How Creative Are You

May 23, 2010

by Leslie Zeigler

Ageless Body Timeless Mind

In thinking about what to blog about today,  I came across a book that I bought a long time ago but never really read.   It is called Ageless Body, Timeless Mind by Deepak  Chopra.   I started to look through it and came across a wonderful chapter that speaks about the  value of creativity.  He talks about how the “deepest  reality you are aware of is the one from which you draw your power.”  He goes on to say that  a more profound power than being aware of the material world is one’s creative power shaping mind and body. He adds that power expresses itself through your own personal creativity. When you are being creative, you lose track of time – “only the flow exists”

Here are seven traits shared by  people who are  highly creative  and “know they are the source of their own power.”

l.They are able to contact and enjoy  silence

2.They connect with and enjoy nature

3.They trust their feelings

4.They can remain centered and function amid chaos and confusion

5.They are childlike-they enjoy fantasy and play

6.They self-refer-they place the highest trust in their own consciousness

7.They are not rigidly attached to any one point of view -although passionately committed to their creativity, they remain open to new possibilities

I hope that this might inspire some thoughts and feelings about being creative.  And perhaps offer  something to think about as a break from  the stress most of us feel in this new culture in which we are living where technology so dominates our life.  We all need to take mini-vacations every day. even if only for a brief time (fifteen minutes is better than nothing),  to not check our cell, our blackberry, and our email and to not let the culture   determine how we spend our precious free time.

I will blog in the future about how to develop and strengthen these traits.

Just Do It?

May 13, 2010

Posted by Deborah Atherton

Even before Nike adopted this phrase, it was extremely prevalent in our culture.

It has a nice ring – just do it – forget all your hesitations and second thoughts, stop procrastinating, pull yourself together, and take the leap!  Perhaps someone has even told you this about a creative project (or career) you’ve been thinking of undertaking, or a ritual you’ve been trying to establish.

Fine for Olympic skateboarders, but maybe it doesn’t work quite that way for you. It sure doesn’t work that way for me. And according to psychologist James Prochaska, who is perhaps best known for his statement that “change is a process, not an event,”  it doesn’t work that way for most people.  Studies done by Dr. Prochaska at UCLA have demonstrated that the process of actually doing something new—making a behavior change—begins in “pre-contemplation” – you aren’t even sure what it is you are thinking of doing yet—maybe you are asking yourself some questions, doing some self-exploration.  The next phase is contemplation – you’ve identified the action you are thinking of taking, but you are sitting on the fence about it, weighing the pros and cons.     If you can convince yourself to act, you proceed to preparation—take a few small steps. You go out and buy the watercolor set or camera; you get that new laptop you’ve been thinking about for two  years; you borrow a guitar from a friend and strum a tentative chord or two; you tweak your resume.  Or you meet with a new potential collaborator, file away or store all remnants of your last project to carve out some working space, and clear a little time on your calendar.

Then, finally, having thoroughly convinced yourself it is possible, you may actually be ready to do it.  Which doesn’t mean you will keep doing it—if you’re trying to do something like set up a daily writing or practicing ritual, for instance, the UCLA studies say you need 4-6 months to trust that as a real change.  Otherwise, back to contemplation!

This isn’t to say that you won’t wake up tomorrow at 3 AM with the greatest inspiration of your life, cast the covers aside, and start working on it immediately.  In that case, please, Just Do It! But I’m willing to bet that in the months before, you have already set the stage for that creative breakthrough, and the materials and resources you need in that moment will be mysteriously close to hand.