Becoming the Ancestors

The Creative Now

So here I am, finally, in my new blog about creativity. To be honest, I feel a bit lost. In such a vast territory, where do I even begin?!

The “question of creativity” is enormous, and seems detached from my everyday experience. Then, in the very act of pondering the question, I see it shift under the light of my present consciousness: for these very words on the screen, appearing before my eyes, are an act of creation. I cannot experience creativity in the future or in the past, but only in the NOW.

It seems as promising a path as any other, so I tend it further with my attention, and it sprouts some new leaves: 1) an Idea sustained crosses the threshold into Experience; and 2) the Experience imprints itself upon my consciousness, leaving it forever altered; 3) Experience is the thing: the jewel of NOW set in a band between Past and Future.

Experience, born of our creativity, is the thing of which our every moment is made.

Perhaps creativity only seems insignificant because, rather than exercising our full creative power, we tend to create the same thing over and over again.

The Creation of Our Ancestors

None of this is original: it is an amalgam of ideas attributable to Albert Einstein, Eckhart Tolle, and Zen Buddhism, to name just a few of the influences. The words on this screen, however, are my creative expression. Perhaps the red thread of fate, which has grown short between you and I, dear reader, has called them forth. You are drawing the words out of me that you need to see – to hear with your inner ear – at this moment.

Perhaps we even transcend time, and even as I write these words, you have already read them. Not in linear time, but beyond it, in the space of the heart.

Here in the Now we are each fully present within the heart of our personal experience; we stand at the center of the stream of all humanity. All around us like a rich river delta lies a world formed by the creative moments of our Ancestors, deposited Now upon Now upon Now. Creativity is not only connected to our experience: it has shaped it.

And now, we are becoming the Ancestors…

The Ancestors are no longer here, but the world born of their creativity surrounds us: the dreams of the inventors, yes, but also the triumphs of the victors, the sorrows of the victims. The abused who became the abusers, and the wise ones who founded strong and prosperous family lines.

Each one was creating, but if the evidence around us is anything to go by, too few have been rewriting the scripts when things went badly. Too few even realized that it was possible to rewrite the scripts.

But not you. You know better…

You know we can rewrite the scripts. You know we can change the course of the river. You know we can form a better world through the force of our creativity.

Creativity only seems insignificant because we tend to create the same thing over and over again…

We must immerse ourselves fully in our experience like children, and play with what we find there. We must be willing to risk mistakes, and we must be gentle with ourselves when things don’t turn out the way we had hoped Above all, we must be willing to try again…and again…and again. We must keep trying until we create something like. Something we love. Something, perhaps, that will change the world.

Better yet, we must do it together…

“A Council of Muses would change the world,” my Muse insists.

“I’m sure it would,” I reply, “But how do I call them?”

For now, my Muse is silent. And I am annoyed.

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Journaling Prompt: What would you like the world look like when you are one of the Ancestors?

Creativity and the Change I Want to Be

I love Gandhi’s teaching to ‘be the change we wish to see in the world’. In practice, though, it often feels overwhelming. There is too much that needs changing: no one person can ‘be’ all of it. Systems of finance, government and education seem to conspire in teaching that change comes at too high a cost; and we are socialized to know that being different carries a heavy penalty. For those who have the resources to effect significant change, there is tremendous incentive to maintain the status quo.

We can choose to be the change anyway. We must be gentle with ourselves, especially at first: just pick one. We must believe that every little bit helps, appreciating and using what we have, rather than bemoaning what we do not. At a minimum, we have imagination, and when we look at our lives through the Lens of Imagination, new potentials reveal themselves to us.

We may, however, need to reclaim our imagination before it can be put to use.

A Stolen Birthright

My teacher, Shiloh Sophia, often points out how, in little children, we celebrate and encourage imagination, but then at some point we begin to compare their creations to those of others and find them wanting. We admonish them to turn their attention to more serious matters, to be practical, to grow up. Imagination and creativity are relegated to the dustbin, with the broken crayons and toys we have outgrown.

I still remember when it first happened to me. I was making small baskets out of fallen willow twigs, and filling them with wildflowers from around our backyard.

“Why don’t you make something useful?” asked my mom.

When we talked about this moment many years later, she said she had asked me this question believing I had untapped creative potential, but that’s not the way I took it. Because of that question, I began to believe that my creations were trivial: an indulgence, a personal luxury perhaps, but nothing more.

I began to attach shame to my work, such that I would no longer spontaneously and freely share my creations with others. I was creatively stunted, and I cut myself off from community and the channels therein which could have helped me to grow creatively, to thrive as an artist, and ultimately, to create change in the world.

The Quest: Reclaiming What is Mine

In just under two months, I hope to become a member of the remarkable community of artists, teachers and healers that is the Intentional Creativity Guild. And yet I still struggle to articulate the value of my own creative work with conviction. I still feel an impostor, and no external certification can heal that for me.

Instead, I must validate this value through my own experience. I have undertaken not only a discipline of regular creative practice, but a year-long vision quest in search of where my gifts belong in the world.

And what has been the result? How have imagination and creatively inspired action worked for me?

My inner critic is first to answer, pointing our all the unresolved difficulties that make up the bulk of my day-to-day experience. Some pretty big ones remain unanswered, and it certainly is feels like all of this effort has been for naught.

And yet…

  • I NOW have a blog dedicated to exploring the practical application of heart-centered creative practice.
  • I NOW have a body of work expressing my belief in the collective creative potential of humanity.
  • I NOW even have an art studio with space for 8 students. On September 28 and 29, 2018, I will open the doors to my first students in this space.

I never really thought I would get this far. But I allowed myself to dream that it could be, and powered by my unwavering desire that it be so, I took one small step at a time. Now, I look back, and am amazed to see how far I have come!

True, some big challenges remain, but these hardly invalidate what I have accomplished: rather, they are the context within which my imagination has operated to create many of the things that I desire. I have accomplished what I have in spite of the challenges. As a result, the way I move through and respond to those challenges has dramatically changed.

I have reclaimed my Lens of Imagination: can see potentials around me and have greater clarity of vision to pursue those I most desire to experience.

And I am never giving that up again.

The Hero’s Reward

Using creative processes awakened my imagination and strengthened my intuition. The result has been learning to literally follow my JOY and see where it leads.

Above this post is a portion of my visual business plan: a whimsical study in imagination that even a month ago I would have laughed at. “Where are the bullet points? Where are the numbers?” my inner critic demands.

Now, I know that I will figure those pieces out when the time is right. For now it is more important to begin.

I am envisioning A Council of Muses as the starting point. I wonder who will answer the call?!

A grand adventure awaits…

JOURNAL PROMPT

Most of us have a story about losing our creative birthright. Do you? What is it and what did it cause you to believe about your creativity and the value of your creations? What might you do today to begin a daily creative practice, and reclaim your creative birthright?

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