THE KEYS TO CREATIVITY - Chap. 10 (Full Chapter) - Unlocking Our Superpowers
The Keys To Creativity
1. Preparation Phase
2. Dream and Design Phase ( V.A.S.T. )
3. Creative Action Phase
4. Completion Phase
5. Summary of the Keys to Creativity
a. What is Creativity?
b. Genius In a Bottle
d. Personal Pep Talk
e. Environment - Outer and Inner
f. Get Out The Way, Let The Universe Play
g. Imagination and Experimentation
Dream and Design Phase
Creative Action Phase
a. Intention, Ritual, and Container
b. Support and Perseverance
c. Refinement and Feedback
a. Sweet Success!
b. The Power of Reflection
c. Sharing With The World
Summary of the Keys to Creativity
What is Creativity?
In my opinion, creativity is a key pillar of life. Throughout the ages, Spiritual Leaders from various traditions have spoken of “Honoring all Creation.” Mainstream Christianity essentially teaches that “God created the world in 6 days, and on the 7th day, he rested.” Through this lens, “Creation” is the entire planet and all its creatures, which God magically created eons ago, and this Creation is still here for us to enjoy.
I like to see “Creation” as not simply the physical world, which was created in the past, but more of an ever-present wellspring of diverse creations, which are evolving and interacting in new ways every moment! In the past minute, as you read this page, babies are being born, wildebeests are stampeding, a brilliant inventor is having a stroke of genius, lightning is splitting a massive oak tree in two, lovers on a beach are peering into each other’s eyes. This is Creation in action! We as humans are a piece of this creation, and with our conscious minds, we can co-create with the other levels of intelligence all across this planet and galaxy! Woah! Pretty cool, eh?
In this sense, to be creative is to move in step with the epic dance party of “Creation.”
There are many different definitions of Creativity. Personally I like to see it as bringing something from the realm of pure imagination into an art form that can be shared. Another way to put this is : Turning the IDEAL into the REAL DEAL!
In order to create beautifully with the rest of the Web of Life, there are 2 key elements to balance.
1. Your internal state, i.e. the harmony of body, mind, and soul.
2. Your external environment, where you are being creative.
When these are both in an optimal state, you are best suited to create amazing things, and enjoy the process :) In this chapter, I outline the “Keys to Creativity” that have supported me on my creative journey. These Keys both cover and mesh between the internal and external aspects. I also believe that Creativity and Healing are very intertwined. For example, we can express repressed emotions and pain through Spoken Word, and channel that energy in a healthy way. You will find many similarities and parallel themes between this chapter and the “Healing Process” chapter.
GENIUS IN A BOTTLE
" Every block of stone has a statue inside it. The task of the sculptor is to discover it. "
I believe that we all have “Genius” and brilliance within us. It is merely a matter of chiseling away all the excess baggage that is blocking this genius from shining into the world. Many of us have been conditioned to “be practical” or told to “get real” when we become overly imaginative.
It breaks my heart to see so many young people shoved into cookie-cutter jobs and menial labor when I can see their amazing gifts lying dormant beneath the surface. With that said, a crucial Key to Creativity is to Entertain the possibility that we each have genius within us.
Can you feel it? Regardless of how much you’ve been conditioned, there is still a tiny spark deep down that knows you have gifts to give this world. One thing to remember is that sometimes what comes natural and obvious to you is incredibly unique and amazing to others.
Author Derek Sivers has some incredible insight on this:
On October 16th, 2013 @ 10:49pm, I posted this paraphrased segment from Derek Sivers' video “Obvious to You, Amazing to Others.” I essentially apply what Derek expresses to my own experience :
I am often blown away by the genius put forth from musicians, thinkers, activists, and artists. "How could they have possibly created or thought of that?" I think to myself. I am humbled by their amazing capacity to share their unique gifts.
People often write to me thanking me for my creative ideas, Flowetry, and videos. I appreciate the support, though I also feel that many of my insights are completely obvious.
Then I realized that "Maybe everyone's music, ideas, artwork comes natural to them, and seems completely obvious! Maybe what's obvious to me is amazing to someone else!"
Hit songwriters in interviews often admit that their most successful chart-topping song was one that they just thought was stupid and not worth recording. We are clearly a bad judge of our own creations.
We should just put it out and let the world decide. Are you holding back something that seems too OBVIOUS to share?
3 Questions on Genius :
1. Who do you know that expresses their Inner Genius out into the world?
2. When have you glimpsed the potential of your own Inner Genius?
3. What comes natural to you that may be amazing to others?
In high school, many of my friends teased me for wanting to be a rapper, and this left a negative imprint on me. I was very cautious not to express myself in a way that would make me the butt of a joke. I only felt comfortable being creative if I was very intoxicated at a party. Even then, I was very nervous and afraid that people would make fun of me.
When I went to college at Penn State, I connected with a new group of friends, where I felt more free to express my true self. As I hung out with these new friends, I had my first experience of a “jam session.” This concept was totally new to me. “You mean… we can actually create music — not just listen to it? ... You mean we can generate fun out of thin air?!”
One night, as 6 of us sat in a friend’s apartment, two played guitar, one was drumming, another shook a salt shaker, and we all sang together. We smiled and laughed together as we sang songs from the Beatles, Bob Marley, and Sublime. For the first time ever, I beatboxed into a microphone. It sounded so cool! My friends told me I was a great beatboxer. “Me - no way?” I thought to myself. They kept encouraging me, and eventually I was grooving with all the other instruments and had a huge grin on my face. With this new group of friends who actually encouraged me, I felt inspired and motivated to both create and share more often. It felt so good!
I composed my first piece of “Flowetry” in the spring of 2010. My goal was to synthesize many of the complex concepts I was learning about into a format that young people would jive with. I intertwined topics of eco-consciousness, global inequality, and meditation into what later became the title track to my 1st album “Paradigm Shifting Flowetry.” Mind you, I was very nervous to share this new art form with any of my friends, because I still remembered being the butt of jokes in high school.
I practiced this piece of Flowetry over and over again in my head, and in front of the mirror. Once I finally had it memorized, I knew I had to break through my fears and share it. One night we were way up on a mountain near Penn State having a bonfire. People were chatting and playing music. I didn’t want to change the vibe, or have all the attention on me. I looked over my piece of paper with all the lyrics written on it. Something deep within me knew it was time to share.
I asked my friends if they could pause playing music for a few minutes. I took a deep breath and recited “Paradigm Shifting Flowetry” while staring into the crackling bonfire. Everyone seemed captivated by the lyrics. I stumbled over them a few times, but for the most part I remembered the whole thing! My friends were really impressed. They gave me warm hugs, high-fives, and “mad props.” I drove home from the bonfire feeling on top of the world. I was deeply fulfilled and excited to keep sharing Flowetry. The encouragement was fuel for my creative fire.
On the note of Encouragement, here is what I wrote on November 25th, 2014 @ 10:10pm :
I'm a believer. I believe in you. I'm a believer. I believe in what you do.
I could have never accomplished all that I have in this life without the encouragement and support of so many homies. Encouragement is a priceless gift we can always give to each other. I invite you to see the incredible potential in everyone you meet, and simply by seeing it, you will help them grow and blossom.
May we all see each other with new eyes.
3 Questions on Encouragement :
1. What family members or friends have encouraged you in a big way?
2. What impact has their encouragement had on you?
3. Who in your life could you give more encouragement to?
The Personal Pep Talk
Although outer encouragement is helpful and feels good to receive, the ultimate foundation for your creative success lies within. You must believe in your own dreams and goals, and find ways to encourage yourself to accomplish them.
I highly recommend using your Superpower called the “Personal Pep Talk.”
You can look at yourself in the mirror, or simply speak to yourself. You can be half-joking, or totally serious. Either way, it will help boost your confidence.
1. List 3 reasons why you’re gonna do awesome in whatever endeavor you are taking on! For example “I’m gonna rock this speech on bicycles because I freaking biked across America! I’m gonna rock this speech because I practiced it 100 times! I’m gonna rock this speech because it’s going to inspire lots of people to ride bikes!”
2. Visualize and feel yourself getting the results you want.
3. If a challenging situation arises, affirm that you are able to respond in a cool and collected manner.
4. Give yourself a 1-minute Self Love Hug (Bring your hands across your chest to opposite shoulders and close your eyes).
5. Affirm that regardless of what happens, the key is to give it your best.
This is a word I invented, which means “The environment reflects your greatest potential. It mirrors back to you the ideal vision and lifestyle you are becoming / growing into.”
Example : Jason created his new studio to be Reflential of his love for the wilderness. He set up beautiful altars filled with feathers and stones he had found all over the globe while exploring in nature. This way, every time he entered his studio, he would feel inspired and connected to all of these amazing places and experiences.
The first group of Environmental factors I will outline here are primarily EXTERNAL, and the second group are primarily INTERNAL. They are both intertwined and often reflect each other in “mirror-aculous” ways.
1. LIGHTING - The quality and quantity of light in a space profoundly impacts your state of consciousness. For example, compare how you feel in a store like Walgreen’s, where you are blasted with tons of fluorescent light, with how you feel in a meditation room where the lights are dim. As any Hollywood filmmaker will tell you, lighting is absolutely key to setting the tone of a space.
I invite you to explore different types of lamps or bulbs in your creative space. I enjoy having medium-intensity lighting when I am in an active state of creativity. Blue colored lights can also enhance the vibe. I love having a Himalayan salt and candle light when I am in a reflective or restful space. I am seriously in love with Himalayan Salt Lamps! They add such an amazing element to a creative / healing space.
1. Does your space receive direct sunlight?
2. How does direct sunlight affect your creativity?
3. What is your ideal lighting for active creativity?
2. AIR QUALITY - In order to have sharp mental clarity, fresh air is pivotal. I recommend having a decent air filter and/or a fan in your creative space. Also, be conscious of accumulated dust in your environment. If you are able to have fresh air from outside, that is wonderful too. Deep and conscious breathing also help to circulate oxygen throughout your body, and keep your brain in a state of relaxed focus.
3. SMELLS - What smells inspire you and catalyze creativity? I sometimes enjoy natural scented candles or burn some Sage or Palo Santo. I also recommend putting 20-30 drops of your favorite Essential Oils in a spray bottle with fresh water, and creating a “spritzer” / “mister.” Hey, maybe you can call it Mr. Spritzer :)
4. FOOD / DRINK - What tastes or foods inspire you to get into a creative state? Do you find that having a mostly empty or full stomach serves your creativity? What do you prefer to drink while you are in the creative zone?
Personally, I enjoy sipping some warm tea and having a big jug of alkaline water. My favorite teas are “Traditional Medicinals”, specifically “Throat Coat”, “Breathe Easy” and “Cup of Calm”. There are many delicious varieties.
Pure SereniTEA Superpower : I recommend using 2 tea bags per mug of tea, instead of one. This makes it at least 77% more robust and delicious!
(see chapter called Phenomenal Food for more info on foods / drinks)
5. SOUND - What sound environment is ideal for you? Ambient? Music with lyrics? Loud / Quiet? What type of speakers do you have?
Laptop and phone speakers nowadays are decent quality, though real speakers with bass create an amazing vibration for being creative. I believe that the better quality the speakers, the more powerfully they can set the tone of a space and truly have a profound, transformative effect on your state of consciousness.
6. VISUAL ATMOSPHERE : What colors, images, artwork and other eye candy is ideal for your creative space? I like to decorate my room with pictures of people who inspire me, lots of bright colors, and images related to the goals I am working to accomplish.
I also loooooove VISIONARY ART! I recommend adding some to your Creative Space and/or ingesting this “visual food” each day on the Internet. A good place to start is the “Visionary Art” page on Facebook.
After returning from a Transformational Festival which was abounding with visionary art, this is what I posted on September 27th, 2013 @ 9:29pm :
There is a potent mind-altering substance spreading around the planet at a rapid pace. If used properly, this substance can catalyze very powerful shifts in consciousness...
What is this substance? ...
Visionary artwork, largely originating from transformational festivals such as Burning Man, has blasted me into other dimensions simply from staring into these epic “masterpeaces” for several minutes…
Here are a few of my favorite visionary artists. I recommend soaking up their rich imagery online, buying some prints, and/or printing out some of their magic :
Chris Dyer, Amanda Sage, Alex Grey, Jah Ishka La, Krystleyez, and Michael Garfield
- Check out www.Solpurpose.com, which is a nexus for visionary art !
7. SPACE TO MOVE / DANCE : I believe that creative energy flows best when we let it move through the whole body. Because of this, it is important to have open floor space to dance and jump around when you have a creative burst. It’s also important to celebrate mini-accomplishments with a 5-minute dance party! Having decent speakers helps to pump up the jams :)
8. OVERALL VIBE / CLEANLINESS : What is the overall energy / feel of your creative space? If the environment you are in was food, would it be appetizing? Is there unnecessary clutter in your space? ( Clutter creates stagnant energy and blocks the good vibes, bro! ) Is your creative space somewhere that you truly feel “at home”?
How is the flow of energy / feng shui? In regard to this, I don’t know all the in’s and out’s of feng shui, though from what I gather, it’s beneficial to have all the elements represented. For this, I like to have some sort of living plants (Earth), a beeswax candle / Himalayan Salt Lamp (Fire), a fan / Air Purifier (Air), and one of these days I will have a fish tank (Water). And the 5th element which I call Love is a feeling that I cultivate while being creative.
You can also check out a cool guidebook called “Using Feng Shui” by Antonia Beattie.
9. COLLABORATION : Do you prefer to create directly with other people? Do you like to at least be around other people, even if you are not working together? Do other people’s energy or conversations easily distract you?
1. PACE : What is the pace / speed you prefer to create with? I find that other people often move too quickly for me, and I prefer to go at my own pace. I like to enjoy the subtleties during the process, and stay aware of my breath. I’ve noticed I make silly mistakes and get unnecessarily stressed out if I try to move too fast. Also, choosing specific types of music can determine at what pace I prefer to move.
I invite you to explore different paces while working on projects in order to find your preferred sweet spot. ( Your pace may be linked to how much coffee / chocolate you have consumed :)
2. BODY-MIND STATE : Your creative productivity has a direct correlation to how well your BodyMind System is operating. If you feel healthy and strong, you will have much better results and be able to stay in the creative zone. If you are feeling drained, mentally unclear or emotionally blocked, then it will be tough to make much progress on your projects.
Cultivating a healthy BodyMind System includes a lot of different aspects, which are covered more in the other chapters of this book. As you practice the tools offered there, I am quite confident you will see it reflected in your creativity.
Also, I don’t claim to be a Sex Coach or a Kama Sutra Expert, though I know that our sexual energy is directly connected to our creativity. Personally, I notice that when I feel sexually fulfilled and my life-force energy is flowing through my lower chakras, I have more creative drive and motivation. Here are a few questions to explore around Sexuality :
1. Are your Sexual needs / desires being met?
2. How can you channel this energy into your creative projects?
3. Does abstaining from sexual pleasure increase your creativity?
3. POSTURE : To allow creative energy to flow smoothly through your BodyMind System, a healthy posture is highly recommended. As mentioned in the “Healing Process” chapter, I recommend exploring the basics of Vinyasa Yoga and/or Qi Gong to practice good posture, and to learn how energy flows throughout your system. The main keys are to have a straight spine, relaxed shoulders, and to avoid hunching.
Personally, when on the computer, I like to stand up and have my computer keyboard a few inches below my navel. This allows me to stay present in my body, and to keep my energy and blood circulating as I type and surf the web. This has been such a game-changer for me that I have officially deemed it the “Stand-up Desk Superpower.” If you want to set one up for yourself, I invite you to be creative in finding a desk, or small shelf that is about waist height. Next, you can stack textbooks or something else, to bring your computer / notepad to the optimal height for your comfort :)
If you do prefer to sit down while typing, painting, etc. you can also explore sitting on an exercise ball or purchasing an ergonomic chair to support your posture.
4. BREAKS : Are you taking breaks once an hour or so to check in with your body, stretch, and/or go outside for a few minutes? This helps me to stay mentally clear, and keep the vital energy in my body flowing. I also like to have spontaneous 5-minute dance parties :)
5. HEALTHY SLEEP : Related to Lighting is the theme of healthy sleep. If you are not getting enough good quality sleep, this can diminish your creative abilities. Science shows us that sleeping in pitch black is ideal for the maximum production of Melatonin as well as DMT, both chemicals produced at the center of the brain in the Pineal Gland. I like to sleep with a t-shirt over my eyes to ensure that little to no light gets in to my brain as I rest.
The Pineal Gland is what many Spiritual Traditions refer to as the “Third Eye.” Located in the center of the brain, this has also been called the “Seat of the Soul,” and I believe that if the Pineal Gland is functioning optimally, then our Creativity shoots through the roof!
In Mainstream Society, there are several factors that have contributed to the “Calcification” of the Pineal Gland, meaning that an MRI scan would show a lump of Calcium Phosphate around this gland. The primary causes are Fluoride in water, and toxic chemicals, pesticides and preservatives in the foods we’ve eaten. Other studies link heavy cell phone usage, and watching television to the calcification process. As comedian Bill Hicks half-jokingly says, “Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your Third Eye.”
So what can we do to reverse this process? Luckily there are many steps we can take to cleanse our Pineal Gland and experience our birthright of Creative Genius. I encourage you to do your own research online, to find which supplements and dietary habits work well for you. To get you started, here a few key foods, supplements, and practices to explore :
- Filtered, Alkalized, and/ or Spring Water
- Alkaline Diet with lots of green vegetables
- Dark and/or Raw Chocolate
- Fasting, Cleansing, Meditation, and Intense Exercise
- Cold Showers
( A Holistic Diet is explored more in the chapter “Phenomenal Food.”)
Get out the way, Let the Universe Play
Once you’ve got your Outer and Inner Environment tuned to the right station, how do you get in the zone to create at your peak level? For me, the key is essentially to “get out of my own way.”
Here’s a little story I Posted on : November 21st, 2013 @ 10:18pm :
I listened to strictly hip-hop and rap music from age 12-17. I probably know every single lyric to over 500 gangsta rap songs. During this time I always wanted to be a rapper. I thought it would be especially cool to freestyle (to develop rhymes spontaneously in the moment).
Two years ago, I had a vision while working with a powerful plant medicine. I saw a gigantic cosmic wheel (like the one on the Price Is Right), which contained every rhyming word in the English language...
In the vision, I aligned my consciousness with this epic Rhyme Wheel, and thus I could download an immense amount of rhyming words at the snap of a finger.
After the experience, my consciousness returned to its ordinary state. I would receive awesome rhymes and wordplay, which over time I crafted into composed pieces of Flowetry...but I still couldn't rhyme spontaneously like the freestyle rappers... until ...
One morning in Peaceburgh, I woke up from a dream with the rhyme repeating in my head "Get out the way, let the universe play! Get out the way, let the universe play"... I metaphorically got out of my own way and the floodgates opened up. I began joyously freestyling for the next 15 minutes.
Over the past 4 months, I have continued to get out the way and let the Universe play, and it has been extraordinarily fun to have freestyle circles with fellow rhymers and beatboxers.
Letting the Universe play through us means that we must trust what comes through us, and not be overly judgmental about it.
This story is an example of how I finally was able to “Let go and flow.” Many scientists and researchers have studied various professionals from adventure sport athletes to Fortune 500 CEOs to discover what factors determine our “peak performance.” The conclusion is that we are most creative and productive when we are in “FLOW.”
A state of flow is when you become totally enmeshed in the present activity.
People often describe “flow states” as losing track of time or merging with the process of life itself. Sometimes this includes tremendous effort, sometimes it requires total surrender. Sometimes it means moving fast, other times it means sitting still. The ancient teachings of Taoism essentially teach how to live in a flow state. Often called the “watercourse way,” Taoism gives the metaphor of a river or stream as a great teacher. At certain points, we embody the raging rapids, at other times we embody a slow, gentle flow.
“ Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ”
~ Lao Tzu (founder of Taoism)
Force is when we are not in a flow state. It is like trying to push a river. It’s fruitless, and a heroic effort yields almost no results. When we are in flow, however, a gentle movement yields massive gains. It does take practice to master the art of “going with the flow.” It requires tuning into the feelings and thoughts that keep us in a flow state. A flow state can be found in essentially any activity from painting, running, or making love. It is a state of dynamic balance between polarities : fast and slow, masculine and feminine, electric and magnetic, hot and cold.
The various maps and tools offered in this chapter and throughout this book will assist you in navigating the many aspects of your “flow state.”
Imagination and Experimentation
“ Possibility is as wide as the space we create to hold it. ”
~ Climbing Poetree (female Spoken Word duo)
Alixa and Naima of Climbing Poetree are absolutely incredible creators, and they have certainly tapped into the Keys of Creativity in their own magical ways. They’ve inspired me to dream big and infuse passion and truth into all the words that I share. (I highly recommend checking out “Awakening by Climbing Poetree” on YouTube.)
I believe that the life we create for ourselves is as good or bad as our ability to imagine. If we think from a place of infinite possibility, then that creates the space for us to grow and evolve into our true potential.
As little kids, we have vibrant imaginations, and can envision ourselves as anything : a pro athlete, a firefighter, a rockstar, a painter. As we grow into adults, we are often conditioned to “be practical” and choose an average career or walk a path that has been laid out for us. This usually leads to a dull life, where we feel uninspired and unfulfilled. It is time to reclaim the power of imagination and as Nahko sings “dream our dreams into re-al-ity.”
To reclaim imagination, you must reclaim your CURIOSITY to EXPLORE and EXPERIMENT. Before you choose a big Creative Project to devote yourself to, I invite you to spend some good ol’ time just playin around!
Here are some Key Questions to get your Curiosity Gears Turning :
1. What did you enjoy doing / playing with / creating as a child?
2. Do any of those activities still intrigue you?
3. What makes you laugh? (There is always something magical to be found in what makes us laugh.)
4. What places in your hometown / region spark your curiosity / creativity?
5. What skills / arts do you find most captivating? Amazing guitarists? Breakdancers?
Now, I invite you to run some experiments. You can use the tools provided in the next section loosely while you Experiment with some mini-projects.
---- Okay, so now that you know you are a genius, you feel encouraged, you’ve set up your inner and outer space, and you’ve imagined, explored and experimented various possibilities, it’s time for your “Creative Project” to emerge. First, I will guide you through the V.A.S.T. model, then I will provide tools for you to complete your project in a wonderful way :)
Dream and Design Phase
THE V.A.S.T. MODEL
V for Vision :
1. Do a Brainstorm / Heartstorm : For 15 minutes, write down all your ideas, without any limitations. Imagine that you had all the money, resources, and a team to build your vision. What would you create? Ask yourself : What vision wants to emerge through me? ( I recommend writing each idea in a little thought bubble, and drawing lines and connections between them. Feel free to be creative in how you draw your ideas! )
2. After the 15 minutes is up, start to simplify your ideas into one project that you want to focus on, and literally turn the IDEAL into the REAL DEAL.
3. Dive into the specifics of this project, and outline the Who, What, Where, When, Why. What will it feel like to bring this dream into reality?
A for Assessment :
1. What are your Needs to fulfill your vision?
2. What Tools, Resources, People, Venues are you already connected to and able to use?
3. Which of these Tools, Resources, People, Venues do you want to pursue?
4. What sort of Support Structure will help you to break through Resistance and Challenges along the way? ( Similar to the Vision Phase, I invite you to create an “Asset Map, where you write each Asset from the questions above in a little thought bubble, and then draw lines and connections between them. )
S for Strategy :
1. Break down all the “Action Steps” necessary to bring your Creative Project from the Ideal to the Real Deal. This process is intimately linked with step 4 of the “Timeline”. The layout of your action steps is dependent on the amount of time you aim to accomplish your project. For example, if you want to finish the project in 1 month, rather than 6 months, you’ll need to create some larger blocks of time devoted to Creative Action.
2. Create a Ritual and Container for you to easily get in the zone (more details on this in the next section).
T for Timeline :
1. You want to map out the dates on which you plan to complete the various parts and Action Steps of the project. It is fun to experiment with different ways of visually laying out your timeline. For example you can use a cyclical, or spiral, design and highlight each week and/or month.
Now, you’ve got your preparations made and project designed in the V.A.S.T. Model, so it is time for …
Creative Action !
In order to turn the IDEAL into the REAL DEAL, I’ve outlined some key tools and aspects to explore :
a. Intention, Ritual and Container
b. Support and Perseverance
c. Refinement and Feedback
a. Intention, Ritual and Container
Intention : What type of energy do you want to weave throughout your Creative Project? The key is to have the end goal as a part of your vision, but to also enjoy the process and let the project evolve organically as you go.
Here is an example of an intention I had for my 4-week Online Course “Conscious Creative Expression” : I intend to facilitate a fun, interactive, and transformative course, which will bring about greater clarity and creative empowerment to everyone who takes this journey with me.
Ritual and Container : In order to manifest your Creative Project, it is helpful to create a “Ritual”, which makes creativity “Habitual.” You need to first set aside the Time where you will devote yourself to this project. I recommend choosing blocks of time on your calendar, and make a creativity date with yourself. Whether it’s 20 minutes or 4 hours doesn’t matter so much as that you get into the zone and get your creative juices flowing. Find a time of day where you can set aside the distractions and tasks of daily life.
It is also key to have the proper Space to ritually work on your project. Is your Creative Environment clean and inviting, crystalline and exciting? It is also important to cultivate a healthy “Inner Environment” so that you can think clearly, and have decent posture while creating. I will also add that some of my big creative bursts have come when I felt off kilter, angry, or sad, so don’t be afraid to channel all sides of yourself.
If you flip back a couple pages, you can refer back to the “Environment” section for more ideas on setting up your Creative Space.
Time and Space together form your “Creative Container” : By setting aside all distractions and carving out a block of time, you allow your Subconscious Mind/Body to relax. If you also resonate with your space, then it will be much easier to get in the zone, have fun, and be productive!
If you feel inspired, you can add to your “Creative Ritual” by lighting a candle, calling in your Spirit Guides / Creative Muse, and/or setting a specific intention for that block of time. Don’t forget to have fun!
b. Support and Perseverance :
Along the path of your Creative Project, you will inevitably come up against Resistance, Naysayers, and Challenges. Thus, it is key to have a Support System, and to use the Power of Perseverance! Your Support System and Perseverance Power go hand in hand. Both feed each other in a “Nutritious Cycle” rather than a “Vicious Cycle.”
Support : Your “Support System” is the total combination of People, Places, and Things that will empower and encourage you to keep creating despite challenges. This system will be crucial to shield you from the inevitable onslaught of naysayers (mostly inner critics) and other obstacles in the creative process. Don’t let this scare you because the challenges create the contrast necessary to maintain creative tension and continue growing.
- Supportive People : These are people who can see the vision you are manifesting, and will keep you accountable for the goals you set. They will encourage you to be your best. They can also serve as honest feedback on your project as you bring it into fruition (see next part on Refinement). It is sometimes helpful to have 1 or 2 friends who serve as “coaches” to cheer you on, and make sure you haven’t given up on your dreams.
- These supportive people stand in stark contrast to the many people and inner critic voices that will doubt you along the way. They will say anything possible to demoralize you. It’s as if they are throwing out bait, just patiently waiting for you to bite it. “Your idea has already been done before.” “You are a crappy artist, writer, singer, etc.” “You will never make any money doing this.” “Nobody cares what you have to say.”
- The big 2 questions are : Will you believe these limiting perceptions and bite the bait of these naysayers? Or… Will you remain firm in your creative project, trusting that your intention, vision, action plan, support team, etc. will carry it to fruition?
- Supportive Places / Things / Activities : I find it very helpful to take a break from my personal project and absorb some good vibes from other artists and places. What other creative projects fuel your inspiration? Go to a festival! Go to an art show! Go to a live music performance! These often serve as an injection of inspiration into your creative bloodstream, and remind you of why you are a creative being! This taps into the “Direct Experience Superpower”, which states that “What makes us feel fully alive is the felt presence of direct experience in our BodyMind System. It is crucial to discover what activities bring us deeply into the moment and a state of Wonder-standing the dance of life.”
The Power of Perseverance :
“ Life is not about how many times you fall down. It's about how many times you get back up. ”
The Creative process often brings up a lot of our doubts and fears because the outcome is Unknown. This is very scary to the “limited self,” which only feels comfortable with the familiar. Therefore, to be a creative pioneer means that you must develop a relationship with your fears, doubts, and the very real obstacles that will arise on your path.
The goal is not to conquer fear, but to keep a courageous attitude and cultivate your Perseverance Superpowers! Here are a few ideas for that :
High Tide and Low Tide : This is a concept that was shared by a good friend with potent Superpowers, Amateo Ra. The High Tide phase is when everything is cruising along and you are creatively expressing, having great results, and overall feeling awesome! The Low Tide is when things slow down, and you don’t feel creative, energized or productive. This is the best time to cultivate self-care practices. Both High and Low are part of the natural ebb and flow of life. The key is to be aware of both phases, and know how to navigate each one with a level of Mastery.
Here are 3 questions for you to explore on High Tide / Low Tide :
1. For you personally, what are some signs of your High Tide and Low Tide phases?
2. How can you more masterfully navigate the High Tide mode?
3. How can you surf the Low Tides more smoothly?
Passion and Emotion : The deep passion you have to improve the world is the driving force that can reignite your motivation, when you’ve temporarily lost your spark. The emotions you feel — and the empathy you have towards people all over the world going through tough times — can serve as fuel for your fire.
Here are 4 questions on Passion and Emotion :
1. Why do you do what you do?
2. What cause / injustice makes your heart / stomach ache?
3. How can you use your gifts / skills to make a positive difference in the world?
4. What brings your heart the greatest joy?
c. Refinement and Feedback :
It is crucial to remember that you are not alone in your creativity. Sometimes I think I have to do a project all by myself, though when I open to the input and feedback of friends, I often have huge breakthroughs and realize the process is easier than I initially foresaw.
Trust the Process : It is important to let your project evolve organically. Let yourself be fairly flexible with the outcome, and trust that there is a larger creative spirit weaving through you. To co-create with this larger, mysterious force is a miraculous process. Many times I receive a vision that sparks a project, and, in addition to mapping it out, I leave space for it to evolve as I receive feedback from friends, family, spirit guides, etc.
Refinement : Remember how Michelangelo explained that the statue already exists within the piece of marble, and that you must simply chisel away the excess? This touches on the Superpower of Refinement. It is a process of honing your craft / project until it reaches a state that truly reflects your best efforts and greatest potential. With this in mind, it’s also important to be wary of perfectionism, where you never finish a project because you are too concerned with reaching an unreachable ideal.
Refinement requires 3 main ingredients :
1. Humility : The recognition that your first attempt at anything is not usually your best, and that you must practice over and over again to cultivate a masterpiece in whatever area you focus on. We all make errors, and we all have blind spots, so it’s crucial to cultivate a healthy foundation of humility.
2. Openness : You must also be humble enough to receive feedback from others and tweak your project if the outside opinion resonates with you. Friends, family, and mentors can help you see your creation from a new perspective, and potentially illuminate some of your Blind Spots.
3. Strong Internal Compass : Tying in with the first two, you must also hold strong to your core values and inner truth. You will certainly come up against naysayers who nag at you to do it their way, or they tell you “It can’t be done.” The key is to have a strong connection with what you know to be true, so that you can’t get shaken by all the doubters.
3 Questions on Refinement and Feedback :
1. In the past, how have you responded to Feedback from others?
2. How has Feedback benefitted your creative process and how has it been a detriment?
3. What are some of your Blind Spots when it comes to Creativity? Trick question! You can’t see them! Haha, just kidding, but truly we often cannot see some important aspects of our project, which is why feedback is so beneficial.
a. Sweet Success!
b. The Power of Reflection
c. Sharing With The World
Finally finishing a project that you’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into is a glorious feeling. Just like the gestation process of a human child takes 9 months, the Creative Process always takes time, and is usually full of ups and downs, smiles and frowns. In 2013, I witnessed two close friends in California hold their newborn son in the hospital. It was truly a miracle to be in the presence of this birth process. This newborn being was the result of immense love coming from both parents. I believe our Creative Projects are quite similar. To be able to stand back and say, “Wow, look what I co-created with the Universe!” is one of the greatest parts of being alive.
I spent all of October 2014 running a Crowdfunding Campaign for the “New Eyes Tour.” The goal was to raise $5000 to produce a high-quality Flowetry album and then tour the West Coast performing Flowetry at events with a focus on inspiring young people. After the campaign was over, this is what I posted on October 25th, 2014 @ 8:37pm :
In my opinion, a Failure or a Success is always a matter of perception. I believe that every option on the spectrum from F- to A+ contains a unique set of lessons, and blurs the line between failure and success.
I did not reach my initial goal in dollars for the New Eyes Tour Campaign. Does this mean it was a failure? From some perspectives, it does. If we look from a different angle, then we may see Borat with his thumb up, saying "GREAT SUCCESS!"
Here is my Recipe for Success :
1. Give it your best effort.
2. Enjoy each part of the process, even the minute details.
3. Ask for support - The tribe is always stronger together.
4. Keep a sense of humor.
5. Have a clear sense of WHY you do what you do.
6. Don't get too attached to the outcomes.
7. Trust that the outcome is exactly what you need.
... I did my best to embody these principles throughout the Campaign and plan to keep it up. I am deeply grateful to all of you who added your love, support, and resources towards this co-creative project.
3 Questions on Success
1. When have you achieved the feeling of success?
2. What have you learned from situations that felt like failures?
3. How can you integrate the “Recipe for Success” into your projects?
The Power of Reflection
The process of “Reflection” is highly beneficial so that you can look back on your Creative Process and see what worked well, and what didn’t work so well. Haha, when I think of reflection, I imagine Simba in the Lion King staring into the lake and seeing the image of his father Mufasa’s deep voice saying, “Simba… Remember who you are!” Perhaps by deeply reflecting on your Creative Process, you can also remember who you are and your purpose on this planet. With that said, here are some good questions to get you started on Reflecting :
1. What did you enjoy most about the Preparation Phase?
2. What part of the Preparation Phase was most challenging?
3. What part of the Preparation Phase will you change for your next project?
4. How did the V.A.S.T. Model serve you during your project?
5. Did you keep up with your Strategy and/or Timeline?
6. Did your Vision manifest how you initially envisioned it?
7. Were you able to make consistent progress by creating a Creative Ritual?
8. How will you change your Ritual / Container for your next project?
9. How was your Support System helpful in overcoming challenges?
10. What were the biggest obstacles that you persevered through, and how did you do it?
11. What refinements did you make to your project, and how did that benefit the final outcome?
12. What outer Feedback did you receive and how did that affect your project?
13. What were 3 “magic moments” you remember from any point during your Creative Process?
14. What are the big 3 “Take Home Lessons” you learned, which you can apply to your next endeavor?
Sharing with the World
Now the time has come to share your project. I invite you to step out of shyness and embrace the honor of showing others what you’ve created. It may be intimidating to put your precious creation out there, but I feel that this is our duty as artists! We have truly co-created with the entire web of life, so it is only in the illusion of separation that we should hide our creations from the world.
The Keys to Creativity can be applied to a vast variety of Projects from designing a magazine, to planning a Yoga Retreat to building a sculpture for Burning Man. Here are a few questions to ask about Sharing with the World:
1. Where are some events, venues, or places you can share your Creative Project in person?
2. Where are some Online Resources that you can use to share your Creative Project?
3. Who are the best people to connect with who can assist you in accomplishing #1 and #2?
4. Do you feel called to Sell / Trade / and/or Gift your Project? What Energy Exchange feels most authentic to you?
SUMMARY OF THE KEYS TO CREATIVITY
Wow! What a magical process this is! I am proud of myself for persevering through years of trial and error & ups and downs to reach these understandings of Creativity. I am grateful for all the support and guidance I’ve received, and I’m excited to be able to share all that I’ve learned with you!
To bring it all together, here is a lil spontaneous Flowetry :
Yo, the first key is to understand “What is Creativity?”
So you can co-create with creation, and express your divinity.
Next you gotta liberate that Genius that’s been trapped in a Bottle,
So you can sing, dance, play - and move full throttle.
Receive the Encouragement of your mentors and peers,
Give Pep Talks to yourself to break through your fears.
Cultivate a good Environment, both Inner and the Outer,
This will keep you strong to overcome all the Doubters.
Cuz the Doubt dissolves, when you flow with the Tao,
All you gotta do is Be Here Now, and Allow :)
Get your third eye movin’, and stretch your Imagination,
With curiosity ablaze, it’s time for Experimentation.
And whaddya know, we are done with the phase of Preparation.
Now we begin to Dream and Design.
So Heartstorm and Brainstorm to get your Vision aligned.
Next you Assess how to make that Vision a Reality.
Break it down, yo! That’s the way of Practicality.
Last you set everything up on a Di-vine Timeline.
Boy oh Boy, aren’t you happy it’s Rhyme-Time?
Got the Lights and Camera set, but you’re feeling dissatisfaction,
Oh snap, yo! It’s time for Creative Action!
Light your candles, call your angels, and set a strong Intention,
Create a great Container to grow your Invention.
To make progress on your project, I recommend a Ritual,
Then, “Getting in the Zone,” will be easy and habitual.
Making smooth progress, give yourself a pat on the back,
Soon you’ll be at the finish line, way ahead of the pack.
So, find some friends and mentors to be your System of Support,
And Persevere past the Doubters, like Michael Jordan on the court.
Refine the rough edges and be open to Feedback.
Don’t do it all yourself, a “Helping Hand” - you Need that :)
Wow, you made it through the trials and tribulations.
With The Keys to Creativity guiding you through the navigations.
Now you get to taste “Sweet Success”
The big question is “Did you do your best?”
Did you infuse your Art with joy and zest?
Where can you display your art - maybe a fest?
Now, before you move off in a new direction,
Be still like Simba, it’s time for quiet Reflection.
Did you bring your Vision from high in the sky,
So that now you can share it on the ground?
What moments were the most profound?
And what will you change next time around?
Anywho, I say Scoobally Doo,
Big Thanks to You for being You!
That you-nique lens
Which the You-niverse see’s through!
Now, I ask that you share the Keys to Creativity
So more beings can Co-Create from now into Infinity!
((( <3 )))
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