In the article ‘Dealing with Challenges’ I mention ‘Work’ as one of the main areas in life where we most likely find ourselves challenged at one time or another. For me my ideal job is where I find space to be creative, to express myself in a way that is unique and free from the pressure of satisfying the egoic demands and expectations of others.
That creative freedom is an essential need, in the sense that it means finding fulfilment in what I do and not for the results it may or may not bring. However, we may feel that our deeper creative needs are not being realised. So what to do?
There’s a quality of love and care that flows into any act, any action where the person is totally there, fully present with full attention.
Essential Creativity is not just about creating a beautiful painting or a majestic orchestral masterpiece. It’s a present moment thing and can be as simple as making a coffee for someone. I love watching a Barrista draw a heart on a cappuccino, or the way a ‘present’ waiter will place a plate of food on the table, or simply the smile of an awake receptionist who is checking me into a hotel.
There’s a quality of love and care that flows into any act, any action where the person is totally there, fully present with all her attention. It’s in the small things. If you can be creative in simple tasks then it is more likely that a deeper flow of creative energy will be realized. There’s a Zen saying connected with the Enlightenment Process that goes,
“Before enlightenment, Chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, Chopping wood and carrying water.”
I’d like to update it to, “Folding clothes and cooking dinner.” More fitting for the 21st century. Creativity starts in being present with the undertaking of the most simple tasks.
Have you ever observed when someone is rushing to get a task completed? It looses something. The care and attentiveness are not there and the act becomes mechanical, cold, often sloppy. There’s no taste in the food, no delight or surprise in the air, just the mundane and predictable result that got it done. Yawn! …
Ok, so sometimes some jobs just suck. Still they can be creative. Really!… Acceptance! (there’s that word again!) Sit down and at least give the task your attention with a relaxed and open demeanor. In this situation I will remind myself of the fact that “This too shall pass”, and lo and behold it does. Tadaaa!!! … The crappy job gets done and now I’m free again.
But wait! If I can be present doing a ‘relatively’ shitty task, give it my full attention and my personal best, then surely it follows that when it comes to a more creative and juicy task, that I am more capable of reaching the depths of my creative flow? Makes sense, or?
If I can be present doing even shitty tasks, then I am more capable to reach the depths of my creative flow.
So is creativity just about being present? In a sense yes. A creative flow can come like a quiet wind, an inspiration, a feeling, a quote, an idea, a moment where there is a stillness, a melody, a poem or just an idea of how something can be solved, improved, understood, realized.
You may have noticed these moments arriving when you’re relaxed and available. It can seem accidental,… just sinking into the bath, walking the dog, flopping onto the sofa at the end of the day, that moment of let go and boom! There it is. A beautiful moment of creative insight.
Be open to being here, take a breath and let the ideas flow.
With a daily practice of being open to this moment, of just holding the intention to be ‘here now’ you will notice an increase in the number of ideas that flow into your consciousness.
You will notice a subtle joy that comes from the simplest of tasks. A sense of satisfaction from just folding clothes and cooking dinner. A fullness in your belly, feeling of an expansion in your chest and a glow in your smile. Be open to being here, take a breath and let the ideas flow. Who knows what you might create.