This past week I experienced an early sampling of spring, with temperatures reaching seventy-five degrees in the Washington DC area, for several days in a row. And like Persephone, who emerged out of her cave and caused spring to erupt, spring began showing its radiant self, with her bursting blossoms and tiny leaves on trees. Predictably, nature’s energy from the sun was once again at work, enabling her creative process to begin.
When I first began this blog on creativity I described how, just like in nature, creativity requires energy. After I wrote my memoir Painting Life, I realized that my creative approach to life and art were the same and that creativity – in either form -- takes a lot of energy. But, creative energy looks different as it progresses. Eventually I was able to articulate the process and discern and define the five different aspects of creative energy.
I call these forms of creative energy the “5 C’s”, and they include: Curiosity, Courage, Consistency, Commitment and Completion. (If you would like a free white paper defining each of these, as well as the “5-I’s of the creative process, please go to the contact page on my website. http://bit.ly/2i6Zocl .)
Most creative acts or artifacts begin with curiosity and curiosity implies that we ask questions. Although often occurring in our subconscious, the questions we pose to ourselves require answers, and when we discover the answers to our self-posed questions, we are on the path to being creative. We can only imagine the abundance of questions Steve Jobs posed to himself before he designed the first computer, and then the questions this creative man continued to ask (of himself and others) throughout his lifetime.
Questions are a consistent and central component of all creatives’ process.
The caveat is, we want to be careful about how we formulate the questions, so we are sure they point us in a positive direction.
Forming questions is, in and of itself, an art-form. One key to this is our word choice. For example, questions that begin with “why” often lead to negative results, i.e. Why am I not a better artist? Why isn't my garden growing? Beginning with the word “why” can easily lead to a negative response such as: I guess I was born without a creative bone in my body. Or, I just don't have a green thumb.
Now, and this is very subtle differentiation, it is much better to ask questions beginning with words like how, what or who. So, if the issue driving our question is that we are not feeling great about our artistic endeavors, our questions need to sound more like: What will help me become a better artist? Who can I enlist for help? How can I best learn a form of artistic/creative expression that best expresses who I am?
Carefully worded questions imply optimism, and the possibility of positive answers and outcomes. A positive outcome means that the answers resonate with our hearts, spirits and souls.
In order to answer these self-posed questions, we can do a meditative search for the answers, or we can ask trusted people, or experts. When I feel stuck, I also believe in receiving guidance from any source that might be helpful -- even an astrologer. It was an astrologer who helped me decide on the best time to publish my book Painting Life.
(For an example of an astrological reading pertaining to our country, refer to Joshua Brady’s latest post on his FB page and see how it resonates with your spirit. http://bit.ly/2mD6bcZ)
As with anything when we ask for support, advice or critiques about our creative processes and products, it is helpful to remember that we can take or leave what has been presented to us. This means we have to develop a discerning ear and a mindful spirit. Then, when somebody gives us a message that resonates, we need to tap into our courage and incorporate their thoughts or advice.
I want to leave you with one other important thought to remember about creativity:
Creativity can be used for positive or negative purposes.
Spring brings forth radiant blossoms as well as the weeds that choke out the blossoms. Hopefully, we as creators, strive for positive outcomes -- those that are for the betterment of our lives and the well-being of others.
Exercise: Make a list of questions you have about your creative acts or artifacts.
I would love to hear from you about what you discover.