a body image and placing our interests in the center and our connections with community around the outside.
We continued our interviews on the virtues, and of course had pizza and snacks. It definitely felt like family.
We may not have created a lot of art, but we worked to create the kind of world we want to be in, and what is more important than that.
How do we create anything? We must move an idea into form. So much of our education these days is about giving the answer directed by the teacher, but in reality, we each have a unique gift we are here to share with the world, and true education will guide our youth through the process of uncovering that gift and learning to share it in the world. True problem based, and project based learning are models that have been used successfully to encourage this type of learning experience. At the Community House we encourage this self-directed, meaningful learning.
This past week we have been working on our "million dollar ideas". How do you come up with a million dollar idea? Start with looking at where there is a need. Then connect into your place of joy--that is what you love doing. Then create avenues through sharing both of these. If you love music and see the need to help people who are homeless, you may host a jam session to bring awareness to the housing crisis in your neighborhood. Or if see there is a problem in gang violence between neighborhoods, and you love basketball, you may decide to host a basketball tournament and truce event at the local school.
These are ideas. The hard part is making them happen. But that is the powerful part! This requires breaking down the steps, finding resources, all of the things that will produce successful results. This uses all of the skill-sets of a successful entrepreneur. This is what employers are looking for, and colleges too.
So come on down to the Community House and get started on your million dollar idea today. We will help you move it from the idea space into action.
How do I know when I have an inspired idea? The feeling behind the idea.
I remember when I was in college and was starting in the area of psychological research. It was my first research course in fact, and I had been researching an idea about personality and relationships. There were a number of creative ideas that I had been playing with, one that we re-enact the patterns from our most recent relationship in our next relationship. I had noticed this in my own behavior.
I was looking into this, but didn’t find any supportive literature at the time in 1992, but I did find an interesting theory in sociobiology by E.O. Wilson. I actually was more attracted to the idea that our experiences shaped our behavior, and he, on the other hand pointed to deep biological difference as the factor. My data supported his theory.
But this was not the inspired idea, in fact, it is hard to remember the exact idea at all. I remember the moment, walking in the courtyard by the psychology building. It was an indescribable feeling. The incredible sense of “I get it!” It was an expansion of consciousness in that moment, and a feeling of confidence (I would say competence, but it was more expansive than that, not just being able to do something, but feeling the power of my own thinking).
I believe this was the power of an inspired idea. What it feels like. Since then, I have had dozens of inspired ideas. I recognize the feeling right away and it moves me into action. Some of my ideas involve others, and since the other did not go through the thinking process as I had, they may never have reached the point of that feeling of insight. Insight is really a wonderful word to describe it, as it feels as though I am seeing into something new and powerful. A vision of the future, or of how something works.
But when sharing with another, if the idea falls flat, it can burst like a balloon. It can take all the energy out of the idea in one fell swoop. So be careful in sharing your inspired ideas. They need time to grow and you need to nurture them carefully as they gain size and clarity. If you share your idea too soon, you may lose the confidence you will need to move that idea into the world.
Have faith my friends. Inspired ideas come and go. When something moves you, allow it to grow within you and nurture it well. You are the custodian of this marvelous piece of the universal field of consciousness. You were chosen to share it with the world. Take heart, and make a commitment to it and you will create the world you want to live in.
I was listening to a recent interview with Amit Goswami presented by Lauren Galey on The Quantum Brain. He starts off by saying that the brain is limited. It is a machine.
There is another aspect of consciousness, he explains, and this is the Quantum Brain. The quantum brain goes beyond the brain. It is basically our higher conscious awareness that learns to use the brain effectively. The quantum brain is about tuning in to all of our potentialities. Basically, using the quantum brain, allows us to live our best life.
One thing he said, in order to reach the quantum state, was to soften the control of the brain. He stated that first step to this is to act creatively. The act of being creative allows us to engage in higher wisdom, to work effectively with the brain. It is the beginning of using our awareness and intention effectively. In his book Quantum Creativity, Dr. Goswami refers to creativity as the life-line to the consciousness field.
"When we recognize consciousness as the central theme of the universe, it becomes clear that creativity is our lifeline to that consciousness."
Listening to him describe the quantum brain reminded me of an aspect of our being that I call the Creative Self. I feel this aspect of our self is connected to the divine. It is connected to the consciousness field, to so much more than our limited brain's conception of reality. The Creative Self has access to this quantum field and helps to draw from this rich limitless source. This is why creative endeavors feel so much like they are coming through, rather than from me. This is why they feel connected to the divine (the limitless source).
Dr. Goswami also states, that the brain is endlessly presenting us with possibilities in the form of thoughts, but because we are not consciously participating in the selection of these thoughts, we are collapsing the wave of all possibilities in a haphazard way. That is no way to live one's life.
So how can we use creativity to live our best life?
We must begin to strengthen the power of our active engagement with creation we start to learn how to interact with the full range of potentialities. We can learn to focus our lens, and collapse the wave of all possibilities around that which we truly want to see.
Creativity is a cognitive capacity. One of the highest capacities we can develop in ourselves. Everyone has this capacity, but it needs to be exercised and developed. There is not better time to start to develop your creative muscle than the present.
It is the new year, and each year I have been giving myself a creative challenge. This past year was to write one song, one poem and create one drawing each day. It was a fulfilling and life-affirming experience. This year I decided to write every day. Hence, the appearance of this current blog entry.
Why not join in the fun and start your own creative challenge today? All you need to do is set aside one hour a day for some creative activity. Writing, poetry, song writing, drawing, dancing, any form of creative endeavor you choose. Notice what comes through as you play in the quantum field of all possibilities.
When I was in High School I was interested in all things mystical. I picked up a book on Creative Visualization. It had a bunch of rituals you could engage in to manifest what you wanted. I tried one, it had a rather uncanny effect, one that ultimately had some negative consequences. That scared me off the practice. Unconsciously using ritual is not how we should be using our creative gifts.
Visualizing is the preliminary step before engaging in any creative endeavor. I have to first have the vision of what I would like to create, and then move into the action space to make that vision come into reality. So there is no magic here, it is a natural process of envisioning what I would like to see in my life. It is me connecting to my heart's desire and seeing what comes into view.
We have unofficially been closed up at the Art Garage since July. We moved our operations into the park and then into the Community House, where we now have daily activities Monday through Friday. The Art Garage is sitting waiting to come back to life.
It has been quite a year. So filled with newness. Everything that is coming into focus is the product of what is being drawn out from the desires and interests of those involved. One thing that I can see, is that we have some who take art seriously. I love it!
So, I want to make the Art Garage live up to its name. My vision is to have a fully functioning studio. It will shift away from the crafts and science projects, slime and baking soda rockets, and become more of a serious studio.
We will keep our science supplies and let them be used at the Community House. Maybe we will start to have STEM activities there one day a week.
First things first. Time to clear out the old, let go of the past, and make way for the new.
What will 2022 bring. I can't wait to see.
Educator, Scientist and Art Maker. The purpose of all life is to spread joy. What brings more joy than making art?