Saturday, January 26, 2013

How to Crush Your Creativity: Say "I Know."

This is an especially powerful way to crush creativity. When I KNOW, I can't learn.

In one of its most devastating forms, I KNOW equals prejudice and bigotry. If I KNOW that someone of a particular religion, sex, gender, race, age, or any other category is a certain way, or age, I prevent the ability to see anything unique and individual about that person. I can't find points of identification and communication. I lose any opportunity for a relationship with him or her.

KNOWING closes doors on opportunity, possibility, and creativity, not only in terms of the big areas of prejudice but in more immediate ways.

If you know your kid isn't going to clean her room no matter what you do, you walk into the designated health hazard day and in your mind begin to compose the dialogue for the same fight you've had for months (worst case scenario: years). You expect difficulty and resistance, and your child fulfills all your expectations because you KNOW she will.

KNOWING not only shuts the door on relationship growth with family members and friends, it can prevent you from expressing creativity in your preferred artistic pursuit, whether it's a career or not.

This happened to me all the time when I was learning to paint. I wasn't happy if I didn't achieve a near-photographic representation of whatever I was painting. That's how I KNEW it had to be.

At the same time, I wanted to be more imaginative, abstract, and exciting with my painting, but that meant taking risks. My message to myself was, " I'm afraid to change. The unknown frightens me. I have to stay with what I know."

When I Don't Listen to Myself

When I make the decision to stay safe by KNOWING, I don't listen to myself.

Our intuition and inner wisdom is always giving us new possibilities for thoughts and action. It might say, "Use that color," "Try treating your child like a human being who's interested in sanitation?" The protective self says, "Scary, unknown, dangerous, no."

To live creatively, though, we need to step off the familiar track. Creating is making something new, and sometimes that involves risks.

To do something new, you can't say "I know." Remember that "I know" equals "No." Solution

Start by noticing how often you say or think either "I know" or "No." Then do something small, a minor deviation in your routine. Listen to your intuition and do at least one thing it suggests.

Keep a record of your yes votes, and see if your life gets more interesting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Martin Luther King Day

Probably one of the most inspiring speeches given in the past several decades is the "I have a dream" speech.

In my continuing musings about goals, plans, resolutions, and intentions, it occurs to me that dreams make the top of the list.

Nothing is more inspiring than a dream that pulls you toward it, leaving all your resistance, fear, and petty concerns behind.

Have a dream today—and every day.

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Year's Intentions

This year I realized that the words "resolution" and "goals" didn't excite me. I wanted a word that had movement and energy, so I chose "intentions."

I also wanted a theme. I could have laboriously worked one out. Fortunately, my writer's group, Artistic License, has a member, Marilyn, who's a tarot expert. We've been critiquing the book, and the process (plus her brilliant and lucid explanations) drew me into a deep interest in tarot.

I decided to choose a tarot card that could be a key phrase for the year.

Here's my card.

Ace of Wands: I am inspired.

This felt totally right. Thus, my overall goal is to increasingly act out of inspiration. In making choices, I will ask myself, "What inspires me?"

This will guide my writing choices, promotional and networking choices, and, most of all, life choices.

I intend to publish a book of advice for cats, for which I am the lowly conduit. The book is currently entitled Cats in Charge: A Guide to World Domination I am targeting April or May for publication and have compiled a list of bloggers/web sites whose owners review books about cats.

In August or September I will publish Book 4 of A Dragon's Guide to Destiny, Book of Sorrows.

I will continue to work on a novel called Dystopia in Drag, intending a 2014 publication.

I thought the dragon series was over, but to my surprise, I got ideas for a fifth book. This one will be called (I think) The Rainbow Dragon.

As far as life choices, I realized that conscious intentions led to mindfulness, which leads to being in the moment. I couldn't ask for a better guidance system for this year.

A fellow member of Artistic License, June Diehl, has also posted her intentions and tarot card selections. It's a terrific post, and you can read it here..

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Worlds to Gain

As I noted in a previous entry, I'm beginning to set goals for the new year. Before formally doing so, I take time to imagine what I want. One thing I know is that an individual's life doesn't change until (s)he can imagine a different way of living.

In thinking about the future, I realized I could learn from my fictional characters. In the series, A Dragon's Guide to Destiny, each main character is challenged to imagine a world very different from the one they know.

Melancholy Druid knows he's the Dragon of Destiny, but he is sure he'll fail to accomplish his purpose, in part because all humans have it in for him. Learning to trust a few humans and his own abilities will move him closer to his goal, but can he take that risk?

Tara, the Chosen Kitten, harbors a similar mistrust of humans. She also fears giant dragons. Can she imagine a world in which large and small, human and feline, can join forces?

Human Serazina has unlawful psychic gifts that could lead to her incarceration in the World for the Chronically Crazy (and that would be only the first of coming attractions). Although she must exercise those gifts for her world to be saved, she will have to risk her life to do so.

Phileas, Guardian of Oasis, lives in the tightest mental straightjacket of all, imprisoned by a rigid tradition of mental superiority that suppresses his emotional intelligence. Though he realizes that these limitations are jeopardizing the people he's sworn to guide, he fears that a world in which emotions are fully expressed will be one of chaos.

Like Druid, I often doubt my ability to succeed. I also, like Tara, sometimes question the willingness of others to cooperate in the fulfillment of my dreams. In earlier years, I felt that my gifts and talents were unrecognized by society, and I regularly check to see if this belief is resurfacing. Likewise, I know it takes commitment to keep the creativity flowing.

Each of us may have different limitations in our ability to imagine a different world, but if we want our lives to accommodate our deepest desires and dreams, we need to imagine worlds that our new selves can happily inhabit.

I used to live in a world where my novels lived only in my computer. Before that situation could change, I needed to imagine a world in which they were published, read, reviewed, etc. Without these mental architectural drawings, I had no way to begin.

Now I'm thinking it's time for me to make the stakes as high for myself as I do for my suffering fictional friends. That's going to call for a lot of imagination.

And some inspiration. If you're considering setting some high-stakes goals, you may benefit listening to the music that helped me write this blog.

Both are by John Lennon

Mind Games


Happy New Year!