Follow Your Creative Path

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Living your life creatively is developing a conscious way of being, which engages you with life, causing your experience to flourish and expand to benefit and inspire those around you. However, many individuals have trained themselves away from their connection to their passions, through their experiences, beliefs and expectations. In his wry observation, Robert Frost pointed out that “The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get to the office”. This rings true for many, who accept the belief that life is a journey of resignation towards a shrinking ‘comfort zone’ which increasingly grows in discomfort as time passes them by. It is your choice to allow life to happen to you, or to allow yourself to happen to life. Awareness of the Creative Process sheds light on the ways in which you can determine and align with your purpose in life and follow your path as a labour of love.

The Creative Process enables you, to follow your creative path; the journey from identifying and building upon the initial spark of inspiration, to bringing your ideas and desires forth into physical realisation. Like any process, it requires work on your part, to consciously seek resonance between your inner desires and your outer experiences. The aim of this process is to move towards clarity and focus in determining what you want from life and the ways in which you can achieve your desires.

This process can be viewed in three main stages: Contemplation, Ideation and Actualisation. This is not necessarily a linear process. Each stage carries a particular objective so you navigate the process by intuitively moving in, out and between each stage according to the objective you need to focus on, as you form and shape your creative idea into reality. According to Michelangelo, who knew a thing or two about the creative process, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and the task of the sculptor is to discover it”. With this in mind, it is beneficial to begin your creative journey with the imagination that your idea is already manifested in its fully realised form and your work is to seek and craft it from its raw state.

Contemplation

The foundation for the Creative Process is the discipline of Contemplation. This is necessary whether you already have an idea, or whether you are searching for inspiration. The objective of contemplation is to still the mind, in order to prepare it for focus and clarity. There are many ways in which this can be done and it is important to find the methods which suit you best. Some people opt for meditation or breathing exercises, while others find their inner peace through interaction with the outdoors, by going for a walk or a run. Whatever you choose, make it a daily habit, setting time aside to simply be.

The aim is to stop the internal chatter and tune into the voice within, which we all possess and could benefit from listening to a great deal more. In continuing this practice, you will become more aware of your point of observation on a myriad of subjects. The discipline of stilling the mind exercises your innate ability to observe the world for yourself by focusing on the present moment. In this practice, you will find less effort in turning the volume down on the outer voices which disconnect you from your inner sense of alignment. Focusing less on the news media perspective of the world – which seems relentlessly set on creating a collective mindset of fear and dissonance – is, in my humble opinion, a jolly good start!

Ideation

The Ideation stage is where you actively conceive and generate ideas by exploring possibilities, in your everyday interactions and experiences. Softly focus your energy on the observation of the present moment, suspending all judgement. When your judgement arises to distract you from the present moment, actively question your beliefs and assumptions which perpetuate that judgement. Shake up your perspectives by taking different routes to familiar places, and seek opportunities to immerse yourself in the new and unfamiliar. Take a notebook and jot down your observations, no matter how small or insignificant they appear, and you will eventually see patterns and themes emerging.

Allow your inner child to play!

The objective here is to experiment in finding the subjects which interest you and why. Determining the reasons which underlie your unique angle of the world and how you experience it focuses you toward your creative motivations, both in terms of your personal talents and the means by which you chose to express and share them. It is also of great benefit to start talking about your emerging ideas to others around you. Start with your reflection in the mirror, then perhaps share your ideas with your cat (or your neighbour’s cat), and eventually with others who can answer back in your native tongue. The primary aim of this is a progression of the ideation stage towards actualisation, for in verbalising your ideas; you give life to them, representing the transition from intangible to tangible. Deal with any feedback you receive in the spirit of broadening your understanding of your chosen path, as opposed to primarily seeking approval for the validity of your ideas – because ultimately, no one can determine that, but you.

Actualisation

The Actualisation stage proves to be the hardest part for most people, as it requires commitment and responsibility for the potential success or failure of an idea. There is a saying which goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. The act of planning seems counterintuitive to the concept of creativity, but it is an essential part of bridging the gap between an idea and concrete reality. It is useful to put your ‘Creative Plan’ in writing; defining your idea, who it will appeal to, how and where you will execute it and what you will need for it to be actualised.

It is also essential to commit your creative plan to timelines, and like a business plan, it should be viewed as a ‘living document’, providing an accurate snapshot of where you presently stand in relation to actualising your idea. Putting your plan in writing helps to highlight any finer details you need to focus on, in relation to the resources which are present or required, such as developing personal skills, attaining specific information, securing finance or identifying the types of people you want to work with, to bring your creation to life.

Enjoy your journey

Fear, if allowed can smother creative ideas into stillbirth at any stage of the Creative Process. The biggest fear which has the ability to hamper creative progress is the possibility of failure, but a life unfulfilled is a far more frightening prospect. In consciously taking a path which inspires you, you are more likely to persevere through the false turns, dead ends and brick walls, in a spirit of optimism and fun. So take a deep breath, take one step, followed by another, and regardless of the ultimate outcome, you will most certainly find yourself in an expanded place from where you began, which inevitably leads to more.

Related article: I Want More! http://creatrix.me/musings/inner-space/i-want-more/

Comments

  1. by Arlette On January 20, 2012 at 18:49

    Love this article. It all rings so true and is so well written.
    The only thing that holds any individual back is themselves. Being open to opportunties certainly can create endless opportunties and will lead us on our path, if we skew off, we tend to end back on the right path at some stage.

    Someone in New Zealand said to me ‘ keep the heart open, follow your heart’, the rest will fall in to place.

  2. by Jennifer On January 28, 2012 at 14:09

    Really inspiring Denise and so practical! It is great to read an article like this and feel that you can get started right away. I can’t wait until the book comes out!!

  3. by kuligs2 On April 29, 2012 at 15:05

    i see what you are trying to say, trust me i have done this and much more, this article helps one that hasnt tried much. i would put it this way – i lost, what i have never found, meaning i cant seem to find my purpose in life, yes i enjoy being here and now but i feel that this isnt it. something has been missing from my life, and to find it i just realised i must endeavor myself on a quest/adventure to seek what has been lost for me… man, just writing my thoughts here makes more sense than just thinking in my head.

  4. by Denise Prentice On April 29, 2012 at 16:01

    It is difficult when you have that constant feeling of being stuck or overwhelmed. Transformation can sometimes be an uncomfortable process but it sounds as if you have accepted that you have to push through it. Go easy on yourself in the meantime…

    Have you heard of The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell? It talks about the ‘quest’ you have recognised as the main narrative structure of literature but also has resonance for development through life. It may be of small comfort to you right now, but fascinating all the same. http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/herosjourney/

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