Let The Creative Process Help You To Achieve Your Goals

Do you get stuck when trying to move forward?

Are you creating but still find that you can flounder or use your momentum?

Do you wish you could find an easier way to make the life that you seek?

Why It Helps To Embrace The Creative Process

Creating can be a difficult and confounding process. We often take one step forward and another back.

It can be hard to understand why that is. So we look into our childhoods, our belief systems and all sorts of corners of our psyche to figure our what is getting in our way.

According to Robert Fritz, author of The Path Of Least Resistance and Creating in addition to many other books, The problem is not in our psyches it is in the structural system that dominates our lives.

What Is The Creative Process?

Many of us have mistaken ideas about the creative process.

The creative process is NOT about coming up with ideas.

The creative process is NOT about concepts.

The creative process is NOT about finding yourself.

The creative process is NOT a form of personal salvation.

The creative process IS a structure that lets you create.

The creative process IS a way to remove irrelevant considerations from your creating – whatever your creating is about.

The creative process IS a way to move from where you are now to your creative goal.

What Is Irrelevant To Creating?

In creating the only thing that matters is what you want to create, and how you are going to get from where you are not to what you are trying to create.

It does not matter what I think or what you family and friends think.

It does not matter what your religion or political affiliation is.

It does not matter what the weather is, who likes you or does not.

It does not mater is you have a dog, cat or a bird.

It does not matter if you had a bad childhood.

It does not matter if you like yourself.

How To Make The Creative Process Work For You

According to Robert Fritz, the process of creating is very simple:

  • identify where you want to go, what you want to achieve
  • identify where you are
  • determine how to get there
  • do it.

Once you know what you want and where you are now, you can develop the step you need to take. There is no one to consult, and no approval to get.

It is that simple.

We overcomplicate it with a lot of extraneous considerations which are really irrelevant.

So, for example, you want to become super healthy.

First, you need to assess where you are and then create a series of steps to achieve your objective. It may include losing weight, drinking more and healthier water, dealing with stress issues, figuring our a lifestyle plan that will support your health, etc.

The big benefit of this approach is that taking one step supports the rest of the steps. So going through the process, each step moves forward and feeds into the next. Gone is the oscillating pattern of one step forward and one step back.

By having a straightforward creative process, you now have a structure that supports your moving forward.

That’s all you need to creative whatever you want.

Sound too simple?

Try it. See if it works for you.

I am using it, and although it takes getting used to, it does work.

The Value Of Tension

 

I think tension can be good.

It is not my favorite thing in life, and as a highly sensitive person it can be challenging, but it  has also made my life better in some ways.

Tension Seeks Resolution

Tension seeks resolution is truth that I have learned from Robert Fritz through his class, Structures, which teaches how to use the creative process to create what you want in life.

One thing I know about as a highly sensitive person is tension. Like many other HSPs who have nuanced perceptions, I often see what others do not, which naturally creates tension.

It leads to a lot of questions:

  • What do I do with what I see?
  • What do I say?
  • What is my responsibility?
  • When do allow events to unfold without interfering?
  • When should I intervene?

These are all hard questions for a highly sensitive person to answer.

Even harder when it feels constant.

Is Tension Dangerous?

I have experienced tension my whole life so I almost feel like an expert on it.

When I was young others in my life promoted the idea that tension was bad, that it was a sign that something was wrong. So if someone else was unhappy I was the cause.

It meant that I was creating pain and unhappiness for others, which as an HSP I did not want to do. I found this thinking to be a little crazy since I could only do my best and you can’t read anyone else’s mind. Nonetheless, I lived in an environment where there was an expectation of constant pleasure.

The weird thing was that in spite of all these desires and demands everyone was miserable and it did not take much to upset someone. As a creative HSP that was a huge problem since I do not know how to be anything other than creative or myself.

Tension Is Very Useful

In spite of the reactions of others, I have always listened to tension to try and understand it. Most of the time I have found  the tension around me puzzling. I would listen to it, take it on, and trying to understand.

I found it difficult because implicit was an expectation that something should be different, or the tension not there. But how can the moment you are living be anything other than what it is? I scratched my head a lot.  I felt burdened by expectations that seemed misguided since each moment is different with different requirements and needs.

Expecting no tension means that you are actually creating problems for yourself because you are not facing life from reality, but from your imagination. It is one thing to want good things in life, but you have to be in touch with what is going on around you. If you want to make a chocolate cake you do not go to the garage for a ladder. There has to be some relationship between what you are doing, how you are doing it and where you want to go,

There is no magician or wizard to protect you for unrealistic expectations and unwanted outcomes. Is it really someone else’s job?

Tension helps us learn where our desires and reality diverge so that we can figure how to manifest our desires. Expectations are not meant to provide us with a cop-out when we want to avoid the realities of life.

Using Creative Stress Constructively

What I like about creative stress is that it can feed my creativity. I call it creative stress.

It can help me see where I am at, what I know or do not know in relation to what I want, and help me develop the tools and skills to make something happen.

Creative stress is a way of being with what I want that ensures that I do not put what I want on others.

I think that is important.

Using creative stress constructively is doing something HSPs are good at because we can listen to the gaps:

  • between what we want and what we have
  • between what is said and unsaid
  • between what we know and need to know
  • between what we are able to do and what skills we need

Tension is an important tool that HSPs can use to manage their lives better.

I highly recommend that highly sensitive people try to embrace it to empower themselves.

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Duality And The Mastery Of The Exquisite

 

The Value Of Mistakes

Mistakes are a no-no, even a taboo.

That is unfortunate because they are very important and necessary.

Without errors, you cannot be in touch with and claim your own power.

Embracing failure is important if you want to come into your own as an HSP.

The Hidden Benefit Of Mistakes

According to Robert Fritz, author of the Path of Least Resistance and Creating, the creative process can be divided into three large phases:

  1. the idea or germination
  2. the development of the idea from concept to completion
  3. releasing the result

Although we can make mistakes at any time and step of the process, errors are most valuable when we are in the development phase.

Failure are an important part of the trial and error process that lets us engage with an idea and reality.

They tell us when something is not working so that we can consider what to change.

It is through failure not only that we learn, but also that we develop mastery over a subject.

Errors are our path to our power and effectiveness in the world.

How Mistakes Can Seem Like A Bad Idea

Mistakes can seem like a bad idea, particularly to highly sensitive people.

We do not like the negative feedback and we feel terrible when we have done harm to others.

Our natural gifts can make it difficult for us to want to take any chances. Since we are often misperceived and misunderstood and our insights dismissed, it can seem as if we are taking big risks whenever we move forward.

The Baggage Of Mistakes

There are many misconceptions about mistakes that can create problems for us:

  • mistakes are a matter of life and death. For early humans, mistakes may indeed have been a matter of life and death. However, those days are long gone and we can lighten up about mistakes. Most mistakes may create some inconvenience and even some loss but are rarely life threatening.
  • mistakes are a sign of stupidity. Mistakes have been equated with lower intelligence as far back as I can remember. However, mistakes are inevitable when we are venturing to create something new or learn a new skill.
  • mistakes are a sign of weakness. Making mistakes can actually be a sign of strength since it takes courage to be willing to learn something new.
  • mistakes are a sign of bad character. What an old saw this is! Character assassination is a favorite method of attacking people who take risks. Mistakes are not a sign of bad character. They are a sign of a learning process under way.
  • mistakes are a sign we do not care. Making mistakes, if we are trying to learn can be a sign of great caring. Sticking your neck out to learn takes courage which is usually a sign of caring.

Embracing Intelligent Risk Taking

The easiest way to move forward in life, embrace your personal growth and learn is to embrace intelligent risk taking.

Not all risk taking is equal. You can make unnecessary errors by taking on to much at once, always flying by the seat of your pants,  flying blind without conducting any research and generally making a mess.

Or you can take a wiser approach.

A Process For Intelligent Risk Taking

In order to take intelligent risks, you have to have in your mind a process that can make risk taking an important and valuable part of what you are doing. You need to create a process that you have confidence in.

Here is one that is a start:

  1. identify what you want to do.
  2. break it down into steps. This prevents you from getting in over your head and makes it easier to identify where you want to make corrections and why.
  3. research what is needed to do what you want to do. Understanding the skills, tools and other requirements will make it easier for you to take an intelligent risk.
  4. obtain whatever resources you need. D not skimp on time, materials, education or any other resource you need.
  5. pause to evaluate your progress frequently. It will help you avoid the most egregious and costly errors.
  6. once you are comfortable with your preparation, engage wholeheartedly in accomplishing what you want.

Often the difference between effective and ineffective risk taking is a matter of preparation.

Benefiting From Taking Risks

Highly sensitive people are extremely conscientious and caring people. Often the result, however, is that HSPs back away from taking risks when they d not have to.

Taking intelligent risks and using their conscientiousness and caring to embrace intelligent risk-taking can make a big difference not only in being successful but also enjoying growing a learning.

HSPs have much to offer, so when we take risks, everyone often benefits.

It is worth sticking our toes in the water. We may find that it is warm and inviting.

Duality And The Mastery Of The Exquisite

 

Duality is something that many of us embrace as a way to develop perceptual sophistication.

You know…
…love vs. hate…
…light vs. dark…
…yin vs. yang…
…good vs. bad…
…masculine vs. feminine…

It’s a start!

Duality Can Be Like Fool’s Gold

Discovering duality can be exciting. It is a way to start to grapple with the world.

We can see differences and we have a way to think about them.

We have a way to make sense of what we see and feel.

We are in control!

Too many people treat duality as the last word on reality when it is really just the tip of the iceberg. It is not the last word in our quest for perceptual honesty and truth. It is only the beginning.

Duality Is A Window

Duality is like a window. It is a way to begin to understand differences.

But differences are not fixed. They exist in relation to other characteristics and contexts.

So duality is not a way to understand something concrete. It is how we begin to understand factors that are always changing.

Duality gives us an opening to learn about and understand the energy of differences.

It lets us be with differences so that we can begin to understand their value.

Light is not just one value, and dark is not just one value. Each offer us many rich variations and different levels of opacity, intensity, and subtlety.

When we engage with dualities we can begin to see what we miss.

Holding The Tension Of Dualities

The creative process provides us with a tension between what we want and where we are currently.

When we hold the tension between the two, possibilities then show themselves to us.

The same is true with dualities.

When we hold light and dark together in our attention, then they start to evolve. They move together, they dialogue, they may argue. They beome active.

Meeting The Exquisite

Holding dualities creates a movement to the middle.

It allows something to emerge. That something is a place that works, where the two elements are not just in balance but where they are the most effective, where they bring out the best in each other.

Holding the tension of dualities helps you find a sweet spot between them. It is a tool to help you hold the tension in conflicts and let solutions find you.

Finding solutions and where dualities are able to meet and work together reveals a sweet spot: a place where you a feel something fall into place.

It’s a place which feels right, a place where everything feels in sync.

When you find it, it feels like you have bumped into something exquisite. It is better than harmony and it is better than compromise.

It is the sweet spot, the exquisite feeling that comes from the tension of dualities coming together in the right way for the right reasons.

It is one of the best feelings in the world.

 

A Reexamination Of Comfort Zones And Creativity

Being in one’s comfort zone or not seems to be a marker of all sorts of wonderful traits including creativity and progressiveness. I can even be a path to success and wealth!

I consider myself a creative person. However, I find many ideas about comfort zones, and getting out of them, to have very little to do with creativity and creating a good life for yourself.

Since I perceive quality of life something that we can and need to create for ourselves, I think that reevaluating comfort zones is a necessary step before it is possible to actually improve your life.

Distorting Comfort Zones

Current ideas of comfort zones, in particular getting out of one’s comfort zone, are very much tied to the growth model of economic progress. Getting out of one’s comfort zone appears to have become somewhat of a cultural ideal and I think that is problematic. Being uncomfortable is not necessarily better than being comfortable. It is important to be able to know when to step out of comfort zones and when not to.

Here are some reasons, a society might value having people move out of their comfort zones:

  • if our comfort zone is “bad”, we will seek continuous self-improvement. Although there is nothing wrong with learning, it is better when it is for healthy reasons rather than to live up to a cultural ideal,
  • we buy and consume more, in particular more than we need. If living in a smaller house and having fewer possessions makes sense for us, it will be demeaned in a consumption based economic system. “Enough” is just a synonym for your comfort zone.
  • it can be thought of as supporting the hypermasculine culture of Western civilization with its emphasis on markets, competition, conquest, and expansion. Nurturing and sustaining activities are mostly devalued. One example of the mindset occurs with those people who assert that they will rest when they are dead, as if rest is a waste of time.
  • if we are out of our comfort zones, we may not be true to ourselves. For example, we are out of our comfort zone when we pretend to be happy when we are not. If we do this often enough we lose access to and recognition of our real feelings and true selves.
  • if we go along with getting out of our comfort zone as a cultural model, we may not be able to identify our real values and aspirations.
  • there is more to comfort zones than the demands of a hyper consuming society.
  • getting out of one’s comfort zone is not about becoming extreme in sports or any other endeavor.
  • getting out of one’s comfort zone implies that what is natural may not be good. Should we be rude because being cordial is in our comfort zone?
  • dissing comfort zones suggests that the ordinary is not good enough. Actually the ordinary is magnificent if we can stop long enough to see it.

Getting out of one’s comfort zone can be as mindless as any other idea.

Reframing Comfort Zones

One way to get out of the trap of comfort zones is to reframe what you are doing because frankly your comfort zone is really not all that important an idea to wrap your life around. It certainly should not be a reason for doing anything.

If you make yourself present to where you are, what you want or need to do and the steps to accomplish what you need to do, how do comfort zones enter into that?

Do you need to get out of your comfort zone when brushing your teeth. Perhaps standing on your head while brushing would be out of your comfort zone, but would it be worthwhile to do so?

Perhaps you should consider sleeping standing up because that would be out of your comfort zone.

A Better Use Of Comfort And Discomfort

All absolutes are problematic, because there aren’t any. Absolutes are an illusion. So turning anything into an absolute as a guide for living life is a mistake. That includes “getting out of your comfort zone” if you use it as a measure of whether or not what you are doing is a good idea.

It is far better to use comfort to determine when something is working or not. We use it as a tool for learning and living in a healthier way.

We HSPs have the ability because we are so intuitive, creative and in touch with our feelings to notice comfort and discomfort as a way to make life work better – not as an absolute but as a tool for compassionate living.

That is really the value of discomfort and comfort and one of the wonderful ways HSPs can add a lot of value and magic to the world.

Humility And Creativity

Creativity and creative people are often revered especially in the arts.

Unfortunately, we often put creative people on pedestals when creativity is natural to all of us.

If we realize how important humility is to the creative process we might find that being creative is something that is available to all of us.

How Creativity And Humility Are Related

The minute you step into your creativity you are also stepping into your humility – which is actually quite wonderful when you think about it.

Creativity is a very different way of living because it is a different way of engaging with life.  It’s a process which includes

  • trial and error
  • curiosity about what we do not understand
  • openness to the many ways life can manifest.

Creativity is a natural part of us that is activated by our curiosity and sense of wonder. When we wonder, we become open to that which we do not know.

Humility has an important place in our creativity because it helps us be receptive to new information and ideas. Humility helps us wonder about how something might be different.

Creativity works best when we are open to options – not when we have the door of possibility closed. We can be more effective when we do not operate from simple, fixed answers or demands for “output” or productivity. The creative process has a life and pace of its own. We do better when we are humble enough to be in tune with its natural pace.

Creativity is evolutional and in sync with the constant evolution of people and the universe. It is about the learning and growing. When we recognize that, we can see that creativity requires that we are relaxed about it. We are going to make mistakes because we are supposed to.

The Humble Baby Steps Of Creativity

When we are in our creativity we participate in the incremental nature of life moving forward in baby steps. Those baby steps which we take with the rest of the human race become our connection with others as well as our past. The universe and the human race is a giant work in progress.

Once we realize that all we have to do is become a part of that progress, we are then free to give our best to what we do without concern for outcomes. When we become one with the ongoing invention of the universe we again move into our humility because we are not doing it alone, we have had the help of centuries of human effort and an intelligent universe.

The Challenge To Let Go Of Outcomes

One of our difficulties in letting go of outcomes is that we live in a world that measures us. We are measured on outcomes and often only outcomes.  As a result, our ability to survive can be dependent on those measurements and we can be reluctant to let go of them. To simply let go and humbly give our all to whatever is in front of us – with baby steps, one at a time – can seem dangerous.

Outcome-based measurements are measurements of “productivity” or output. They are not really measurements of our creativity. So if we are creative we can be at odds with our culture if we pursue creative goals rather than quantifiable output goals. It may seem like splitting hairs, but when you are “producing” you are a cog in a wheel. When you are creating you are engaged differently, collaborating as an equal with the universe around you. Creativity engages all of our skills and abilities from both an equal and a humble place. It is a magnificent arrangement!

When you align with the creative universe you are a friend to our ongoing evolution which means to all people and creatures.  With the intention of highest possible well-being for all – a humble intention – you are freer to give your all to your work and let go of outcomes.

The creative way is a humble way and a generous way. It may be hard to do but it is worth embracing since it really is the way of the universe and the way to our greatest fulfillment.

The Importance Of Uselessness

Being useless feels awful.

Being useful feels good, doesn’t it?

It is nice to feel valued and know we are valued. It helps us to feel secure.

It also means we are supported to others and that we are welcome in the world.

Is There A Stigma For Uselessness?

As a highly sensitive person, I suspect that the highly sensitive suffer more from the label of uselessness because:

  • we need more rest and frequent breaks
  • we are not handy for dramas and emergencies since we operate more slowly
  • we question a lot of things including others view of what is useful – like I am doing now!

Busyness often seems like much ado about nothing.

The Problem With Being Useful

We live in a very strange time. People are expected to be highly productive. However, in spite of the demands for productivity, we are often replaced by machines.

We are filling up the planet with huge amounts of garbage – the residue of our productivity. We are becoming sicker and sicker from our efforts to survive in a system that makes us obsolete.

Being productive does not mean taking good care of ourselves. It does not mean developing greater self-reliance. It means participating in the consumption business: supporting it, making it work and reaping rewards from it.

In other words, being dependent on it.

This is one of the observations that highly sensitive people will make about our current system and the idea of being useful: we are really making ourselves dependent.

Busyness Is NOT A Sign Of Intelligence

Busyness has a fatal flaw. It keeps us engaged tactically and removes us from considering the big picture.

As a highly sensitive person, I notice when the big picture and present activities are at odds. In fact, I notice when anything is at odds. Busyness is what we expect from subordinates, the foot soldiers of modern life, the Hans Brinkers of our increasingly decaying commercial system. That means that busyness does not make us masters of our fate. Just the opposite.

Busyness does not seem like such a great deal. It is worth asking ourselves why we are doing all this.

Why are we?

Are You Engaged?

Many people think of being busy as the same thing as being engaged. Often we are made to think that slowing down is a kind of disengagement, even an abandonment of our responsibilities.

But engagement demands a lot of presence. Busyness does not. So when we are being very busy in many we ways we are increasing our disengagement with life. We stop asking important questions about what we are doing and why.

Why Uselessness Improves Engagement

When we are being useless we are open to whatever comes our way. Whatever information that needs to shape our perception comes when we are that moment of rest and open to it.

When we are useless, we are open to a different agenda. It could be the voice of our innermost self speaking to us. It could be an awareness of the big picture that shows itself to us.

Nothing can reach us if we are not receptive. So uselessness is a way of being receptive to inputs from any and all sources. When we are receptive, then we engage in a different way, in a more informed way, in a more complete way. It shows up in our work. We do work that is more on point. we waste less time on that which is irrelevant or unimportant and we know the difference.

We rise to the level of creator and steward which gives us and others a greater experience of satisfaction.

Sensitivity And Being Useless

One of the challenges of being sensitive is that it is hard to fool ourselves. We know when busyness is hollow, counterproductive or destructive. We can feel it.

However, we need to work and want to work in a way that suits us. Adopting the openness of being useless lets us sidestep busyness for a form of engagement that is rewarding to us.

It is a good idea for each HSP to spend some time each day not just resting but being useless and open to the voice and wisdom of our true selves.

Our receptivity will reward us with greater enjoyment and fulfillment.

An Invitation To Intuition

One day, some years back, someone very close to me said in words close to these: You are not very intuitive. I wasn’t ? That came as a complete surprise to me. Is that what she thought? That was completely opposite to how I thought of myself. I thought I was, in fact, very intuitive. And yet, she was right in her way. I had problems making decisions. I had worked at a corporate career that felt wrong for over seven years. I felt chained, confined, miserable. And my personal life lacked any stability or direction.

With a huge amount of effort and inner work, I did get to a place where things started falling into place. I shifted many of my beliefs and worked through many self-harming patterns. And yet, when I looked back, especially to the dark times, times where I felt adrift, I wondered: What had gone wrong? What had happened to my intuition? Shouldn’t it have saved me?

Do You Listen To Your Intuition?

And yet, I do know the answer. The voice was always there. It was I who didn’t listen.

Why do we override this voice? How can we listen to it better? What beliefs hold us back from turning inward to know what we need to do next? These are all questions that feel very important to me now. Answering them can help me tune in to what feels right instead of getting hooked into what merely looks right.

There are some things that I have learnt and am learning about the nature of intuition that might help you too. They might clear the way to a deeper understanding of where you need to go and how to get there:

Many Forms Of Intuition

Our internal lives are such an unknown to many of us that the first thing we might need to learn is to become intimate with our feelings and experiences. Then, we can start seeing that intuition shows up in not one, but many ways. Sometimes, it is a nagging feeling that something is wrong. Sometimes, it is a physical sensation, like the hair rising on our arms or goose bumps. Sometimes, it’s a growing incapacity to take the next step, which warns us that we are making the wrong move.

For me, when I was working at my corporate career, intuition showed up as a loud, incessant voice. Sometimes, my body felt almost physically resistant to going through the motions. And yet, because I overrode my feelings with my intellect, the voice started dying down. It started faltering, became unsure of itself. That’s something to remember about feelings. If you are a person that approaches the world through feelings like I do (I am an INFP), your feelings of things not being right are the best barometer for what is right for you and what is not.

And yet, you might discount your style. There’s no way to validate it to the outside world which might ask you the “rational” reasons for it, which might consider your way of arriving at a conclusion invalid. If you, like me, internalize this and start discounting your own process, you will find yourself adrift. It’s not that your intuition has left you. It’s actually that you have left it. You have turned away from your own voice to listen to the louder voices outside.

What Intuition Is Not

Intuition is hard to pin down. And so, one way we can learn more about it is by learning about all the things that it is not. If we are obsessing about something or have destructive thoughts about harming ourselves or others, that is, most definitely not, intuition. In Sophy Burnham’s book, The Art of Intuition, she talks about this and how the root of the word “intuition” comes from the Latin “teuri,” which means to guard and protect. Our intuition is there to keep us safe from harm. That is its main function.

We also often confuse our intellect with intuition. Burnham gives an example of Joanne, a journalist, who talked to Burnham about her experience of waiting in a doctor’s office. There was only one other waiting patient in the room, but the woman looked so unkempt and repugnant that Joanne couldn’t bring herself to talk to her. But as time passed and she got bored, she did end up talking to this woman. She discovered, to her surprise, that this woman was actually a nuclear physicist. Talking to her was utterly fascinating.

Telling Burnham about this, Joanne thought that this exchange showed that you can’t really trust your intuition. But, in fact, Joanne had based her judgement on her intellect (the things she knew about the woman, the things that were visible to her). Intuition, in contrast, Burnham tells us, is based on information that is unavailable to the intellect. We just know, even though we might not be able to explain exactly how we know.

Understanding Intuitive Discomfort

In Burnham’s book, I came across an example that reminded me of many situations that I have been in. She talks about how she learned to play chess as child, but then gave it up after a few years because she found that her heart started beating so fast during games that she couldn’t think. She felt totally out of control. Her hands would shake. Sometimes, spots would appear before her eyes. Also, she always lost.

Years later, Burnham started playing chess again. Even after all these years, she had the same nervous symptoms, but this time, she recognized something she hadn’t before. These physical manifestations were not blocks, but in fact, signals from her intuition that she was about to make the wrong move! She talks about how this recognition has helped her. “Moreover, now that I’m listening, aware, the symptoms don’t manifest with such virulence. If my heart beats thump! I pause. I breathe. I reexamine the board. My Higher Self knows what my mind can’t yet see: I’m about to make a bad move: there’s another solution to the trap.”

This example might remind you of your own experiences. As sensitive people, we often pick up on things. But we can’t always make rational sense of them. We can start feeling like there is something wrong with us, when in fact, the opposite is true. We are uncomfortable because we are deeply attuned to what is happening, and in the situation that we are in, feeling uncomfortable might be exactly the right feeling to have.

How To Invite Intuition Into Your Life

In her book, Awakening Intuition, Frances E. Vaughan tells us that although we can’t “make” ourselves have intuitive hunches, we can put ourselves in a state of mind that makes intuitive insights more likely to happen. This is the receptive, as opposed to the “doing” state of mind.

One of the exercises in the book that I have tried and found helpful is called Open Focus. It has been developed by Dr Lester Fehmi of the Princeton Medical Center. Instead of focusing attention on just one point (like in many meditation practices), try this instead: Imagine the space between different points in your body. For example, imagine the space between your right knee and your right ankle. Let your attention float over this space and fill it. Then, use other points in your body and repeat this exercise.

There is no right or wrong way to do this. What we are trying to do is to diffuse our attention and let it cover a larger area. This can help reduce anxiety, tension and inhibition. It also helps us lose our preoccupation with time. It makes us feel more expansive, less linear. We are tethering our attention in our bodies, and this full bodied-awareness helps us tap into the wisdom that lies within our deep well.

This emphasis on the body is something that comes up again and again in my research on intuition. As sensitive people, sometimes, we are so inundated by stimuli that we run up into our heads (and remain there). But the best way to be more intuitive is to remain connected with our bodies. Yes, this is easier said than done. But the habits and practices that make us feel “in our bodies” also help us touch the luminous space of intuition.

So, whatever works for you, to let go of excess energy that you might have picked up – exercise, dance, being in nature – do that. This will make it easier to remain present in your body and not run away from it. It will help you access what you already know, deep down inside.

For me, it feels exciting to explore my intuition. Just the intention to take it seriously seems to be making it more accessible. I am learning that it doesn’t need to be hard. In fact, it probably isn’t hard. What’s hard is letting go of the need to know everything in advance. What’s hard is letting go of trying to control everything, and instead listen to the intuitive whispers of my own heart as it takes me deeper into the forest.

I hope you begin your adventure as well. I hope you find, in yourself, all that you need for your journey. I hope that we both learn to trust ourselves.

Are Passion And Creativity The Same Thing?

Do you think passion is important?

Do you think that creativity requires passion?

These are important questions because many people think that creativity requires passion and that without passion, creativity is impossible.

Does Passion Help Creativity

Many people think that passion is necessary for creativity to occur. However, we need to reconsider this idea.

Say you bump into an animal that you have never seen before. In your mind you start to invent stories about what kind of animal you are seeing and why you have not seen it before. These stories are creations of your mind. Did you need passion to create them?

Creating, then, is a natural to us as breathing since we are always engaging with and trying to make sense of the world around us.

Is Passion The Same As Motivation?

When you are motivated, does it come from passion?

When you are hungry your motivation to eat comes from necessity. When you treat someone else well, your motivation can come from love, respect, or if you are dealing with a bully from self preservation.

So motivation can be all over the map. If you tie your creativity to your motivation, you will have trouble creating since your motivation will change and fluctuate.

What Is Passion Anyway!

The common definition of passion is that it is most often described as a powerful feeling.

The Free Dictionary‘s definition of passion describes 4 basic categories for passion:

  1. a powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred, or anger.
  2. ardent love, strong sexual desire; lust, the object of such love or desire.
  3. boundless enthusiasm… the object of such enthusiasm.
  4. an abandoned display of emotion, especially of anger

I think that we recognize that passion can be a powerful emotion, but there are many powerful emotions. What distinguishes passion is enthusiasm. When we have passion, we feel an enthusiasm for what we are passionate about.

This is another interesting definition of passion from Mapmaker:

Passion is the energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do.

Simply put, it’s being who you are and doing what comes naturally. When what you do is in alignment with who you are, you get energy from doing it. It’s like water flowing along its natural riverbed. It actually gains energy from the path it’s taking (compare that to what most people experience in their work, which is more like trying to force it up and over a mountain).

So passion comes from a sense of connection between ourselves and what we are doing. Passion happens because there is some relationship between us and the work. In fact you could say that passion occurs because the work is us.

Passion And Creativity Are Not The Same

Creativity is not passion. It is a skill.

Passion comes from us. Our enthusiasm for something says something about who we are and what we have to give the world.

Passion is about something that attracts us; creating is about bringing something into existence.

Passion is a love of chocolate, creating is make an unusual chocolate cake.

Passion is a love of roses, creating is making a new hybrid tea rose.

Passion is a love of color, creating is making your own painting.

You Need Both

Passion tells you something about yourself. Creating is something you do as a result of your passion.

I personally think you need both.

It is a good idea to know yourself and where your enthusiasms lie. It is also a good idea to master the self discipline necessary to create something.

Creativity and passion can reinforce and accentuate each other. When they do you harness the best of yourself and your skills. That means you can offer some serious contribution to the world, which is a wonderful way to live.

How Living In The Question Creates Freedom

 

There has to be a better answer.

At least that is what I keep telling myself.

For the longest time I have asked myself why there is so much misery in the world and what can be done to change it. Much of our misery seems to revolve around getting and having or not getting and not having. In other words, it is comes from our perception of deprivation.

We have had many answers to deprivation in our human history, but often they fall into one of three categories:

  1. do without and learn to like it
  2. indulge yourself
  3. consume moderately which is a little of everything, no extremes of self denial or self indulgence.

I am not pointing in a spiritual direction with this post. I am raising practical considerations regarding material existence, how to live our lives and how to live with each other.

I have often thought that there is a problem with being focused on answers. Too frequently we reach for them quickly without the process of discovery that can lead to great problem solving. Our answers often take on a life of their own as an approach to life, and so can do us more harm than good.

I don’t think we get off so easy as to have a fixed answer to life challenges for a number of important reasons:

  • Answers adhered to religiously do more harm than good.  They cause us to respond to a situation as a threat to our answer. Blind loyalty to answers reduces cooperation by closing off the intelligence and experience of others.  Whenever I am around someone who operates from their answers, I can feel that I have been shut out which is a very uncomfortable feeling.
  • Answers expect a result.  They have no room for changes of circumstance, people or conditions.  If you were accustomed to living in a tent in the Sahara desert, would you expect that same tent to work equally well in Antarctica?
  • Answers demand a continuity of experience. Have you ever met someone that acted deprived no matter what they had?  That person is demanding a certain experience at all times and acting deprived when it does not happen.

I say, “Ditch the answers!” Answers should be the organic result of asking questions and considering all kinds of information.  They should not be a foregone conclusion. So ditch the answers and let some surprise into your life and you may find that life works better as a result.

Just a hunch.