Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

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Over this past Labor Day weekend, I found myself reading excerpts from distinguished professor of psychology and management Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (pronounced me-HIGH chick-sent-me-HIGH-ee) seminal book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People (HarperCollins, 1996).

He writes:

“I have devoted 30 years of research to how creative people live and work, to make more understandable the mysterious process by which they come up with new ideas and new things. If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude.”

Mihaly describes ten traits often contradictory in nature, that are frequently present in creative people. In Creativity, Mihaly outlines these:

1. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they’re also often quiet and at rest.

They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm.

2. Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time.

“It involves fluency, or the ability to generate a great quantity of ideas; flexibility, or the ability to switch from one perspective to another; and originality in picking unusual associations of ideas. These are the dimensions of thinking that most creativity tests measure and that most workshops try to enhance.”

3. Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility.

But this playfulness doesn’t go very far without its antithesis, a quality of doggedness, endurance, and perseverance.

“Despite the carefree air that many creative people affect, most of them work late into the night and persist when less driven individuals would not. Vasari wrote in 1550 that when Renaissance painter Paolo Uccello was working out the laws of visual perspective, he would walk back and forth all night, muttering to himself: “What a beautiful thing is this perspective!” while his wife called him back to bed with no success.”

4.Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality.

Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present.

5. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted.

We’re usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.

6. Creative people are humble and proud at the same time.

It is remarkable to meet a famous person who you expect to be arrogant or supercilious, only to encounter self-deprecation and shyness instead.

7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping.

When tests of masculinity and femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.

8. Creative people are both rebellious and conservative.

It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it’s difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.

9.Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well.

Without the passion, we soon lose interest in a difficult task. Yet without being objective about it, our work is not very good and lacks credibility. Here is how the historian Natalie Davis puts it:

“I think it is very important to find a way to be detached from what you write, so that you can’t be so identified with your work that you can’t accept criticism and response, and that is the danger of having as much affect as I do. But I am aware of that and of when I think it is particularly important to detach oneself from the work, and that is something where age really does help.”

10. Creative people’s openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment.

“Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake. Without this trait, poets would give up striving for perfection and would write commercial jingles, economists would work for banks where they would earn at least twice as much as they do at universities, and physicists would stop doing basic research and join industrial laboratories where the conditions are better and the expectations more predictable.”

Paradoxical or not, what I have learned most is that there is no formula for individual creation. As Mihay says, “creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals.” So, more than anything else, what it takes to be creative is resourcefulness and the courage not to give up.

"Blue Love" Oil on canvas, framed

“Blue Love”
Oil on canvas, framed

“But dear, don’t be afraid of love, it’s only magic.”

“Lights”
Original Oil Painting on burlap canvas
“There simply is no pill that can replace human connection. There is no pharmacy that can fill the need for compassionate interaction with others. There is no panacea. The answer to human suffering is both within us and between us” – Dr. Joanne Cacciatore

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-Abstract-Oil-Painting-on-burlap-canvas-lights-by-artist-Lina-Way-/151644214904?ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT

IMG_3052lights

love pic

Yes, love is painful. But as C. S. Lewis suggests, we can respond to any relationship with either a closed, hellish heart, or an open, heavenly heart. If you keep your heart open, that same pain can become a purifying pain, a strengthening pain. If we choose forgiveness over bitterness, that pain can heal instead of hurt. Instead of a pain that divides, it can be a pain that binds

Here is some rules that I came up with using my past life experience…

1. When it arrives, cherish it.

2. Whatever you accept, you will get

3. Understand that love is a mirror—it will show us who we are if we allow it to.

4. Only we can make ourselves happy, it is not the other person’s responsibility.

5. Don’t say words with the intent to hurt.

6. Accept and forgive easily.

7. Don’t be scared to disagree, it is healthy.

8. Never be too busy for each other.

9. Do not punish.

10. Accept honest criticism, it is good for us.

11. Admit when you are wrong, quickly.

12. Support each other when the going gets tough.

13. Live in the moment—be present.

14. Leave the past where it belongs.

15. Leave drama out of it.

16) Don’t try to control

17. Allow a small amount of jealousy.

18. Don’t use comparisons.

19. Celebrate differences.

20. Communicate openly and honestly.

21. Listen very carefully.

22. Don’t judge.

23. Don’t manipulate to get results.

24. Learn and grow.

25. Don’t try to change each other.

26. Don’t condemn each other’s family and friends.

27. Lines, flaws and imperfections are beautiful.

28. Trust your instincts, but don’t be paranoid.

29. Don’t compromise your morals and values and don’t expect them to either.

30. Instead of power, aim for balance.

31. Space is needed to breathe and to grow.

32. Accept that you are both unique—never compare.

33. Have fun, laugh and play—a lot.

34. Be each other’s best friend.

35. Don’t play mind games.

36. Do not carelessly throw away love.

37. Don’t waste energy with negative thoughts.

38. Compliment often.

39. Discover each other.

40. Be attentive and understand what’s not said.

41. Do at least one romantic and thoughtful thing every day.

42. Take picnics and sleep under the stars.

43. Don’t just speak about it, show love.

44. Walk together, cook together, bathe together, read together.

45. Do not be afraid, love requires surrender.

46. Be loyal and faithful.

47. Trust.

48. Be grateful.

49. Fluidity is good, accept change.

50. Don’t sleep on a fight.

51. Don’t cling to it, know when to let go.

52. Discover what turns you both on and explore it.

53. Make love, but also f*ck (regularly).

54. Give and receive without measure.

55. Never gamble with what you can’t afford to lose.

learning what love is

learning what love is

Love feels unsafe.

To the little girl within me, love is unsafe.

To her, love means hurt.

Love means pain, trauma, inconsistency, insanity, and conditions.

Love was fucked up, twisted, and tied so deep into their self-hatred, that it came out wrapped in violence, rather than gentleness and warmth. Bitterness, rather than compassion and understanding. Jealousy and resentment, rather than supportive holding and cheerleading.

The love wasn’t hers, it was theirs—it had the potential to change any moment. And generally, it did. No matter how hard my inner girl or inner teen tried, things stayed the same.

Why—and how—would they be any different, now?

I remember the first time I got told about unconditional love, about years ago:

“You don’t have to do anything for someone to love you?”

I laughed, thinking it was a joke.

When I realized it wasn’t, I felt a sudden sorrow—a deep grief—for myself.

How did I not know this?

My relationship with love had been ‘wrong’ my whole life.

An innately wise part of myself always understood unconditional love existed—as a kid, I remember watching other parents and children, knowing somewhere deep inside that what I experienced at home wasn’t the only way. Somehow I knew, beneath my wounding and fear, that things wouldn’t always be this way.

What I was experiencing was only a chapter, or two, of my Love Story.

As I’ve begun healing my youth and early adulthood, my relationship with love—towards myself and others—is rapidly changing.

I’m learning what love actually is.

But I’m in the messy stage.

My defenses, fears, past hurts, and insecurities, feel more tender and in-my-face, than ever—I can’t step round, look past, or dive through my wounding, anymore.

My need to feel safe, feels more important than any other need I have, so it governs almost everything I do.

I struggle to trust people. To believe or trust the love and time they give me, and that they—or it—won’t disappear, feels terrifying, and almost impossible, even though part of me knows it isn’t, and it won’t.

I worry that love I receive will also disappear when the person really sees me and witnesses my imperfections, so I make sure I only share the imperfections I feel safe sharing. Even though I love others for, and with, theirs, and that mine just make me human.

I notice there’s always a desire to rip apart any love or support given, by finding reasons or supposed ‘proof’ that the love wasn’t really genuine—“they were just saying that…they probably felt like they had to”—even though this habit only brings hurt, and I know it’s generally not true. And even if it is, or they were, it’s not my place to take it on.

alone

I take risks, show myself, and share my needs or vulnerabilities—or my authentic rawness and openness—and then freak-out by reading into people’s every move or every word. I close up, building an imaginary “wall”, or disappear for a few days/weeks, convinced I was ‘too much’. Sometimes I find myself laughing, because the theories my inner critic comes up with in these moments are so well thought out, convincing, and hilarious. Other times I find myself unable to laugh or find solid ground beneath the fear and self-judgment, worrying that what I’m believing, is definitely true.

My fear of abandonment feel so great, and so sensitive, that I avoid situations in which there is potential for abandonment—I end up avoiding and declining a lot. Sometimes the fear, or potential risk, of not feeling safe, is one I want—or feel able to—work with and compassionately notice. Other times it isn’t. This part of my relationship with love and trust and people, breaks my heart the most.

I feel like I stranger to myself and my previous life. I almost constantly feel slightly, or completely, disconnected or alone. Even though I’m not.

I let a friend in, become close, and then freak-out with fear of the close connection, and fear that I will be really seen. Sometimes I stay but keep a certain distance, to ensure I feel safe. Other times, I’ve fled out of fear they wouldn’t love me if they continued to get to know me.

I don’t value my love enough—I don’t value that my love is a gift itself.
Every time someone still shows up despite me not having ‘done’ anything, or regardless of whether I believed I was loveable the last time we hung out, or whether I’d shown my imperfections, or how many other times they’ve showed up before, a little piece of my unconditional love puzzle is put into place.

As I continue to discover just how twisted my Love Story has been until now, I continue to notice how deeply this impacts the way I love myself—the way I parent myself.I’m almost constantly noticing or realizing something different, something new.

Couple months back it suddenly hit me that I was only loving myself when I was doing or achieving things. I hadn’t realized that that part of the relationship I have with being able to be loved by others, was also the relationship I have towards being able to love myself.

I wrote this note to myself and stuck it on the wall, with the desire to love myself regardless of whether I’m doing or not doing.

I can love myself just for being.

I’m trying to trust that as this new kind of love—unconditional love—, as well as the forgiveness and acceptance it brings, begins to ripple inside myself, it’ll begin to ripple through the beliefs I have about others love for me, too—that they can love me for just being, also.

And that the people around me have been loving me this way regardless of whether I’ve been able to see it and believe it, or not.

I often feel frustrated with my process—the way that my fear and wounding has such a strong hold, and it feels like it’s taking so fucking long to ease or shift—because I long to feel able to be connected and held, rather than scared and un-seen.

When I look closely, though, things are so far from where they once were. And in my heart, I know this messiness and my wounding being so vividly here, is the beginning of truly healing.

And that can’t help but excite me and leave my worry gently soothed.

San Francisco, Pier39

San Francisco, Pier39

This statue i saw during my San Francisco trip, in some small art gallery near Pier39.

Somehow this statue had an interesting effect on me. Very rarely i meet pieces of art that touch my soul. For example, Da Vinci “Mona Lisa” was a complete disappointment to me… i guess i would have to agree, that the point of art is to “comfort disturbed and to disturb the comfortable…”

The emotions in this statue are incredible. Yes, many visual art forms with families, couples and babies are “cute”, but they never really touched my heart, they all were missing something for me, and i never considered them “cute”, but this particular statue somehow is different to me, it feels different…

This particular art piece, radiates pure and unconditional love in my opinion. And not because there is mother and a baby, but the way a male figure barely touches the female, at the same time having the look in his face that any woman wants to be looked like at, pure love.

We all, looking for one thing in life, love.

But not just anyone can allow love in…

“If we listen to our intellect,

we’d never have a love affair.

We’d never have friendship.

We’d never go into business,

because we’d be too cynical.

Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got

to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down”

             ~ Annie Dillard

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“ I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not happy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. to share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter.

We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.

For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves.” (James Kavanaugh)

What do we want in life? Really and honestly, mostly honestly answering this question from the heart, and not lying to ourselves. I was sitting in a shower today, crying, and thinking about my life. I had a wonderful day today, i spent it on a beach, having lunch at french Cafe, walking through the waves, feeling sand between my toes and enjoying a nice breeze… I felt happy and sad at the same time. When i came home i could not stop tears from coming down. So, what makes me sad? What do i want? I believe i don’t know, or am i just lying to myself that i don’t know…

Do all people know what they want in life, do they know it from childhood, or do they figure it out in the course of their lives?

Reading the above quote by James Kavanaugh made me think about my life. Actually all past year i have been working on the realization of what i want to achieve in my life, what makes me happy and who i want to share my sadness and happiness with.

I believe that through pain and tears, through happy moments, through people we meet on our path, with all our scars we become stronger and realizes what we want and who we are. The pain we carry so deep in our hearts, that never goes away, we can just dull it a little, this pain makes us the amazing human beings that we are. If everybody lived in a happy and naive world, would there be so much incredible art, poetry, scientific discoveries?.. I don’t think so. Reading all the philosophers, modern and from history, looking at the art, reading biographies of great people, i noticed that they all carried a certain amount of pain that motivated them to create, to pursue what they believed was worthy and turned out it was. None of them had pleasurable and completely happy life. So, why does pain motivates us more then happiness?

Sometimes i feel envious of people that have no conscious, that nothing in their mind and heart pushes them to a place that is so unsettling and brings pain.  Sacrifices that we make in life for the sake of others, or “greater good” are they worth it? What is better to be in peace with your conscious and be not completely happy, or be happy but you conscious beating you because of your decision to be happy?

So far, i have more questions than answers, but life is a journey, and someday i hope to find answers to as many questions as i can.