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How to be creative

How to be creative?

“Google, how to be creative?” according to google adwords keyword planner is a question asked by c.6,600 people per month. Change the search term to “creative” and the figure leaps to 246,000 per month. Evidence (if required!) of the life blood nature of creativity I was reflecting upon when I wrote:

In every single moment there exists a gateway on either side of which lies almost identical universes. The one pulsates with life and energy while its simulacrum is flat, lifeless and mundane. The gateway is creativity.

 

Creativity in our work obsessed western world has too often become something uplifting or brilliant we go watch someone else do. But it is more than just entertainment – creativity is the blood pumping heart of a totally lived life. What I see around me every day is that peoples capacity to evolve and grow is directly proportionate to their capacity for creativity. Not just the obvious or overtly creative such as making art or music – but creativity as an approach to life. Here is how one dictionary defines creativity:

The experience of thinking, reacting, and working in an imaginative and idiosyncratic way which is characterized by a high degree of innovation and originality, divergent thinking, and risk taking.

Musicians / dancers / artists / writers might see their activity under the broad umbrella of this definition. And they might also see times where what on the surface looks like a creative act, has become exactly the opposite of that. Whether for reasons of commercial necessity or whatever else, not all art is borne of creativity. But this definition of creativity can apply to absolutely anything that we do: not just the making of art or coming up with brilliant world changing inventions, but the way we relate to life as a whole.

I love this quote as well as the book from which it came:

“What we seek in sex is not only bodily satisfaction, but a response to the soul’s need for all that eros offers…a whole life that is creative and motivated by love.”
Thomas Moore, The Soul of Sex

And have ever since reading it been stalking what this actually means in my life. In the life of people who come to me for sacred sexual healing sessions. What does this mean in practice?

We can feel when creativity is not truly present. Anything manmade we handle, if we pause for a moment and reflect silently and honestly upon it, if it does not truly delight or at least intrigue us, then creativity is probably absent in its creation. Of course we can in that moment become creative so that the impoverished “it” does delight us, we might for instance make a fabulous sculpture out of plastic clothes pegs. But if our whole world becomes impoverished – as is the case on so many high streets, in so many of the products we handle daily – then creativity can become an uphill struggle.

Or a radical act.

A systemic failure to recognise the difference between a genuinely creative act and a commercially constructed simulacrum, is at the root of much of the “developed world” impoverishment of experience. So short of taking up a cookery class (not a bad idea if that is what gets your juices going) what then is this whole life that is creative and motivated by love? What is it in practice?

Creativity as relationship

I have never yet seen a definition of creativity that includes the word “relationship” but from my own experience relationship and creativity are inextricably linked. For at the root of creativity is always the relationship between an individual consciousness and “something else”. The something else may be clay, colour, a violin, or ones own body. This is the stuff of creativity that leads to sculptures, paintings, music and dance. What interests me though, and what I like to teach in sessions, is creativity as a whole approach to life! Creativity that we can begin in any moment, that can be cultivated in any relationship.

A relationship becomes creative when it is cultivated with a degree of playful and purposeful attention beyond what is necessary for survival or purely functional purposes. Any relationship we cultivate with anything else can become inspired by creativity.

How to be creative

So to the 6,600 people who ask this question of google every month, here are just a few suggestions of simple ways for the gateway of creativity to enter and enrich all of our lives. It may take some time to drop daily mind chatter to really notice and appreciate what is present in each moment. However cultivating this simple daily practice is the foundation of a creative, sensual and richly lived life:

  1. getting to work, try taking a variety of routes that are pleasurable rather than simply the quickest way there, especially if you can – walk
  2. when you arrive home in the evening, what is the first thing that you do? Turn on the telly? Try to do something different and unexpected every evening for a week.
  3. everyday for a week, try to notice one interesting simple found thing that attracts you, and spend 10 minutes consciously enjoying it. e.g. a fruit you have never eaten before, a seed, a leaf, or a single flower
  4. try saying something to your beloved they would never expect to hear
  5. notice and enjoy 10 thing you have never noticed before, about your beloveds body, spend some time consciously seeking and appreciating new qualities

What is creativity?

And here I have been building a list of qualities that underpin creative activity – such as art, dancing, music – from my own experience of those activities. What is creativity for you? Comment below so together we can find the essence of what it is to be creative!

  1. When creating one has to keep an awareness of the whole whilst attending to the detail.
  2. The space around the object is as important as the object itself.
  3. Creativity is as much a process of erasure as it is a construction.
  4. Creativity usually at some point will entail letting go of something we were deeply attached to.
  5. Their will always be materials to hand with which one can begin. Even if the intended object is a 10ft high bronze horse, living in a bedsit deep into overdraft there will always be something to hand, with which one can begin.
  6. Whilst acknowledging real difficulty that humans endure, it can often be seen that creativity flourishes in adverse conditions. Conversely it seems that the more wealthy we become the less creative we are. In general people believe the opposite of this reality to be true – that financial security will give them the space to be creative.
  7. When creating the fool is more useful than the wise man. Perhaps the wise man can even be dispensed with, but the willingness to be a fool is essential.
  8. Walk from A to B. Then go back and walk it again, only this time notice something as you move (either inside or outside of you) and respond through your body. This is where dance begins.
  9. Creativity will usually entail allowing something other than your mind to ‘move’ you. Whereas we might habitually as adults wait for our minds to give us permission to begin, in creativity it might be the hand that begins. Or the foot. Or the colour… And the mind follows behind.
  10. When picking up the instrument, approaching it as if you have never handled it before and did not know how it is supposed to be played is a good place to begin.
  11. Doing exactly what you are not supposed to do is often a good place to begin.
  12. Committees are the antithesis of creativity. Except on rare occasions, they will choose the least creative option.
  13. An acceptance of the finite nature of things is essential to creativity. We have to decide where the thing begins, and where it ends.
  14. There is always a frame of sorts. It is essential to accept this limiting factor.
  15. The frame is usually a snapshot of a process that spills way beyond the boundaries of the frame.
  16. Children do it all the time

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