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11 months ago · · 0 comments

Saying Yes to Creativity

love is a place

by e.e. cummings

love is a place
& through this place of love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of yes live
(skillfully curled)
all worlds

(from Poetry Speaks)

Creativity demands of us a big “yes,” and responds poorly to our more automatic sense of “no.”

Neuroscientists may tell us that our brains have a built-in negativity bias. Evolution, it seems, favors the protective “no” that seeks to protect us from novelty, novelty which might imperil our chances for survival. You can see why Swiss psychiatrist, and student of Freud’s, Carl Jung, spoke of the creative life, of truly becoming an original individual, as the “opus contra naturam” (literally, a “work against nature,” going upstream into “yes”).

To stay open to all possibilities, “all worlds,” may take some discipline. Though perhaps it’s a disciplined “indiscipline” that creativity requires. “Going east on a westbound train,” as a good friend puts it.

What might that look like?

For starters: it is about moving toward life, rather than against, or away from, it. Every, single day. It is to risk making mistakes, then self-correcting, rather than avoiding error. Every, single day.

You can begin to see how shame, or fear of being flawed or defective, can cripple this living creatively.

Enter love. Or self-compassion.

May I learn, through daily practice, how to love the perfectly imperfect being I am — here, perfect in the ancient Greek sense of “whole” or “complete,” that is, both accomplished and a neophyte (always).

Children naturally get this kind of confidence-amidst-temporary-mistakes — Zen’s “beginner’s mind” — that is, until it gets teased or otherwise criticized out of them. The trees swaying outside my window  this morning also get it. The most powerful Santa Ana winds of the year may bend, but not (usually) break, these magnificent eucalypti.

So, for today, may I bend, though not break; risk, thus not shirk; lean into, hence not away from, “all places.” May this be, not a day of fear’s no, but rather, of love’s yes…

Here’s to our living this wintry day “curled” up in creativity’s warming glow.

Categories: Addiction, Calm, Creativity, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Healing, Life tips, Meditation, Mindfulness, Nature, Philosophy, Recovery, Self-Compassion, Shame, Spirituality

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