Expectations maybe the biggest creativity killer of all time. You have no idea what words will be written on today’s blank page. You can’t control the wonderfully tragic and paradoxically beautiful soul-filled moments of today so why do we attempt to guess and plan our way into a prison cell of certainty, that would almost certainly mean the death of our souls?
The blank page represent the uncharted moments, life found standing on the precipice of faith, humbling opening our hands to an infinite number of creative possibilities.
It’s the interruptions, the unexpected conversations and our mistakes that open us, that force us to let go of an ideal for our day (or our work) that never really existed anyway, it’s in the unplanned, spontaneous moments that life is found.
Open your hands, be led by the interruptions, engage in the conversations… listen, listen, listen… today is a white blank page.
These Seven Sentences were written by blogger Mark Daniels. He’s been married for 36 years to his lovely wife and has two adult children. Mark has been blogging for the past nine years. You can read more of Mark’s writing here.
“Insecurity results from egotism,” someone wrote on Twitter recently. That single sentence jarred me the moment I read it so much that I neither responded to nor noted the name of the writer. These words have made me think and I’ve concluded that while insecurity may have many sources, personal vanity is definitely one of them.
Taking myself as a test case, I know that many of my insecurities—whether talking too much, saying the wrong things, getting a sermon or project just “right”, meeting new people, wondering if I’ve worked hard enough or even going to my fortieth high school reunion in less than two weeks — are all born of a desire to make the “right” impressions.
It’s tempting to want to be seen as competent, proficient and an all around “good guy”, to please people, to be esteemed; but what if we are loved just as we are, leaving us with nothing to prove?
I know in reality I play only to a gracious Audience of One. But too often, my vain desire for affirmation from those whose words about my life ultimately don’t matter, cause me to quake in fear instead of living with love and abandon.
December, even in North Carolina, is not an ideal month for bees; they all but slow down to a state of near hibernation as the cold advances on their hive. In order to survive, they must huddle together, relying on the shivering (or trembling) of the outer layer of bees to create enough heat for all to survive; especially the queen, the center of the hive.
Of course, for all of the bees to survive, they must trade in and out from the outer layer of the cluster to the inner sanctuary, alternating between warming themselves and creating warmth for the other bees.
These little creatures, created by God, are a bit like the ideas that develop and then exist in the creative mind, all building on each other, creating a cluster of possibilities that ebb and flow like the worker bees that trade in and out of the inner sanctuary.
And somewhere, inside the creative mind, at the center of all creativity, at the center of all our ideas, lives the Creator, the one from whom all ideas flow, through whom all such ideas find life, with whom we are able to create and around whom we must huddle (and tremble) in order to continue to create. And to survive as one who creates in a world that can sometimes crush the creative spirit and frown on creative pursuits.
But if we huddle close to the Creator during the long winter that sometimes comes with creativity, and in the face of criticism from a cynical world, spring will return and once again our creative ideas fly more freely from our minds, from our souls, and into others’ lives.
There is something you must eliminate completely from your soul if you want to be free to create. It’s going to be painful, but creativity is always a wickedly fun combination of both tussle and joy.
Creative Birth Pains (see yesterday’s fantastic blog by my lovely wife) are a normal part of the process; but to add to the pregnancy/child metaphor, a large chunk of the pain we experience whilst creating comes from our preconceptions, our worry and the need to know the outcome. These things create tension and add stress… let me explain by asking a couple of questions…
Is creativity more enjoyable when we surrender the outcomes, when we let it be whatever it wants to be, shaping it, molding it, guiding it? Do you aid the creative process in any way by worrying about the future of your child?
I imagine that a parent enjoys their child more, when they guide and shape, rather than trying to push a square personality into a round box.
Today’s Seven Sentences is bought to you by my incredibly talented and wonderful wife Athaliah Renee. These are her first Seven Sentences; be warned they shall not be her last.
I’m often unable to accomplish much when I’m in pain. Physical pain, emotional pain, mental duress or any kind of stress, no matter the source; pain generally usurps my focus and ability to imagine, create and produce.
At 5 months pregnant, I’ve endured some interesting bouts of pain and discomfort with the stretching, expanding and changing of my body — but all the while I am creating my greatest work to date, a lovely human being. How is this possible?
It seems that the most important creative works, are works of labor and love that are tried by the suffering, and yet not destroyed by it.
Perhaps we can all take note from pregnancy and create some of our best work, writings, teaching methods or whatever we create while in the valley of suffering. For when there is pain it seems too often only a crucible aiding in delivering the purest and most unique creative work one might ever produce.
There is no such thing as a self made man; no such thing. Does it wound your sense of self-righteous entitlement to hear those words?
Think, question, honestly look back at your journey thus far. You didn’t make it your own, on your own you failed over and over again.
It was the opportune help of others, the kindness of strangers, unexpected gifts from God, talents you never willfully chose but were given generously and abundantly to you. “Proud Man,” these were the things that made you great.
The pride in your story which you so richly treasure is killing and alienating your soul.