Tag Archives: mindfulness

Creative Living

Do you believe that you are creative? Do you often find life repetitive and boring? Do you feel a yearning to express, but decide to judge and put down your creations? Do you wish to express, but then stop because you see someone doing it “better” and being praised?

Unfortunately, many confuse creativity with having a specific, well-honed skill. While creativity can build skills, creativity and skill are not the same.

Creativity is very basic to our existence – it is a way to express relationship to life through any and all actions. You feel a connection and you say or do something that brings out your unique perspective as a natural response – whether or not anyone else is looking. As your relationship to life deepens and you continue to express that, you build skill – perhaps a new skill. And you really couldn’t care less if anyone appreciates what you do.

That may sound like a pretty weird take on creativity. Isn’t creativity reserved only for those few who have been deemed by society as talented?

Society has turned creativity into a public act of showmanship. There can be so much arrogance about what is considered creative: fame, “likes,” money, and power. The sacred and intimate act of sketching, painting, dancing, singing, or writing is put on a stage in front of observers who convince us that what we create is at their pleasure. Because only a few rise up to the top of this accolade pyramid, the rest may shut down to creativity altogether and stop expressing. For so many, creativity has become about impressing others, amassing viewers and “followers”, boosting ratings, and – ultimately – money and status. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with having these things, the drive to create because of these possible outcomes misses the point of living a creative life.

Let’s go back to the beginning….One way to view life is as creating a relationship with the world and expressing this relationship. Everything we observe about what’s around us becomes a part of us. If we respond to this awareness and do something to express our take on life, then we are creating new connections and being creative. Life is the full palette available to us. Inspiration to be ourselves is the brush or instrument. Awareness is the vehicle that takes us deeper and deeper into reality, and weaves our unique perception directly into the fabric of life.  Everyone can do this at any time with – literally – any activity. Creativity is about our personal intention to connect.

A creative life is the opposite of a stuck, monotonous life. A creative life breaks the mould without trumpeting its accomplishments. There are no predetermined outcomes of a creative life because the journey is always presenting something new. That journey, unfettered by agenda, is the essence of creativity.

Every moment opens an opportunity to be creative even through the simplest of acts. Even washing dishes can be creative. But how? We do things over and over in life, and such acts can quickly  become boring to us. Where is the creativity in that?

Behind action are our attention and intention. If the intention originated from a heartfelt openness – a feeling of happy freedom in being, the attention begins to move awareness toward relationship with the world. And, even while washing dishes, we begin to notice more about the water and the plate than we did before. While holding and scrubbing a plate, cup, or fork, we explore and discover consciously. Our movements literally flow new tentrils of connection to reality in that moment that are unique because they come from a unique spark of the divine – each of us.

When a heart surrenders the fight to be the most creative and worthy of note – probably due to sheer exhaustion of having to be on stage and perform, there is literally nowhere to turn to except into the moment. The rules of engagement transform, what we value transforms, and we are free to just be – which is also creative. Simple presence, relating from moment to moment to whatever, can be the purest expression of creativity.

***Please let me know your thoughts. I will try to respond.***

Freedom from Repetition

When you reflect on your life, you may find that there are certain recurring themes…. You may identify situations that feel like déjà vu – “Haven’t I done this before?”.  You may notice yourself being drawn to certain types of people, but not others. You may see yourself replaying similar relationship dynamics, having the same conversations and internal dialogues, running the same thoughts, feeding the same desires, and nursing the same aches and pains.  You may engage your daily routines in a nearly robotic manner: “Time to make the donuts….”

Repetitive experiences seem so commonplace that we may not even question them. Is it possible to feel new and fresh in every moment, naturally and spontaneously expressing creativity and inspiration?

Not only is it possible to feel like every moment is unique, such a way of relating to life is our birthright. We have the capacity to engage life with innocence that does not presuppose specific intentions or outcomes and remains open to all possibilities.

Remember the times when you have received a present and you didn’t know what was inside the wrapping? Remember how it felt to open it and feel like it was exactly what you wanted? Imagine living every moment as if it were a present – the present – a happy surprise and an opportunity to feel completely and utterly loved….What would a lifetime of these moments be like for you?

Our lives are filled with natural rhythms.  We go to sleep to rest, and we awaken to participate in life. We eat to nourish our bodies. We wash the dishes and clean our homes. We pack our lunches, and we trek to work or to school. We return home and have dinner. How we choose to engage these rhythms makes all the difference in how we experience life. It is possible to sleepwalk through such moments and continuously retrace our steps. It is also possible to discover each moment as if it had never happened before. Which feels more alive? While it may be tempting to see life’s rhythms as an invitation for repetition, it is not the only way to engage.

In the awakened state, there are no repetitive thoughts, and no dwelling on the past or the future. Instead, attention is firmly rooted in the present and life feels like a continuous unfolding. You are surfing a wave that is literally arising out of every moment, and your soul is filled with joyful laughter throughout this  adventure of discovery. There is no need to assume, worry, fear, anticipate, brace yourself for impact, or protect yourself. Contrary to common belief, such vulnerability and openness is pure strength, and not naive weakness.

After years of being hurt by life situations and people, it may seem logical to pad ourselves with impenetrable protective layers: “Because I know I can feel hurt, I can prevent this feeling!” Makes sense, right? Well, being awake does not mean being naive or setting yourself up to be hurt.  Rather, engaging each moment with full presence invokes pure intuitive intelligence, which is flexible in its response to whatever may arise. This intelligence sees situations and intentions clearly, and meets whatever comes with what is needed. There is literally nothing between your awareness  and the moment because you are both the awareness and the moment. Ultimately, you feel utterly safe and loved – because you know that you are love.

Engaging life as innocent exploration requires surrender of all that we think we know and being comfortable with not having to know. This is a leap that requires great courage and diligent practice of letting go during every seemingly mundane task. This way of living requires trust that repetition does not necessarily assure safety. Practicing entering the flow or the zone through every action frees us to explore rather than relive.

Of course, the Ego stands ready to criticize every time we become forgetful. However, we can simply acknowledge this tendency and move back to consciousness as quickly as possible. Despite the knee-jerk reaction to engage in self-negation, we can surrender even that to the moment.

Waking up is a process that asks us, first and foremost, to love who we are. By cultivating love and care for ourselves, we gradually experience that love is the definition of being and feeling safe. Love cannot be harmed! By cultivating love and care for ourselves, we also cultivate love and care for all life. We happily trade in the need for perfection for the freedom to simply be. Ultimately, attention becomes the moment and infinite possibility is all there is.