The Weekend 4/20/12 ~The Creative Spark

I had saved this excerpt from Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification by Christopher Peterson, Martin Seligman, Chapter 4 Creativity pg 109-110  intending to share. Then this week I came across a blog written by Jeff Goins full of boundless inspiration for my already churning mind. I began to puzzle together this excerpt with last weekends pursuing your passions.  And as I began reading his blog entry called You must Engage Your Creative Side, my half written piece on living up to your creative potential came to the forefront. It began with a list of questions:

  • Do you live up to your full creative potential?
  • Do you realize how extraordinary you are?
  • Are you living your passions?
  • If not what is stopping you?

Jeff had engaged in an evening of creative exploration by drawing eyes closed on a sheet of paper. I began to ponder. How do you unlock creative potential?  Some ideas sprang to mind. Try drawing from an image turned upside down, Pick a word randomly and begin writing a short story, Find a photo and create your own caption, Pick three incongruous items from your kitchen and cook something. Or chose from one of the suggestions in 33 ways to stay creative or Why not be Creative by Shannon Ables.

We live in a world of stereotypes “intellectual, artistic, athletic. As you may have gathered from my article on Nicknames these stereotypes pigeonhole us into categories. We even categorize artists (painters, singers, dancers, chefs, architects etc.) You don’t have to be published or recorded. Even if your work is never seen this by no means excludes you as creative. Every single one of us has a creative spark. We’re all creative. It is one of the things that connects us.

As Jeff put it,

“We don’t create for others.
We don’t create to impress or be the best.
We create, because we can.”

I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free”….Michelangelo

For me creating is divine, the spark that comes from deep within when we drop our defenses. I believe this is part of my own spiritual expression, the sacred. In this space I feel my own connection to all things. I delight with the ideas and pictures seeking expression and feel the flow and presence of my whole mind, the reality of the “I am”.  Whatever you call it, divine inspiration, the human spirit, a muse, the intangible, God, whatever your source, unleash it.

Don’t let your limited belief systems hold you back. Those mental habits that keep playing in a perpetual loop in your mind, that fixed companion, the nagging thoughts that your dreams are unobtainable. You know…I’m not good enough, funny enough, and smart enough. I say enough! Break up these very belief systems before they become self-fulfilling. Don’t become less than what you truly are. Seek the truth, shine your light, and start fresh unencumbered.

If you don’t know what your gift is then just try something, anything, until you find the thing that whispers to you long after you’ve put it down. What is it you see that no one else does? Your voice is uniquely your own so share it. Get to know yourself. What are you willing to give your heart and soul for? Create conversation, ask questions, and stand on your tip toes, spend an entire day fasting from self-concern. Engage, experiment, and give art the space it needs to grow, to breathe. Then keep doing it so it can flourish.

Any passion must be practiced. So you must love it or you’re bound to quit. Jeff Goins says of writing that you must “learn how to enjoy writing for what it is — an arduous and sometimes tedious process of dying to yourself and being reborn. It is painful and glorious all at the same time and not to be taken lightly in the least.”

Don’t create for others, create for yourself. Whether anyone ever sees it or not is irrelevant. If you deny this spark you are denying a part of who you are. And with each new creation you will discover a part of yourself. Perhaps something you never knew you were capable of. Delve into your Passionate Curiosity and be Fearless, bold. Hold nothing back.

We are all Creative. Our greatest masterpiece is our life. So what are you waiting for? Create.

Weekend Reading List:


Images: Here / Here / Here / Here / Here / Here

The Weekend 4/13/12~Pursuing Your Passions

“Do what you love and the money will follow.”

Who hasn’t heard that phrase with its promise and allure? But is it true?

We also know well the phrase “starving artist”.

Desire is all important. It will make you more creative, resourceful and propel you further faster. And when things get tough persistence is Key. There are so many obstacles you face when starting something new,  getting that business off the ground, or an unusual project, something  that you have never before attempted.

But the reality is that no amount of desire will guarantee success. Not in business, not in relationships and not in life.

So temper your passions with reality. If the thing you are passionate about won’t support your life, pay the bills, then No this great invention should not be your next career move. As the authors of Just Start: Take action, Embrace Uncertainty, create the future write, “every small step you take should leave you alive to take the next step. “ So the basic needs and survival should be first. A friend shared some valuable words of wisdom with me once. “It’s a job. You don’t need to love what you do. It just needs to support your life.”

At the time I was working for myself, a struggling entrepreneur. I regaled the fact that I could set my own schedule. The reality was I was working all the time, barely scrapping by and most months going further into debt. And mind you I argued with my friend ALOT. Fought the change, sure I was giving up on my dream.

I learned a valuable lesson, how wrong I was. And in my life this has made all the difference. Once I let go, heeded her sound advice and took a 9-5 in an industry that was not my passion I truly felt free to thrive. My basic needs were met and more.  This freed me up to pursue what I was passionate about.

For many there is never enough money. They never land at the place where they feel secure in their finances and everyone could probably tighten their belt in some place or another. I know I don’t have to have a latte every morning. Drip would be just as good and far better on my bottom line. So be realistic about your needs and wants and evaluate your spending.

Now I am not saying you won’t make a living engaged in your passions. People often do. Insights, inventions spark creations every day that sell. Look at Instagram!  So Act!  See what happens. Once you have met your basic needs all bets are off.

Make sure to pursue your passions even if only 15 minutes a day. Don’t let anything stop you.  If you do a little something towards what you care about every day and you will be more satisfied and fulfilled. Even the smallest step can change everything. So explains The Power of Small Wins. And I can attest that once I met my basic needs I found I had so much more time to dedicate to the things I am passionate about. I am happier for it.

So take those steps. Don’t worry about the outcome. You can’t predict the future and you will never be able to plan for every contingency. So don’t waste your precious creative energy trying to do just that. You may even be lucky enough that your passion will make you money. But even if it never does I promise you will be happier. And what’s wrong with that?


The Weekend Reading List:

Images: Here &  Here