Thursday, May 29, 2014

Living Creatively

Living creatively does not merely apply to the arts, but to an attitude about what is possible. We cannot calculate the creativity of an individual who paints, dances, or plays music. It is possible to do all these things by rote, without any creativity at all. Instead, we turn our gaze inward, back toward our own self, toward our thinking mind so that we might engage our creative self to imagine new ways in which to approach life.

Take, for example, stress. Often times stress is exacerbated by a continuous internal dialogue, forever parenting the mind. "Don't forget to do this," "You better do that," and "You need to do this, too." Just reading the words are enough to make a healthy person feel ill.

How does one correct or silence this perpetual know-it-all? Simple, give it what it wants. Keep a notepad with you, or utilize your Smartphone in one of the many ways it was designed: to store information. When your "know-it-all" brain starts telling you what to do:
  1. Assess the importance of the information
  2. If the information is important, make a voice memo or write it down. 
  3. Assign a due date to the activity. 
This simple act soothes the anxious brain. Meeting anxiety with organization and confidence tells the brain that everything will be "okay" ~ that there is nothing to worry about. This frees the mind to think about more pleasant things like painting, dancing, or playing music. It also allows the mind that does not wish to engage in aesthetic pursuits the freedom to be creative in how it manages its life. 

Meeting tasks with enthusiasm and good cheer is enough to help us feel creative, to quiet that part of our brain that needs to know that it has been heard and understood. Soothing the savage brain softens our internal voice, resulting in a more natural rhythm with appropriate tonality and relaxed understanding. 

The brain can then project or speak to the mind quietly when needed, serving as a companion and faithful servant to help us remember the important tasks we assign ourselves in order to manage our daily lives without impediment. 

Just as with communicating with others, internal dialogue requires a balance between speaking to oneself and listening to oneself. Writing down necessary tasks, making voice memos, or even performing the action the moment our brain thinks of doing it, tells our brain that we take its advice seriously, that we are grateful for the reminder, and that we appreciate the "heads up." 

Since there is a natural rhythm to our internal dialogue, there is a sense of timing and grace in one's thoughts, activities and movements. When thoughts flow through us with relative ease, without the jerky motions associated with the internal condemnation that follows avoidance and procrastination, we feel happier, relaxed, and confident in our ability to manage our daily life. 

Quieting the constant mental barrage our brains can pour out at us, blow after blow, lightens our mental load and allows us to use our brain as it is intended: to vary, change, rise and fall, go up and down, shift, swing, regulate, modify, alter, reshape, transform, and tweak our thoughts to enjoy each experience with a relaxed sense of freedom and creativity. We are creatures of habit, if we can master our mental experience, we can participate anew in each experience of living. 

The hallmark of true creativity is freedom of mind. 

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