creativity

You Were Born a Creative Genius

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I recently read a mind blowing article about Dr George Land who had been contracted by NASA to develop a specialized test to measure the creative potential of the agency’s rocket scientists and engineers. Proving quite effective the test left researchers wondering where creativity comes from and whether some people were just born with it or if it could be learned.

They decided to administer the very simple test, that determines a person’s ability to come up with new different and innovation ideas to a problem, to sixteen hundred children between the ages of four or five. The results showed that 98% of the children registered in the genius category for imagination. Astounded by this they continued the study looking at the same children at the age of 10 when 30% ranked in the genius category and again at age 15 when it had dropped to 12%. In looking at adults they found only 2% made genius.

Their results alerted other researchers to the disturbing awareness that our school system robs us of our creative genius. Looking at how the brain works they found two different forms of thinking that use different parts of the brain. One called divergent thinking, where imagination comes from, is used to generate new ideas and possibilities. The other, convergent involves judgement, decision making, criticizing and evaluation.

Land says our school systems teaches us to do both kind of thinking at the same time. When you come up with a new idea you immediately launch into all the ways it won’t work. This acts like driving a car with one foot on the gas pedal and one on the brakes. The neurons in the different parts of your brain start fighting with each other which diminishes your capacity. When you use creative thinking without evaluating at the same time more of your brain lights up and we expand your genius.

In my own experience with writing and then teaching creative writing I always knew the importance of separating the creative process from the critical process. You first have to let the words flow out without thinking they comes back later in editing mode. Until reading about Land’s findings I hadn’t thought a lot about how important it was to apply the separation of the creative from the critical to every area of our lives.

It’s not too late. Dr Land also found that we all have the ability to reclaim our creative juice if we chose. He suggests a simple practice to begin reclaiming your creative imagination at the heart of your genius. Consider your basic table fork and come up with twenty five ways to improve it. 

Or you could do this with any problem you are trying to solve. Don’t force this process. Just let your imagination run with the issue. Writing down any solutions that pop into your mind especially when your critical thinking mind is busy with other task like driving a car, going for a walk, taking a shower or washing the dishes. This allows possibilities to arise that you might not have considered.

Now that you have this awareness catch yourself when you immediately want to jump on an idea with all the reasons it won’t work. Rather be curious and allow more ideas and inspiration to flow in around all the ways it could work and feel your creative genius grow.


EFT for Creativity

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. - Joseph Chilton Pierce

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I recently did creativity coaching work with a visual artist, a painter working with pastels, who was feeling blocked and uninspired. She had signed up for a four week coaching block. After our first conversation I had the sense that there was an emotional/energetic element to the block so I suggested we supplement the coaching work with an EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques or aka Tapping) session to shift whatever she was holding in her energy field that was keeping her from moving forward with her creativity.

Using deep intuitive listening I was able to help her hone in on the root of the problem. By the end of the four weeks she had switched to working with oils and has been happily creating again ever since. We were both delighted with the results and I was reminded of how powerful EFT can be in freeing us to be more creative and expansive in every area of our lives.

Creativity is a high energy state that gives you access to new ways of a looking at a problem and finding solutions. Everyone has creative abilities. They are not limited just to the arts. The ability to solve problems creatively can help you in every area of your life. And creativity is not the domain of just a few gifted individuals. Everyone is born with the same capacity to be creative. It just needs to be cultivated and encouraged. Our creative self is a tender, vulnerable aspect of ourselves associated with the spirit of play and our inner child, who can be easily traumatized. Most of us were not encouraged to develop this part of ourselves and many of us were actively discouraged with creativity being considered frivolous and the domain of the starving artist.

EFT can help in releasing blocks and limiting beliefs that get in the way to accessing our creative potential and the joy it can bring to our life. It works by tapping on the major acupuncture meridians while focusing on the problem to release the energy of negative emotions and traumas held in our energy body that keep us stuck in self limiting patterns. Once the energy is release the problem is resolved permanently. It can be effective on a wide array of issues including health, relationships, phobias, prosperity and, of course, our creativity.

Creativity is Essential to Your Well Being

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Creative expression is an essential part of who we are as spirit and soul, and as important to our well being as eating healthy food and getting enough exercise, sleep and sunlight. When we experience creative flow the energy of the universe moves through us, which is why it feels so good. It opens us to new possibilities and awareness which can help us in every area of our lives and in these uncertain times.

The good news is that we are already more creative than we think. There are infinite ways we engage our creative self: teaching a class, planting a garden, creative problem solving at work or in parenting, decorating our home, cooking something new, writing a poem, singing in the shower, doing photography or taking a dance class. The list goes on. To more fully embrace our creativity it helps to understand exactly what creativity is and how it works.

Our rational, linear mind isn’t particularly creative. It can only take things that it already understands and move them around into a different configuration. When we have a brilliant idea or a profound solution to a problem or a flash of inspiration, it comes from beyond the mind. It comes out of our spirit, our heart, the essence of who we are.

People who are accomplished creatives all talk about being a vessel for something greater that flows through them as the source of their work. No matter how long I have worked with my own creativity, every time I tap the flow, there is always a “wow, where did that come from” feeling. Creative people who consistently produce notable work have somehow figured out how to get the mind out of the way and invite things to flow.

To benefit from being creative we do not have to be a great artist. We have only to look to children and the fun and joy they find in playing with imagination and creating something new. We all had that once. If we believe that we have lost it, it is never too late to get it back. In my coaching I’ve work with people, who are frustrated, exhausted, or overwhelmed by life, to begin embracing creativity in even small ways. It always helps. In my own life wherever I find myself in the doldrums even writing a quick draft of a poem lifts my spirit every time.

In being creative we increase our sense of aliveness and open to possibilities our minds never considered. Our mind fears uncertainty. We will always feel a bit uncomfortable trying something new yet we will feel inspired to take action. Even after all these years I feel resistant every time I sit down to create. I’ve learned not to let this stop me. We all can.

Start now. How can you make creativity part of taking care of yourself. Play with this. Be open to the possibilities. You will be glad you did.

Playing with the Imagination

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Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein

You must give birth to your images.
They are the future waiting to be born . . .
Fear not the strangeness you feel.
The future must enter you
long before it happens.
Just wait for the birth,
for the hour of new clarity

- Rainer Maria Rilke

I often say to my writing and creativity coaching clients that your imagination is smarter than you are; like intuition it gives you a deeper, faster, more expanded means of gaining critical insights and making important connections than the more limited workings of your linear, rational mind. Whether you want to write, engage your creativity more fully or develop an ability for creative problem solving, your imagination is an essential tool. To exercise your imagination try the age old favorite of looking for shapes in the clouds; or go sit outside on a bench to watch people go by and make up stories about their lives; or go to a park and lean against a tree and imagine what it would say to you if it could talk; or lay down on the earth and ask her what simple thing you could do to help the planet. Then be open to the ideas, images or thought that arise in your mind.

One exercise I like to work with is asking advice of an imaginary mentor. You think of a question and then write the answer yourself as if you are getting a response from someone you admire. You can ask Einstein, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson or your grandmother. A woman I worked with did this exercise and received what was clearly really good advice. Unaccustomed to using her imagination in this way she asked, "how do I know if I am actually channeling this person or if I'm making it up". It's a great question because when we use our imagination it will feel and seem like we are making it up. And that's exactly how the imagination works.

We have a hard time trusting the information and ideas we get because we live in a culture that dismisses the power of the imagination but saying, "oh, you're just making that up" or we tell our children "it's just your imagination". Imagination is a tool of human consciousness that is underdeveloped in the modern world. Yet the more you engage it and play with it the stronger the connection becomes and you will begin to feel the quiet excitement and joy that comes from expanding this ability, that will give you new ways to looking at problems and solving them.

You can even ask your imagination for suggestions on how best to cultivate it. Sit quietly for five minutes following the flow of your breath and calming your mind. Then be open to what your imagination has to say to you. Try writing without thinking for ten minutes as if you were taking dictation from your imagination. Or you could ask your imagination what it wants from you and then answer the question by writing or drawing or even spontaneous movement where you let the thoughts and feelings flow.

Imagination is one way we access our deeper mind. It is a place where you shed your everyday self, where sparks fly and time stands still. It requires a bit of solitude and idleness. It asks that you slow down and sit still with your mind clear and expectant. It asks that you be willing to play.