Creative Pathfinder – Learnings, Weeks 5 – 8

Posted on | November 2, 2010

Four more weeks of The Creative Pathfinder Course full of valuable lessons on nurturing our creative talents and successfully bringing them forth into the world. See this post for context and week 1-4 lessons.

Note: As my study and practice of meditation and consciousness continues (see my last post, or previous posts on meditation), I see more and more overlap between the wisdom of those life elements and healthy, successful creative work.

Lesson 5
Topic = Information Processing

Insights

  • Through our senses and our consciousness, and subconscious, we are sponges, continuously taking in information (etymology: knowledge communicated.) And in order to utilize all that info, we must process it. Learning, and practicing effective processing methods has a profound effect on our creative output.

This is how I’m seeing the flow of energy:

Experience->Process->Produce->Share

  • Reframing: This is such a key, not just for opening up creative possibilities, but also a critical skill for enjoying life. A truly important lesson: how we interpret and what we do with our experiences is always Our Choice. This is a gift – Use It!!! And, as with any other skill, the more we practice it, the better we get and the more natural it becomes.

The more you do this, the more you will realise how much human beings make themselves happy, sad, anxious, or plain miserable over their interpretation of events, rather than the events themselves.

-Mark McGuinness

And, as one of my favorite wisdom teachers says:

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.

-Wayne Dyer

  • Mind Mapping: This is fun stuff. It’s great to get away from just black and white, left to right, and heavy reliance on words. Letting ideas flow freely and arranging them organically and colorfully is liberating and definitely helps us see things in new ways.

As you draw the mind map, you will start to see relationships and patterns emerge as if by themselves, which will help you order the material later on.

-Mark McGuinness

  • Insight: means “sight with the eyes of the mind”; internal sight; inner knowing. I like the recognition that we can cultivate this gift through our actions. It’s not about just waiting to be struck with knowing, as with all growth it comes through continued effort.

This is how I’m seeing the Insight Flow

Learn->Practice->Pause->Insight!->Use It:

As I was writing about this lesson, this guidance (from an Insightful teacher! – see my last post on the SAND conference) synchronistically came to me:

Often our best ideas come, not when we are struggling to solve the problem, but when we are doing something completely different. When the mind is free and relaxed. So if you are struggling with something right now, take five minutes off. Give yourself a break. Do something completely different.

-Peter Russell

  • Creative Flow: Again, being present and mindful, we begin to discover what choices and actions make our creative energy flow and what tangles it up. And also, knowing our true passions, our Big Dreams, and dedicating a majority of our time and energy to those pursuits, naturally feeds the flow. When we are in that flowing river, we are part of the cosmic rhythm, without separation, moving beyond space and time.

Actions

  • The suggestion to observe those around us as they frame reality is a great one. Because, it is frequently easier to learn by observing externally. That practice, along with our personal practice of consciousness development, helps us see the self-limiting frames we all use, and to reframe. So, I will be paying closer attention to others and my self. As I observe negative/unproductive/self-limiting frames, I will run through the list of positive/productive/expansive options and shifting frames. And, in the creative realm, I’ll be giving more thought to the lenses (frames) that inspirational artists are using, and looking at my work (the tools/techniques/mediums/subjects/etc) through a variety of new lenses.
  • I am in the midst of my first mind map, and a broadly encompassing one at that. Having fun with it and will write about when done. I plan to utilize this technique for other life and creative reviews/planning sessions.
  • As I am more regularly in the moment (through meditation and consciousness development), I am more able to fully apply myself to the work, sense when it is time to take a break and shift focus, open to the insights that arise, and committed to using them constructively.
  • I am consciously giving more of my time and energy to my passions and minimizing distractions to the flow.

Lesson 6
Topic = Free Flowing Creative Energy

Insights

  • Everyone experiences creative blocks, they do pass, and there are tricks to help them pass more quickly? That’s comforting!
  • There are many, many reasons we resist doing good work. If we are really in the moment, we can recognize our inner dialogue and reframe it!
  • Self discipline is critical, too. I like the suggestion to commit to staying present, with your materials, and bringing your focus back to the work.

Remembering why you are doing it and why it is worth the effort are great motivators as is envisioning the future we are creating.

  • Sharing the experience of blocked creativity with trusted friends/family/colleagues/teachers often brings support and understanding which can actually loosen the block.
  • The suggestion of making a list of past successes and continuously adding to it is great! We don’t tend to take much time to reflect on all that we have accomplished in life.
  • Sometimes we just need to take a break, to shift focus. The more we know our true self, the more we’ll know when that’s what’s called for. And, just like developing an understanding of what keeps your creative energy flowing, we need to learn the best ways (for us) to rest and rejuvenate.

Just as others can inspire us to good work, we can inspire ourselves.

Actions

  • I need to get going on that List of Past Successes.
  • Read more of Mark’s ‘creative blocks’ series when I’m experiencing my own block, and learn from how others move through them.

Lesson 7
Topic = Maximum Creativity and Productivity

Insights

  • What is my top priority, in terms of productivity? To “carve out more time for creative work.” What are the benefits of doing that? More will be created/produced. I will feel a regular sense of accomplishment. It will build my confidence. I can move on to new projects/elements. My skills will grow. I will be happier.
  • What is my weakest link right now? Routines. I have a good daily schedule, I just need to be more committed to, and disciplined in, following it.
  • I’m doing quite well with the systems I have in place to capture ideas and commitments – yay for that!

Actions

  • Read ‘Time Management for Creative People’
  • Beyond following the general daily schedule, beginning each day by creating a short list of action items will help me focus in on my top priorities, and have a sense of accomplishment as they are crossed off. I do this but don’t start fresh every day – that’s going to feel really good, I think.
  • Get out and meet new people.  Dialoguing/sharing with people and experiencing their productions is inspiring, and inspiration feeds creativity and productivity.

Lesson 8
Topic = Career Goals/Life Vision

Insights

  • I have always seen myself, Big Picture, Big Dream, as a creative entrepreneur. I have plenty of ideas and inspirations, the challenge has been deeply assessing them, prioritizing, making a do-able action plan, and Doing The Work, staying focused, confident, and committed. The good news is that I am currently meeting all of those challenges, with consciousness, openness, and as much grace as I can summon. I am a “creative entrepreneur in training.”
  • Doing work for other people, as an employee or consultant, can be in harmony with working on my personal creative projects. I have successfully balanced the two and this is actually the healthiest approach for me now. The stability and structure, challenges and collaboration of outside work can be both supportive and inspiring to my personal work.

Actions

  • The trick is doing great work that is interesting and really brings forth your true talents and gifts. I am learning that trick!

My favorite takeaway from this series:
Happiness + Contribution = Success
-Ask yourself ‘What work do I love doing the most?’ and ‘Where do I contribute the most value?’
-Focus your efforts on the overlap between the two.

Thanks again, Mark!

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