Another Path Towards Creativity

“We are who we think we are”

“There is no greater enemy in your life than your own thoughts”

These statements come from Buddhist Philosophy and I see them as some of the greatest truths.  Following this practice is very much to do with being aware of yourself, your thoughts and how they can be a good or a bad influence on your life.  The study and its practice teaches awareness, compassion and equanimity.

The statements are easily applicable to the need or search for Creativity. Having trouble with finding or being creative is rooted in, fear, distraction, lack of motivation, handicap of personal obligations and self-applied rules.  All these limitations and emotions are rooted in our own thoughts about ourselves and, therefore, how we live our lives.

You may not be inclined to explore further in this philosophy but I think the statements are indisputable.  Even if you look outside of yourself and find other reasons for your conclusions about your emotions and/or limitations, you still, at one time,  accepted those outside influences and made them part of your repertoire of thoughts, behavior and perception.

So, if you are convinced of the truth of these statements you have to accept your own self-imposed limitations and behaviors.  This is GOOD NEWS.  You know who is responsible and taking that responsibility is the first step to change!

Here are just a few suggestions:

Surround yourself in inspiration – a forest, a beach, a mountain, a garden, a religious service, a good book, a museum, study.   Find your place that positively feeds your senses.

Find and Feed your Passion. Read about it, visit centers, museums showing works of people who have succeeded in their passion. Examine, explore. Read biographies for inspiration.

Be around inspiring people.  If there is someone or maybe even more than one person who you find a drag or a negative influence to your life, reject and stay away from them.  If this does not seem possible to you, just realize their influence, personally reject it and plan for a future where you know you will not be influenced by them.  Find like-minded people and exchange ideas. Make this part of your mission.

Visualize how you will feel when you reach your goals.  This is part of the work of Becoming.

Do the Work.

Replace the rules you have set for yourself, your habits, your routine.  Reject procrastination as your worse enemy.

Write your own Mission Statement:  This is your step towards self-awareness.  Be as creative you can be about where you are and where you would prefer to be.  It may seem far out and challenging at first because your habitual thoughts, rules and self-limitations will try to sneak in and may tell you to be ‘reasonable’.  But take over, don’t be in the least bit ‘reasonable’ and allow yourself the freedom to dream.


Photo by Nandhu Kumar on

How do we define Creativity?  Is it a natural, innate or learned trait? Does it mean production of something new?  In the practice of making things and finding ways to get them to market?  What about the idea of being a creative thinker.  Thinking of the possibilities rather than allowing the handicaps to hinder.  Why something positive should happen rather than spending energy on why it shouldn’t.  I guess this is the difference between an optimism and a pessimism.  Can a pessimist be creative?  Does it need to be expressed in a product?  Or maybe it is just in the ideas.  Do the ideas need to be put into action or produced?  Is a poem a poem only when it is written down?  Certainly an idea for a novel cannot materialize until it is written.  But does it need to be published to be considered creative.  Is the word ‘Creative’ a noun, and adjective or a verb?  Is the process of a actually writing the book the creative endeavor?  

I like Jeremy Sutton’s definition:

It is All in Your Attitude

“What is this mysterious sought-after thing called “creativity” and how can we nurture it in our lives? Creativity is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as “the ability to make or otherwise bring into existence something new, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form.” The Merriam Webster’s Dictionary describes creativity as “a quality of making, or an ability to make, something original rather than copied.” Both definitions reflect originality and newness. Creativity can be looked at as the bringing together of an idea or problem (inspiration) with action that manifests the idea, resolves the problem and results in something that didn’t exist before. That is, Creativity = Inspiration + Action. Creativity can be applied in all aspects of your life, not just creating expressive art. When it boils down to it I see creativity as an attitude. It is all in your attitude how you respond to an inspiration or a challenge or an idea, and whether you transform potential into process and succeed in working through, resolving and manifesting your ideas. Are you called to action? It is the Creativity Attitude! that calls you to action that I wish to share with you here.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Jeremy.  It is all in the attitude and how we respond to life’s stimuli.  Nurturing creativity we have prioritized it in our lives.  Some people say, “One day I want to…”,  Others, “I have a plan which I will start as soon as……”…Still some will say, “I know what I am doing and, I may be taking some chances here, but here I go”.   Even others will say, “I’m just doing it and I don’t have a choice but to follow my instincts.”

I know many productive people… (maybe that is another aspect of creativity…surrounding yourself with other ‘creatives’ with whom you can share, motivate, inspire)  Who think of their expression of their Creativity as a job.  Most don’t necessarily get on the job at a specific time of the day, take regular breaks and work until dark.   I’ve known some who prefer the night hours liking the silence and stillness.  Nearly all of them, including me, have a dedicated space.  That is extremely important.  

Having to set up the materials of your Creativity every day can easily become an excuse not to get on with it.  Although that is probably where everyone starts – the kitchen or dining table while baby or kids sleep or at school.  The other side is to actually produce and that is where the equation would extend:

 Idea or Inspiration + Action = Creativity = Product.  

But I also think the mulling of the idea and/or inspiration as a creative process.  I am a painter and, when I travel, especially as a passenger, I constantly think about how I can interpret the scene in front of me, what colors do I see in nature. what colors would I use.  Unless I take a photograph, I rarely end up with a product of those thoughts and ideas, especially as they change with every few miles of travel.  But I believe I am thinking creatively.

So how can we actually choose to have a Creative Attitude.  I think it starts with the way we think about ourselves and how we fit into the world.  This produces our ‘self-image’.  Authors have written books about how Creativity can be learned and how their book will give all the answers.  A very creative marketing plea?  I am a bit skeptical of those claims.  I just don’t see that it can be prescribed.  I think, we face decisions every waking minute of our day and deciding to be creative is, in itself, a creative decision.

It probably helps to be given permission to be creative.  Not just to ourselves, but the people with whom we share our lives.  I am lucky that my husband gives me the freedom to explore my creativity and supports my efforts to expand creatively.  I guess, in that regard, we can think of Maslow’s Triangle with the necessities to sustain life at the very bottom of the triangle and self-actualization at the very peak.   

So is practicing creativity the same thing as Self-Actualization?  Or maybe creativity has nothing to do with reaching Self-Actualization?  Can those with only physiological needs be creative?  If so, from where do they get the inspiration?  So much to ponder and this subject is one of my favorites. Please join the conversation…