In today’s world of posting and content creating we look outside of ourselves for the answers. What to post for best visibility, retention and follow-through becomes more about the search for how to keep up and ahead and instead of why you even started in the first place.
Let’s back up a second here shall we? Let me tell you about my journey. I’ve been at this for a long time and so I’m going to nutshell this for you to keep it brief. After turning in my license as a dental hygienist, I was looking for a career that would complete me. I wanted my day job to be one that made me leap out of bed singing and dancing. All my life I have been a very creative DIY-er and figure-it out-er so the natural course of action for me was simple; I’d make my way as an artist and entrepreneur! Fast forward twenty years, and I find myself teaching, coaching, painting for gallery shows and running a store that specializes in handmade home decor. The journey has been great but over time I have learned a lot about creativity. Why do we need it, what purpose does it serve in our jobs and day to day lives, and how to access it more deeply and more often than in random encounters? I realized that the job I was jumping out of bed for in the morning required of me that I stay highly creative and receptive to great ideas - rather than only trying to learn this new strategy of keeping up to get ahead.
Great writers, artists and filmmakers have written about and given TedTalks on the subject of “catching” creative ideas. Elizabeth Gilbert and David Lynch both spoke of this phenomenon of feeling an idea come and then holding onto it lest you drop it or let it go. This idea fascinated me and I started to observe and deduce formulating my own understandings of “catching creativity”. I have boiled it all down to one fool-proof method for ensuring that that the flood gates open and that creative ideas are allowed to flow through. I use the word channelling because it is often said that the “idea came out of nowhere”: so let us presume that some higher being much more creative than we, is using the “force” to put it in our heads.
In order to visualize this one method for channeling creativity, I’d like you to visualize yourself at an all you can eat buffet of everything you’ve ever loved about food. You enter this buffet starving and you’ve been eating and savouring for hours. Picture it: your belt has had to be opened up two notches and your previously tucked in shirt, now sits overtop loosely of your waistband which is still pressing uncomfortable against your skin. This is your regular capacity for collecting creative ideas. You have filled your head space with everything it could possibly accommodate that day and you wouldn’t know a good idea if tried to tempt you. Just as though, after that buffet, you were tempted with your favourite sweet as a farewell gift. Butter tart? So, how do we make more room? The obvious answer might be to eat less and leave space but I am going to suggest something different. What if you went into that buffet prepared? What if you wore elastic-waist track pants and a baggy sweatshirt going in? Aside from the obvious, fashion statement you’d be making, you’d be expanding your capacity to hold onto more. I’m talking about big, roomy pants here and that is, in a few words, disciplined submersion. What I am talking about is taking the time everyday to fully allow yourself to get lost in the process of that which instigates and demands creativity. For example, I am an artist, a mentor and a teacher. I paint daily but for various reasons; to teach techniques and materials, to create product for commercial sales and to paint art for galleries and art shows. When with all of that daily painting, in addition to family and social obligations, would you assume that I make room for new creative ideas? I don’t and I can’t. I simply don’t have the time to allow new ideas to flood my soul. This is where disciplined submersion, or taking the time, to submerge myself in play becomes the only way “in”. I can’t have a project in mind, nor can I be working on something and attempt to “kill two birds with one stone”. I need to grab that half hour to an hour each day when there is no objective but to lose myself in the process.
Across the disciplines, creativity is required as paramount access to deeper thinking, better ideas and inspired (channelled) action. By implementing a daily disciplined submersion into ‘that which makes you lose track of time’, you will find yourself getting lost in play. Now pay attention! Because it is in that play, when your creative muses also come out to play and will whisper ideas and thoughts into your ear. Learning which ideas to keep, which to pass on and which to implement ASAP is another discipline in itself, but the gift of watching those flood gates open will leave you dumbfounded.
Be happy. Be creative. Be grateful.