Embrace Your Wildish Nature

The wild feminine is on the rise and that is good news for highly sensitive people.

The wild feminine is about embracing our wildish natures, the ones that are at home in the energy that embraces us all.

The wild feminine is the part of us that has been demoted by left brained culture and ideas that act as yokes for the aliveness of the universe.

What Is Wildish Nature?

Wildish nature is the nature we have abandoned on our quest to conquer nature.

Wild nature is. It is what we come from, it is ancient wisdom.

Wildish nature is what ancient tribes connected with as their true homes.

Wildish nature is safe, it is on our side. It is all of natural intelligence ready to help us live in our authenticity.

Wildish nature has all in it, so it can be what it needs to be:

  • quiet and still to listen 
  • curious about anything that doesn’t make sense
  • open to all forms in information that is relevant in an situation
  • strategic as called for
  • aggressive when necessary

Wildish is our wholeness interacting with and supported by the universal life force.

Wildish nature is our creativity, our innocence and resourcefulness.

It is our spirits made manifest.

It’s our intuition at work.

Wildish Nature Cannot Be Controlled

One of the things I love about wildish nature is that it cannot be controlled.

In fact the minute you try to control it you have lost it.

As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes in her fabulous book, Women Who Run With Wolves, wildish nature is like a river. It is subject to itself and not any man made laws. It is life itself. It just is.

Wildness isn’t tame but it isn’t pseudo wildness either. It isn’t a pose we put on for others or dressing in a wild way as a defense. There is no one to please, no orders to take. There is only what is and seeing it.

Wildness is honest.

As Dr. Estes writes, wildish nature lives in the life/death/life cycle. Not the product cycle, not the marketing cycle, not the election cycle.

Wildish nature is not organized or compartmentalized. It is receptive and responsive to what is.

Your Wildish Nature Is Your Empowerment

Your wildish nature embraces all aspects of yourself in engaging with life. There is no society to belong to, so class structure, no gold stars and perfect grades, no competitions, and no beauty contests.

Your wildness uses all of your senses, not in the service of self indulgence or consumerism, but as sources of intelligence and information.

There are no targets to hit. There is no growth for growth’s sake. There are no mansions needed.

Your wildish nature embraces the unfolding of all life. It only needs to be with it rather than over or under it.

The left-brained world buts you off from what does not suit it. whatever it deems ugly. So do not grunt or growl. Too ugly!

The left-brained world wants you chasing approval and prizes, while your life’s energy becomes sicker and sicker with the striving.

The left brained world  has its order, and the full river of life is not welcome.

So leave your real Self at the door if you must and sacrifice it for the ordeals of empty achievement.

Or try letting go of it so that you can allow your whole self to breathe again free of the corsets of cultural customs and requirements.

Your Wildish Nature Is Your Friend

Our wildness is a friend. It is a friend to us and lets us be a friend to the other wild things we live with.

Your wildness is all of you including the parts you do not like generally because you have been taught that those parts are ugly: like softness and leaning and relaxing.

Wild nature is  our natural curiosity at home in the real world.

Wildish nature is our intelligence st play.

We really don’t need anything else.

No Need To Rush: The Special Gift Of Slow

I have always been expected to operate at lightening speed.

And it has never worked for me.

I need to process…and process…and process…

I LOVE to process.

It is my idea of a good time!

What’s The Rush!

I have never understood the need to rush. In my experience, the easiest way to have problems is to rush.

However, from a very young age, I have noticed that people around me were aways in a rush for something. A rush to judgment, to get something, be somewhere or do something.

I always felt “wrong” because it always seemed so silly to me.

It also seemed to me that something terribly important was missing.

Is Anybody Home?

I felt alone in all of the rushing. Rushing felt so escapist, and I did not understand what everyone was trying to escape? I felt stupid for not really wanting to join in.

Escaping was not compelling to me. It did not attract me and still doesn’t.

All of the rushing and escaping feels sad.

It feels like we are afraid to take a chance.

It feels like we are here but no one is home.

Speed Can Be Dangerous

In school, we are rewarded for getting answers not for asking questions. So often we continue that pattern in our daily lives.

Not to have an answer os a failing, a way of losing a competitive battle for survival, a risk we are afraid of.

But answers are not necessarily simple and they can only evolve by engaging with a set of circumstances or conditions. It is through that process that answers come.

When we fail to honor the process of engagement and deliberation we are plagued with the kind of ideological substitute for problem-solving that plagues our society right now. We have packaged answers that fail to solve anything while the real problems seeking our attention remain ignored.

And so we run around each one of us with our bandaids unable to really solve our problems.

No wonder so many people feel frustrated and depressed.

They have every reason to.

Slow Is About Respect

When you approach anything in a slow careful manner you are paying a very basic kind of respect. You are paying attention to people, place and things. You are paying attention to process. You pay attention to current reality as a starting point for moving forward. You give everything the attention it deserves.

Slow is about paying attention. Fast is about escaping.

That is true both in our work and in our relationships.

I am sure how you have experienced the awful feeling when someone rushes you because they do not want to be bothered.

I am sure you have also experienced what it is like when someone takes the time to talk with you.

The rushed experience closes you down; the slower, more thoughtful interaction opens you up.

Does The World Belong To The Takers?

When people rush as their primary way of relating, all interactions become superficial and transactional. Speed does not really allow for anything else.

So when we slow down, we open the door to more give and take which is a more satisfactory arrangement for everyone, in reality. We also honor each other and the value in each other when we slow down. We honor each person’s uniqueness, gifts, and limits as part of the whole.

We can then give ourselves the opportunity to be with what is instead of demanding that everyone be something else to meet our demands and requirements.

Life Is Not Just A Shopping Trip

Too often we relate to each other as consumers looking for something pleasurable from others.

Pleasure is great but seeking or demanding it as a constant in our lives keeps us in the role of shoppers rather than creators. As a result we miss out on ourselves as much as everyone else.

Slowing down gives us not only our time back but also our friendship and respect.

It gives a more natural place in the universe. It lets us be both more humble and more creative at the same time.

Slow is a gentle place.

Slow lets us open up more.

It frees us from our demands and lets us join into the world rather than bearing down on it oppressively with our need for continual self-indulgence.

Slow lets us be human and humane.

Slow gives us a much-needed break and everyone else, too.

It is worth embracing.

Why HSPs Need To Reclaim The Creative Process

 

Most people think the creative process is just about coming up with ideas. Our culture separates ideas from making things, but treats even the process of generating ideas as something to be manufactured. As a result, our relationship to our creativity is affected by our cultural model.

Manufacturing is not a natural HSP energy and can cause a feeling of disconnection in highly sensitive people who are more creative and holistic. One way highly sensitive people can embrace their natural energies and creativity is by reclaiming the creative process.

How Culture Can Affect The Creative Process

The Industrial Age brought with it a huge change in how things are made. Machines became the go-to resource for making the things we use in our lives.

At the time it was a great idea, because machines were able to produce in large quantities and therefore meet large unmet needs of the human population. The Industrial Age, through the combination of carbon energy sources and new engineering skills, was a dream come true as a way to make life finally livable.

There was a cost, however. We started delegating the making of things, and we humans became administrators, strategists and accumulators. We stopped making as individuals and lost the skills that go with that.

When we changed we also began to see creativity differently. Manufacturing became the dominant activity for us and we translated the manufacturing process into every aspect of human life. We manufactured goods, lifestyles, identities, legacies, memes and cultural myths, and, of course, ideas.

Ideas and the making of what an idea proposed became distinct realms governed by different people, systems  and authorities.

Creativity And The Creative Process Suffers

Creativity never dies – it is a natural and fundamental part of life. However, it has suffered under materialism. Conformity to materialistic ideals was an expectation of the age. How else do you pay for all those factories, buildings and other products?

Although our standard of living improved, to get there, creativity was discouraged in schools and elsewhere. It left creative people feeling starved for a place in the world. Art and art making were relegated to the sidelines and creative people treated as flakes. Serious people were materialistic achievers, not creatives.

Nothing and no one escape the age they live in and art was as affected by the materialistic age as were all other spheres of life. Art adapted in some ways. Art making became art production. Art adopted the language of the age and some artists even achieved stardom.

The Split

Nowadays we think of creativity as the manufacture of ideas. Creativity is just something else we produce like widgets. It is an activity when it needs to be a way of being.

When you learn about Ayurveda, the holistic health system, you discover that all aspects of nature are intelligent. Therefore, all aspects of nature are part of the ongoing creation we call life.

In the materialistic age, we have been dominated by the idea that the mind and brain are where intelligence resides. The rest of us is just plumbing. The reason this is important is because the “mind over matter” idea objectifies everything. There really is no creativity. There is only the manipulation of what exists.

Materialism, however, is not an accurate picture of the world. Whether your point of view is spiritual, creative or holistic healing, life and creativity are not just about what we see. The world is not divided into material and not material, mind, and matter, responsible people and creatives.

Why HSPs Need To Reclaim The Whole Creative Process

The current age has made life difficult for highly sensitive people for many reasons. One of those reasons is living with and trying to survive in a culture whose energy is inimical to them. The cultural model is a compartmentalized one, and HSPs are holistic people.

Embracing all aspects of the creative process: the idea, the process of making the idea real and releasing it to the world, means that you now have a way of engaging that your nature can support. You are no longer at odds with yourself in order to survive.

That is a great place for HSPs to be, because so often our being different is a barrier to our development and progress. Embracing the creative process puts your life back under your control.

It may feel strange but eventually it will feel great.

Are You A Sensitive INFP ?

In our memories, some experiences from our childhood stand out in stark relief. Something about them made an impression on us. Something about them was charged with a feeling that we then carry into our lives, consciously or unconsciously.

A Sensitive INFP And Not Fitting In

For me, one such experience was in fifth grade in school in what was then called Bombay. It affected the way I thought of myself, and a fragment of that experience has remained with me through the passing years. It happened at the lovely Convent school for girls that I had just started attending after my family had moved from a different city. For around three years, from the fifth to the seventh grade, we had a needlework class. From the beginning, I hated needlework. I couldn’t figure it out. There were some people in the class who just got their assignments done by a parent. But although I hated it, I was a quite conscientious child and thought that was wrong. So, I tried to do it all by myself. More than once, as the school year progressed, the teacher was irritated with me and couldn’t understand why I didn’t get such simple things.

Then, one day, we were given an assignment to cross-stitch a printed pattern. It was on one of those cloth/canvas pieces with quite big holes, unlike the finer linen people use to make it easier for children. As usual, the teacher gave us instructions, and we began. I struggled and struggled, but for the life of me, I couldn’t understand what I was supposed to do. Mustering up my courage, I approached the teacher.

This time, she asked another girl, who seemed to be doing really well, to guide me. We sat down, and this girl started showing me what I was supposed to do. She showed me once. I didn’t get it. So, she showed me again. You are supposed to pull the thread out from this hole, and then put it into this one. I didn’t get it, yet again.

I was getting more and more flustered. Tears started crawling up. She was looking at me as if I couldn’t even get this one little thing as if I was dumb. But there were so many holes. They were shimmering and merging because of the tears I was so desperately trying to hold back. As the minutes passed and I still couldn’t understand, I started panicking.

What did she mean? It was possible to take the thread and put it back in so many different holes. There were so many holes. This was so hard. Why couldn’t I do anything right?

After what seemed like an eternity but was probably 15-20 minutes, my struggle and the class got over. I don’t remember how I completed that assignment, what I did later on. But I had learned something about myself, about my helplessness at not being able to do things right.

A Sensitive INFP Learns A Negative Self-Message

For years afterward, whenever I looked at some cross-stitched fabric painting in someone’s house, I had a nagging feeling that I was dumb, that I was stupid. How could I not figure out such simple things?

At that time, as a child, I didn’t think that my overwhelm, not being guided by the teacher and not feeling understood had contributed to my panicking, to my not learning. Like things do with sensitive children, the experience sunk a little deeper than such experiences do for others.

I also did not understand something else, something very important about me.

It’s only in the last few years, in my mid-30s, as I have learned more about being a sensitive INFP and thought back that I have had this small, but significant realization. I am a sensitive INFP, and as an INFP, I could see countless possibilities in that little piece of cloth. That was the way I saw the world. The truth is that it really is possible to take a thread, and pull it out from a not-approved, unconventional hole and make countless patterns (possibly also a mess, but still! ) on a piece of fabric. That is the very nature of creativity. It sees connections and inter-relationships between things. It is open to possibilities. There is no set way.

Especially as a child, with no preconceived notions of what a proper cross-stitch looked like, I was in a wide open field. When I started having the problem I was having, I wish someone had listened and seen that the way my brain worked was not the way their mind worked.

Looking back at that vulnerable little child, I wish someone could have told her, “You are not stupid. In fact, you are very creative. You see things in a different way.”

Sensitive INFPs Are Creative

A sensitive INFP is considered one of the most creative types of people . If you are a sensitive INFP  creative, it’s very likely that school did not offer you an ideal environment. We have all heard that schools can kill creativity, but it’s important to see what that really means. It means someone made an assessment about your being, a part of your soul that might actually be the very thing that makes you unique, makes you stand out.

Without realizing this or at least working to realize that this might have happened, we might keep on coming up against feeling again and again, that we don’t measure up. But what’s really wrong is that we haven’t looked at the faulty belief which is causing that “on the outside, looking in” feeling.  

From the HSPs I know and from what seems to be the case in online forums, it seems like a significant percentage of HSPs are either a sensitive INFP or INFJ. As two of the least common personality types, it’s no wonder that we can often end up feeling different and less than. We are often not mirrored back, often not understood. It’s up to us, then, to peel back the layers of our beliefs, unlearn the “right” way of doing things, and discover our own unique style, our own way.

Of course, this is not a problem that just a sensitive INFP faces. I think INTJs, another personality type that is less common, face similar (but different) problems of not being easily understood. Anything that makes you a minority in your social context, whether it is your personality type, your sexual orientation, or your cultural background is what makes you different and is what might make you misunderstood.

But maybe as adults, we can see that we are the only ones with the map to our own inner worlds. We can define ourselves, instead of accepting other people’s hasty assessments of who we are or making hasty judgments ourselves.

Inner Peace Improves Creativity

Inner peace improves creativity.

Based on my experience as a creative person, inner peace takes us to a different place that improves our ability to come up with fresh ideas.

Brainstorming Is Not Creativity

I have nothing against brainstorming – either by yourself or with others. But here’s the thing: brainstorming is often about what we already know.

When we get together with others we each take what we know and pool it with everyone else’s knowledge and come up with an idea or strategy. This is great up to a point and in increasingly complex institutional environments can be very useful – after all, there is too much for any one person to know.

When we brainstorm we mostly rehash what we know. Unfortunately, it is usually linear, left brained activity meant to enhance the status quo.

Brainstorming, then, can be limited in what it considers as potential ideas. It may be limited to what exists and what others will accept.

So is it creativity?

What Is Creativity?According to one online dictionary, creativity is:

  • the state or quality of being creative
  • the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.;
  •  originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts. the process by which one utilizes creative ability: Extensive reading stimulated his creativity.

What is key in the definition is the word, imagination. Imagination is a right brained activity. It claims the connections that we cannot make any other way. It offers us the unknown for our progress in solving a problem or developing something new.

Is Imagination Endangered?

Left brained mental processes have dominated human culture in the West for centuries. They are an outgrowth of the scientific method which is evidence based and relies on the material world.

Imagination is elusive. It is energy based and connected to the universal field, the source of all intelligence in the universe.

Science developed as an antidote to superstition. It does not respect the spiritual, psychic and energetic realms, although that is beginning to change a little. The discredited realms of modern life are also the home of the imagination, which we find cute and interesting in children, not adults.

The Universal Field And Creativity

The universal field is an important support of human life. It is the emptiness and silence of oneness where those wild ideas of the imagination come from. It is, therefore, a great resource for our creative endeavors.

Here’s the rub.

You cannot force it.

You have to be open to it.

Creative ideas require that we are receptive to them or they cannot make their way to us because we have closed ourselves off to them. Receptivity is a feminine quality and one that is discredited in modern culture. Therefore many are often not receptive to new ideas and it is not just an individual problem it is also a societal problem.

Those who are in touch with their imaginations, their creativity and the universal field may find themselves isolated and have difficulty communicating their ideas and gaining acceptance for them. How many people are really open to and in touch with the universal field?

Inner Peace And Creativity

Creative challenges aside, the universal field is our source for creative support. Interestingly, we learn to move into its stillness through meditation. Yes, the same meditation that helps us find inner peace.  Meditation helps us let go of the petty difficulties of everyday life. It helps us become more comfortable with silence than the drama of everyday life.

In doing so, we quiet the mental chatter that distracts us from our creative source and allow ourselves to receive new information. We open ourselves to new possibilities simply by being open to the universal silence. Meditation helps us find inner peace and in doing so also helps us find and embrace our creative potential.

Rocking The Boat: An Important Life Skill

Do you want to rock the boat?

Make abstract art!

Abstract art does many things but it is best at rocking the boat and causing us to see things in a new way. Rocking the boat is an important life skill, and one that highly sensitive people should embrace.

Mindless Activity

Currently, we are besieged by change. Given the endless activity of novelty and new “trends” you would think that we allow and accept rocking the boat. In reality, we are probably not that open and accepting. Mindless activity is not change. Mindless activity can stop change because it invites shallow activity and serious change requires a deeper commitment of time and attention. Mindless activity is activity for activities sake; it is not purposeful and well thought out.

Another way to limit change is by creating chaos in the form of constant emergencies. Evolutionary psychology points out that the easiest way to stop growth and development is to have a war – which is a form of aggressive chaos.  Chaos is limiting because each moment is divorced from the next so that sustained activity becomes impossible. Under chaotic conditions, time and continuity are under siege; in war, people are, too.

The Serious Business Of Rocking The Boat

When you are serious about anything, you have to invest time and energy. Serious intention requires a lot of thinking, experimentation, testing of the waters, mistakes, and creativity. Serious intention means you have to slow down enough to make the necessary investment in what you are trying to accomplish.

Working fast reduces investments of time and energy which creates shallow results. One way to keep people from rocking the boat is to have them fixate on a lot of ever-changing novelty. It keeps people busy and creates illusions of change. The phrase, “The more things change, the more they say the same,” applies to these conditions.

Serious lasting change, then, requires a considerable amount of sustained effort. It has to be well thought out because that is the need for long-term commitment. Chaotic conditions keep people fixated on the short-term.

Rocking the boat is not the same thing as being challenging or provocative. It is relatively easy to be provocative but not easy to take a new idea from conception to reality. That is hard work!

When we deeply rock the boat we are changing ourselves and developing strength. In doing so we are changing relationships and power structures. Not everyone welcomes this.

Rocking The Boat May Mean A Fight

HSPs are natural although often inadvertent boat rockers. Being compassionate and empathetic are two reasons – they are culturally different values. Being creative and energy aware are others because these characteristics are not present in everyone. Our very natures, being different from non-HSPs, cause us to create conflict just by being ourselves. However,  it takes more than creating conflict to rock the boat or tip it over – in other words, to create lasting change.

Seriously rocking the boat takes sustained work and focus, something that HSPs may not be good at because of our tendency to be overstimulated and therefore have our attention fragmented. Serious boat rocking also may mean a fight although I mean fight in the sense of constructive engagement. To create any lasting change the old and new engage in a struggle over the merits of their positions and contributions. The necessity for change, the comfort of the old and the dangers of complacency, the skills that we know and the ones we have yet to learn all are weighed as we decide how to move forward into something new.

It is only in the struggle that the merits can be known, and strengths and weaknesses of anything assessed.

HSPs are good at grappling with the merits but not with the fight. We may be good grapplers but we often do it in private because our grappling may not be welcome. We may also avoid fights because they often seem like a smoke screen or a distraction used to obscure the necessity of change or to hold us back. Fights often seem to be more like resistance to change so we may resist the fight.

HSPs Can Become Great Advocates For Change

Rocking the boat should not be thought of as a reckless activity. You could make the case that the best people to rock the boat and create change are empathetic HSPs. However, we also have to be willing to fight. Fighting does not have to be fighting against, which is often how we think of it. Fighting can be the activity of bringing our hearts to a conflict. It can be a form of open-hearted grappling with the factors involved in the need for change.

Bringing our hearts, sensitivity, creativity and seriousness to change gives HSPs the potential to be great agents of change. We need change and we need HSPs to embrace it and become part of leading it.

 

How The Path Of Creativity Can Help HSPs

I enjoy creativity but as someone who is basically an artiste in the broadest sense, I am often stopped in my tracks by my fear of making mistakes. My very roots seem to be dipped in this feeling, and I have often made myself small by refusing to give myself enough space to explore.

Even if you don’t consider yourself creative (maybe just the word “artiste” made you cringe), the fear of making mistakes probably stops you from living a full, artful life. It stops you from doing things expansively, trying something new, and feeling at home when you don’t do things right the first time around.

Creativity requires living larger. Many of us find our being shrinking in size as the shadow of this fear looms large.

Perfectionism And Shame Kill Creativity

Just like you, I am learning to let go of perfectionism and attempting to live in my creativity.  I am beginning to learn some things that I hope will seep right into me one day, just as deep as the fear had once gone.

What we think of as a mistake is a starting point: When we start off doing something, we are not very good. Or, maybe, we are talented but not as good as we ultimately want to be. Keeping things pristine and empty because we want to make only the best thing or the best decision leads us nowhere.

We all know this intellectually, but we don’t know it in our bones. What we do know almost physically is the intense reaction we have when we make a mistake.

Some old part of us comes calling. It says: “You can’t do anything right.” It says: “You are a mistake” even though you have just attempted something you don’t know very much about.

If you are at this point, you are coming face to face with a belief that you are uprooting. You are beginning to unfreeze. That’s hard work, and you deserve credit for even trying.

As I try to let go of my fear, I find myself face to face with my belief that if I don’t do things “correctly,” I am not good or lovable. There is shame involved in that belief.

What’s stopping us are unconscious fears that speak to our very human need for love and belonging. We can trace their origins back to the past. We can work at bringing them to light and changing them. It’s okay to go slow as you begin this process. It’s okay if you don’t make great progress right away.

You are attempting to plant your being in more fertile soil.

Embrace Play

“Childlike” things that energize us are useful things : All creative acts are playful and exploratory. They can be fun and silly, imaginative and inventive. That threatens the part of us that is attached to the idea of what an “adult” looks like. We forget that a real adult would be someone who gives their free child room to play. We forget that there is a difference between childish and child-like.

I have been struggling with this. As a writer, sometimes, words become less than living for me. It’s when I have spent too much time in my head with abstractions, with thoughts that hiss and curl. And so, lately, I have started doing things that use my other senses.

It has happened organically. Researching intuition, I found myself getting attracted to images and pictures. They felt immediate and truer than words. Then, I chanced upon adult coloring books, and I let myself buy one. It’s a book on coloring Mandalas by Jim Gogarty. Mandalas are circular designs that signify the wholeness of being, and that symbolism as well as the pictures appealed to me.

So, I set out to color, intuitively picking out whatever color appealed to me and filling it in. I let my feelings guide me, and it turned out to be a surprisingly heart-nourishing activity. My mind (like the mind of many HSPs, I suspect) often hooks on to a thought and then chases it the way a dog goes after a bone. This rumination — obsessive thinking about something even though it doesn’t help at all — is a part of my adaptation. It’s the way it has been for me for a long-time.

What was surprising was that as soon as I started coloring, the rush of thoughts stopped. It wasn’t so much that my mind was “empty” but that there was a presence, a fullness that was engaged with what I was doing right then. I was in the flow.

I think that our minds need something to hook onto, something to grasp at. When we are too much with our thoughts, as sometimes sensitive people are prone to being, we are swept up in their current.

Consciously choosing a hook for our attention gives shape to the energies that we sometimes get overloaded with. Instead of becoming self-defeating, this nervous energy can now have a channel to flow into.

It can as easily be creative as it has sometimes been destructive in the past, when we didn’t know what to do with it.

Of course, coloring is just an example. I picked it up because I love colors and pictures. You might love some other flow-state activity. Here, in the Silicon Valley, I know many engineers who love to play with Legos. The same part of them that drives their adult work — the pull to build something, connect parts to build a bigger system — also fuels their adult play.

Play is energy-giving, regenerative. Without it, where would our work be?

For me, coloring has led to drawing mandalas by hand and trying watercolor painting. It’s helping me fill up my sensory well, a place to draw on for my writing. It’s helping me round out the rough edges that develop inside me when I am too much in my mind.

And it shows me, in a real way, that I can give myself what I need. That’s something we need to learn as sensitive people. We sometimes feel caught in one-sided friendships or relationships where we find that we are giving too much of ourselves away and not receiving what we need.

Maybe, one way to receive is by re-directing some of our energy to what we love and find nourishment in the presence that creativity brings.

But we can’t even choose to do this if we are stuck wanting to appear a certain way. When we can let go of our limited notions of what we permit ourselves to do, we find that we have enough inner resources that help renew and invigorate us.

The Mind Blocks Creativity

The intellect can be a great danger to creativity: Many of us have a skewed relationship with our creativity. We value thinking and the intellect over stepping into discovery and experimentation. Something that I read recently by the wonderful writer Ray Bradbury gives us a new way of thinking about experiencing and thinking.

Bradbury tells us that “thinking is to be a corrective in our life — it’s not supposed to be a center of our life.” That’s a radical statement for someone like me, someone who over-thinks a lot.

If thinking is not the center, what is?

Bradbury says: “Living is supposed to be the center of our life, being is supposed to be the center — with correctives around, which hold us like the skin holds our blood and flesh in. But our skin is not a way of life — the way of living is the blood pumping through our veins, the ability to sense and to feel and to know. And the intellect doesn’t help you very much there — you should get on with the business of living.”

We should get on with the business of living. That’s a pointer for people like me who have been seared at some point and now carry their mistrust into everything that happens. Thinking becomes our way to try and control things, even before they happen.

But as Bradbury tells us, thinking is not living. If we have made it our primary mode of moving, then we are deadening our lives.

We are here to experience things, discover things, make things.

Of course, we need to think as well. But the thinking we need is not a defense mechanism, but a membrane that holds all of our experiences together. Then, we don’t use it to rationalize or talk ourselves out of doing things. We use it to assess our direction and course correct, when needed.

As I try to put this into action, I find that I am getting excited about things again. I am stepping out of the limits that I had drawn for myself. I am sighing with relief as I let myself wander and figure out things.

I am trying things on for size.

Nothing needs to be perfect. Nothing needs to turn out right. I am discovering and making things up as I go along.

This way feels more fluid, and I want to expand on it and continue doing it.

I want to feel the freedom of not being weighed down by my own perfect standards or those of others. I want the freedom to do more, be more, discover more. I want to find out what all shapes I can take and how I can stop stifling my own being.

And what about you?

What would stepping away from the need to do things perfectly do in your life? Would it help you become lighter and more joyous? Would it help you attempt something your heart is yearning to do? Would it help you pull in more things that make life worth living?

I hope you find yourself taking your next imperfect step and finding that that too can be part of your wonderful, glorious dance.

Breaking The Failure Taboo

Failure is something that many of us if not all of us have been taught to be afraid of.

Unfortunately, failure is a big subject and perceptions about failure are not necessarily innocent.

Fear of failure causes so many people to hide and makes them afraid to be themselves. What a loss!

Why Failure Is Such A Big Subject

Failure has been a big subject throughout human history.

If you take a look at ancient myths and stories many of them are as much about failure as about bravery.

In early human societies, failure was dangerous. Failure was life threatening and the consequences were often death. Even community games required or resulted in human sacrifice. The Mesoamerican Ballgame of early Aztec societies was one example, but there are many others.

Failure was particularly problematic for early humans, because they had very little knowledge about the actual causes and effects of events in their lives. You could say that life was a guessing game but a serious one.

The Seriousness Of Failure Stuck

There was certainly plenty to be afraid of in early human societies.

War, disease, weather, lack of resources were all factors that made life seem fragile. However, it seems that we often made the problem worse with superstitious rule making and worship of gods and ancestors. Although they were forms of self protection, they were practices that led to some serious scapegoating. I would have been afraid to be alive then myself.

People who were different were definitely targets of superstition and to some degree are still today. Perhaps because the uncertainty of survival resources, like food and water as well as continual war made demands on each society extreme.

The Fear Of Scapegoating

What constitutes success and failure have been and are still culturally prescribed. Your occupation, performance and family status are three ways in which we are often judged. We have also inherited our fears about not measuring up.

The serious need to ensure our survival as a species has come at a serious cost. We have so limited what we call acceptable behavior that we often to not realize how much we have cut ourselves off from our natural abilities and talents.

In addition, the serious treatment of and consequences for failure, real or not, right or not, has stuck in our mental programming. To this day, we humans do not handle failure well.

The fear of scapegoating is a serious inhibitor of our social, professional and creative behavior. In many cases we not be aware of it as an inherited fear. It is there under the surface and deep inside us if we look and reflect on it.

Failure And Creativity

Failure is such a big deal that human creativity has been controlled and thwarted for thousands of years in the attempt to create some stability and certainty in human societies. As justified as the desire for stability is, the universe – all parts of it – is essentially creative.

I am always amazed by animals who take the uncertainty of life in stride and find a way to enjoy the good they find. They do not fight life as we often do.

When we fight our natural creativity, we are fighting life and ourselves. At the end of the day, that cannot be rewarding or an enjoyable way to live life.

We all know of individuals or have ourselves experienced the blame that gets put on people for something they did not do or over which they had no control.We all know how wrong it is and how lousy it feels to be scapegoated. Do we, however, pay too high a price to avoid that fate?

What Is Failure?

It is worth considering what failure is. Failure has been associated with vulnerability and uncertainty for thousands of years.

But that is not really what it is.

Much effort has been made in the past 50 years to recognize the degree to which our lives are dominated by the stories we tell ourselves and others about life. These stories often relate to our vulnerability – self created and culturally created. Often these stories shut down our creativity.

By embracing the colorful but potentially “dangerous” aspect of ourselves we can open ourselves up to our creativity and take responsibility for it.Creativity is not irresponsibility.  It may actually be irresponsible not to embrace our full creativity.

I am all for some comfort in life. However, we need to realize that security is a story we tell ourselves just like any other. When we rigidly put safety first we not only deny reality which never works, but also sacrifice quality of life and joy for stability.

Is that really the trade-off we want to be making?

What Happened To Play?

 

What happened to play?

Did you make mud pies when you were a child? Perhaps you spent time in a playground or a sandbox. Did you build castles in the sand? What happened to the joyful spirit of play in your life?

Enter Insecurity

I was raised in a conservative environment so work and conditioning started at a young age. I am not good about being indoctrinated so I noticed when anyone tried. To this day, I notice. However, the forced creation of fear and insecurity has an effect whether you like it or not. It causes sadness, pain and loneliness. And insecurity.

I experienced all of those things. The fear world causes us to pull back and stop fulling engaging with life out of normal self-protection. When that happens a part of us dies a little bit at a time.

Who Gets Hurt?

Children are known to be sensitive to the hurt in others. Many comfort those around them who are in pain. They are not, however, sophisticated in understanding the source of that pain.

How many of us are taught that if we are not obedient and quiet, we are a source of pain to others? How many of us are taught that when we are joyful we are hurting others? How many of us are taught that happiness is something we earn? How many of us are taught that curiosity is bad? How many of us are taught that our creative, fully alive spirit is too much?

How many of us are taught that the more alive we are, the more of a burden we are?

No Room For Play

Trial and error is how we learn; it is how we become strong. So when we slowly close the door on play, we disempower ourselves and others. Playing is the basis of trial and error and give and take. Play helps us to be open to possibility and to the good wherever we find it.

Playing with others helps us learn to trust them even if they are very different from us.

Play: The Path To Empowerment

Play lets us be more process oriented so that we are less focused on outcomes and more focused on our engagement in the trial and error process of creating. Play lets us work through a problem, so we learn how to do it. When we engage in play we learn when to move forward and when not to. We learn to act, reflect on our actions and make adjustments. We learn what works and what doesn’t and we acquire our own skills and knowledge independent of any one else.

Children used to go outside to play all the time. It was important to do so because it gave you direct access to your experience and eventually helped you develop skill and wisdom. You did not require the validation of anyone else. Directness develops power. That appears to have changed and now young people have structured activities that are usually supervised and controlled.

Are they are better off?

Coming Into Our Own

We all need to find and take our place in the world. To do so we need to find our strengths and that occurs through play. Play enables us to take calculated risks and teaches us how to handle our successes and failures. Play makes failure a normal part of life. How many of us have a healthy attitude toward failure? In the interest of safety and security we may have given up our resilience and spirits and I am not sure that we have made the right bargain.

Play helps us become who we were meant to become. It helps is come into our own.

Which is why it is so important.

How An Empathetic Nature Can Block Creativity

We HSPs are famous for our empathetic nature. We are also often creative. Often we are also creatively blocked.

Is there a relationship? Can our empathetic nature get in the way of creativity and block it?

Empathy Is Precious

I personally treasure empathy. Not just for its humanitarian value, but because it is also a great tool for discovery. Empathy is a great way to learn about the world. It enables you to look at anything from another point of view.

It also helps you with all the information that your nervous system takes in. Being empathetic helps you relate to the energy of each piece of information and if it is a multifaceted energy, you can engage all of it. It also lets you into the complexity and nuance of anything. You are able to perceive the dynamics and structure of anything around you.

Empathetic listening is a holistic window to the world and so offers HSPs the potential for a special kind of wisdom that only insight can offer.

The Price Of Being Empathetic

Empathy can cause us to feel like we are drowning in information. It can feel like we are being overwhelmed with so many factors and considerations that it can be hard for us to move forward.

Many HSPs, myself included, like to process every input conscientiously before making decisions and taking action. Hurting someone else is anathema to many HSPs; the pain is too unbearable. As a result, our awareness can become a huge burden. Our sense of responsibility may far outweigh our actual or real role or responsibility. Our skills may not necessarily be up to the information we take in.

All of this, of course, forces us to try to come up with ways to handle the overwhelming information, but nonetheless, it is a huge processing and interactive burden. And it slows us down.

Empathetic Capacity Affects Our Creativity

Empathy affects our creativity because it increases the options and possibilities that we see.

It

  • helps us see beyond the object to the being.
  • causes us to embrace the other and to naturally care.
  • prevents us from taking actions that would harm because we can become immobilized that way.
  • lets our options and choices become animated and alive through our energetic experience.
  • helps us see paths and directions can so numerous that we sometimes cannot choose.not from laziness or wishy-washiness but from our own conscientiousness.

The empathetic nature is something that non-HSPs often will not likely understand.

We have a right brained empathy, rather than a left-brained approach. It is not object oriented. It is being oriented and that makes all the difference.

Empathic Nature And Creative Choices

Empathy affects the choices we make. Like other HSPs, I certainly try to make empathetic choices.

Our empathetic nature can lead us to better choices or to weaker ones. They cause us to use our creativity to serve the greater good, or have it used to serve someone else’s self-interest.

When we allow our empathy to be abused, we cannot use our creativity well and we hurt ourselves. Codependency can result in the misuse of our creative talents and that is never good. HSPs have to watch for those who are victim narcissists, complainers and passive aggressive individuals who use our empathy to serve their purposes.

Empathy can have a tremendously positive impact on our decisions and choices.  We let it inform us about when it has been used well, because when that happens we make choices that have the feeling of rightness or of a great fit that gives us a good feeling about what we are doing.

It is up to us to make sure our empathy serves our creativity well and is used in a positive way.

It is such a shame when empathy and/or creativity is squandered because both our empathy and creativity are precious.

The world needs more of both.