One thing people often ask is, “how is you think so differently?” I liken it to someone who smokes asking, “how do I quit?” Or someone who is a bit out of shape and allowed extra calories to grow over time upon their body, “how do I loose weight?”
Unless the person asks the question, most of the time you can look into their eyes as they talk and see that their ears are not listening. It is a human phenomenon I understand all too well. I do it, you do it, and we all tend to do it at one time or another. We all do things that are not the best for us, yet, somehow have become a habit in our lives that slowly snuck into our flower pots of life.
This is what happens with creativity when you have a few dozen ideas swirling in your mind and a blank sheet of paper, yet, you can’t seem to get the ideas out of your mind. Your arm appears to have disconnected from all the neural receptors and forces one to simply stare at the blank paper in frustration.
There are a myriad of techniques one can do to make progress, for example, I used to think brute force thought would always work. While it does, it also takes the most time. One day I learned to silence and still myself, this works the best, yet, unless you are a trained mind Jedi, odds are you will have days where the arm doesn’t work in getting out ideas.
Upon studying the problem, I found most of the problem with creation is that the world tells us we have to do lots of obligations and be busy, running around at a fast pace, always doing something, many moms do what I call driving the circle each day as they take care of the kids. I do wonder how many peoples lives are consumed by such activities, where at night, you lay down your head on a pillow as you realize you made it through another day, just get rest to get through the next?
The one technique I do know works for creativity is blocking out a time and a bit of a protocol for not letting the world get into your open thought space. This time is not when you “feel” like it, or only when you are “inspired.” It is actually a well thought out discipline to take what most of the world doesn’t’ do, simply stop, focus, and realized that the problems of the obligations of the day will still be there, what will not be there, particularly first thing in the morning, is the ability for the mind to work easily in “open thought” mode.
I used to think this idea was poppycock. I “thought” I was most creative late into the evenings/nights when it was quite. I “thought” I was most creative sitting around waiting for inspiration to hit me like a lightning bolt. I “thought” I was most creative seeking out other creative’s to have witty conversations and be part of the hip creative crowd. All of that “thought” eventually showed me how “foolish” I really was. Perhaps it was reading a research paper that explained why the first thoughts of the morning after sleep are the most creative. Usually I meditate and pray first thing, why? I have no explanation for why I am still alive on this planet, so I realized that getting directions from above is probably much smarter than any directions my own mind can come up with.
Then. I do have that morning procession, lately it is coffee, and I take and grind the beans, do the hario pour over and head to the one space called the brainstorm desk. There I sit, do what I can to slow my heart and mind and usually a storm of activity flies out. A few hours later, my mind is about to shut down from mental exhaustion.
Notice, I said, usually. Today a series of little distractions have succeeded in knocking me to a place where my brains is full, yet, I have nothing on paper, just a long list of “to do’s” that in the grand scheme of life – really don’t matter – yet, they are keeping my arm from scribbling on the paper. Even as I type whatever thought I am here, I know today, it simply is not going to work out too well.
While frustrating, this is all ok. rare is a day like this. It tells me, that tomorrow will be wonderful, just show up and whatever is in the mind today will work itself out, probably for a better solution than brute force ever could.
It goes back to “how do I quit smoking?” or “how do I loose weight?” Or “how do I become more creative?”
You simply start. You do a bunch of frustrating trial and errors to learn what does and doesn’t’ work, you learn and grow. The key part is you just how up each day and try.
How it all works out from there, usually will surprise you. Change is something we all wish would happen instantly, but the reality is most of the time, it takes time to grow and produce a harvest.
In a sense, we are all a bit like plants. While we know that if we simply drink enough water and get enough sun, all will be fine. But for whatever reason, we like to wander, go into the weed patch, allow weeds to come into our soil, stay out and get sunburned with too much, and really hate when another comes along and “prunes” anything from us, even if we know we need it.
That’s all I have for the day when the arm didn’t work. Pretty crappy thoughts for today…. but I keep trying.
To be still in a noisy world, that is something I would love to attain all the time. until then, i can look at a jackson pollack and actually understand.