I have seen a deluge of books and speakers focusing on creativity in all facets of life and how to unleash its hidden power. In my mind I wonder more, ‘how do I harness creativity’, as I see its effects on the world both as a mass consciousness as well as individual expressions for both good and bad. Creativity disappears, as I see it, when we are no longer in this body but even then, according to your beliefs, maybe we then are flying high on creativity and I choose to believe that.
But in the here and now if we really pay attention to this energy of creativity we are constantly awash in its influence but typically in a negative way. Thus what we actually seek is a form of creativity different from what we are experiencing. Creativity tells us stories internally with no regards of being true or not. Creativity doesn’t care if it’s true only that someone will believe it. Internal chatter is creativity going non-stop. The wandering of your thoughts and creating all kinds of scenarios real and unreal is creativity. We all who are breathing are creative beyond what we might imagine.
Creativity has two faces. One that grows us and one that can harm us. Even in the art process uncontrolled creativity or imagination can inhibit your growth if you are susceptible to the negative stories it wants you to believe about yourself and the world. Some call it the inner critic or many other characterizations. Try being still for 10 minutes and let me know how the conversation goes. ‘Your not good enough’. ‘Do you really want to feel rejection when you go peddle your work?’…Most hear this internal discussion… Do nothing but just sit. What do you hear? Where does your focus go? Is your story the story you want to be true or the one we don’t want to hear anymore?
Artists, because we are intensely involved with the world of creativity, are highly sensitive to both faces and it takes some energy and focus to reel it in and use it for what we really want. Not putting yourself out there to be seen, when you really want to, is a good example of internal creativity gone wrong. We imagine scenarios that make us anxious. Maybe some will end up true but we can’t actually know until we make a move. However making a move toward the way you want it also creates the possibility that good things can come. If we get stuck in some story that preys upon our insecurities or fears we freeze.
Imagine the ‘what ifs’. ‘What if’ despite the story you hear inside the thing we want happens by moving towards it? ‘What if’ the imaginings that confront us at our core really aren’t true? I have found a couple of things that moved me past my inhibitions and restrictions that dogged me most days. The act of focus and physically making your work realigns the creative force. Once we have an ‘object’ of attention creativity automatically shifts to where we want. It happens almost without being aware it is happening but at the end of our studio day we feel invigorated and almost high. We transcended the initial resistance and we allowed our process to carry us. Making this a habit puts us on a path of increased confidence in ourselves and our work as we experience our creative expression working on our behalf.
Once we have a finished work we then typically say to ourselves, ‘now what’? I used to feel a let down once I finished a piece but my routine led to the next thing of interest I wanted to do and the process began all over. As I built up a body of work my focus was ‘I want to show these somewhere’ and despite all of the insecurities that can pop up, I began to build up a network of connections that always created a place for my work to go. So I had a process for creating and I had a process for distributing my work once finished. As you get that solidified it becomes more of a flow and far less resistance and the creativity energy funneled its way into what I wanted and was harnessed. As artists we need to make deliberate moves that gets us closer to what we want for ourselves and the doing is what matters. The take away to me is creativity is always there to craft the life we envision. It can be an uncontrollable energy if it has no where to be directed to or we can take actual steps to create processes for ourselves where it will just go and flow naturally.