Freedom in Discipline #30 Love Letter
I want to know, what becomes possible when we put creativity in the service of living a chosen life? By ‘chosen life’ – I mean – that we no longer blame our circumstances on what happened before, and we consciously begin living from the place of what I am creating now?
Creativity directed in the service of WHO we are is the most powerful tool I know.
What do I mean, Intentional Creativity?
What I mean is: being creative with a specific intention. That is it. The intention could be as simple as: To be peaceful. Or it could be more involved like:
I need to shed light on a decision. Or it could be to heal. To reveal. To self honor. To explore. To discover. To give to ourselves. To give to others. To create is to be GIVING all by ones self. Because it is generative. It is a -this moment forward- kind of action.
It is possible to add this practice to your life – even though right now it may seem impossible. It is not impossible.
Imagine with me…getting up in the wee hours (right now it is 4 am).
Imagine gathering your ingredients. (or…you could actually do it)
Ingredients for a Intentional Creative Practice for those who don’t have any time.
gentle alarm clock
book of your choice
Now. Find the most comfortable place you can to sit (I prefer the corner of the couch with bunches-oh-pillows surrounding me. Soft light – enough to see but not an overhead light. Sit with your chosen item – book, drawing pad, notebook, coloring book, computer and say a prayer about what it is you are doing here. Then put pen to paper and begin.
Ideas: Think softly while you go along…
I would like to experience peace right now.
I need more information about such and such decision.
I am struggling to overcome _________and what that might look like is __________.
Dear Creator, this time is dedicated to loving you. Show me what you want me to see.
What do I need to do to experience peace right now?
Or you could actually set an INTENTION.
I would like to experience peace right now.
I am experiencing peace right now.
I am peace right now.
Every single one of us is a creative being.
We all KNOW this on some level. We were conceived and born creative. Creator endowed each of us with unique gifts of creativity. It is never true when someone says:
‘I don’t have a creative bone in my body’. EVERY bone in your body is creative. What we need is the TIME to develop it. The commitment to do it. The desire to learn from it. We have what we need. That is my claim. It is right here at our finger tips and toe tips and tips of our consciousness. The very center of creativity lives in our heart. Both spiritual and physical. The place from which life is held. Nurtured. Generated. Designed.
We have an etheric creative heart through which we live our lives all the time. Everyone. No exception. It is the center of command for how we live our life. We can chose to use our creativity for good, or for harm. It is a chosen life – we are choosing even and especially when we do not choose. We can fall into the bad things, traps laid by life or media or story or any odd assortment of happenings that are happening all the time, simultaneous with good things.
Do you remember the first time you REALIZED that good things and bad things were happening all at the same time? Birth and Death. Goodness and Meanness. Growth and Enforced Ignorance. Education and the undoing of it. At that moment we had a glimpse of a chosen life…we could not always choose WHAT happened around us, although some things we could. BUT we can almost always, with practice, CHOOSE how we relate and respond to the continuous happenings happening to us. Depending on how you think things occur, whether it is all on purpose or not, whether there are accidents or no accidents, whether God has it mapped out or it is random. NO matter what your VIEW on the collective happenings is, one thing does not change: OUR REACTIONS TO OUR CIRCUMSTANCES WILL DETERMINE OUR ABILITY TO MANAGE OUR LIVES IN A LOVING MANNER. Loving to us. Loving to others. Loving to the world. To anything.
We are living our reactions all the time. When we create, we are not just responding to life and circumstance, we are moving in tandem, outside of linear time, with living a chosen, generative life. By generative I mean, – this moment forward -. I mean, creating with intention for wellness. BEING GENERATIVE. Not taking from but adding to. Not just processing, but actually, proceeding. Not being reactive, but being proactive. Not being a victim of, but reaching out from story into legend. Into a chosen life that you have something to do with designing. Co-creating with Creator through accessing your unique creative gifts in service to the unfolding of a life lived with power and intention.
A lot of the time, we want to know – what am I going to GET?
If I buy this car. Take this workshop. Read this book. Be friends with them. What am I going to get?
We are in a mode of what we can -get-. Because so much of life, it can feel like, is being “taken” so we have to make up for it by getting in order to balance the scale. I am guilty of this myself – and all the things in the note are here because it is my struggle too. When I am overworked I say things like: I have given my life to this business! and I say it in a victimy way. It makes me feel even worse. Instead, when I am refreshed I might say: I am living my life work no matter what! When I share things, clearly it is not because I have it all figured out! However, I am speaking from the place of LIVING a creative practice over a long period of time.
Creative practice is not all or nothing. It is all and everything. We JUST keep on making attempts towards discipline. I remember I said to my Mom one day, I cannot remember to take my vitamins on a daily basis so I get behind and then I just stop. And she said: just take them when you do remember. That is more than if you don’t do it at all. Mother’s wisdom. How simple is that? It is not about “getting it right” but about doing it in a way that our life is enriched. That simple statement changed how I live my life. Really. To do it as often as one remembers or thinks of it – IS a pattern. Can become a discipline. It is when we beat ourselves up and quit that it does not work. Rumi says something like: if you cannot pray a real prayer, pray a dry mouthed prayer. Yes, we can do what we can do!
That being said, this letter is not ultimately about doing what we can. It is about something else. It is about calling you to create. And about choosing, as many times as is needed, to return to creating. And through all of that – choosing to become disciplined about those things which can make the most difference, and a contribution to who you are becoming in this life. Not just who you are, but who you are becoming. It is not set. Destiny has not determined how it will unfold. You have free will. Chosen life. True that you cannot change what has already happened, although we know now we can change how we LIVE with what has happened. We are dancers in this dance of life!
Recently in a note I wrote to some of the women on the amazing team I am blessed with – calling us together to design HOW and WHO we are going to be to make our businesses thrive. I asked them to consider the distinction in thinking between being a dancer and being a choreographer. (As a whole, life needs both the dancers and the choreographers. BUT thinking from the space of choreographer when one is the dancer can make the difference in our performance.) I am talking about the difference between being a worker bee and being the queen bee. WITHIN THE CONTEXT of our own practice, not in relation to others. The difference between thinking like an employee and thinking like an entrepreneur. AGAIN, in personal being-ness. Coming from the place of being a bottom line thinker even if our job is to hold the middle line. We treat the middle line from a bottom line mentality – we don’t go do the actual bottom line which may be someone else’s job. We treat our own job as if each PART we touch and hold has to be done with the care as if IT were the bottom line. Because we know from experience that if the middle parts break down, the bottom line has to work harder to compensate.
What if we approached our creativity with the rigor and the discipline that says:
What if it is? What if it is your missing ingredient?
I believe that creativity is the tool that Creator gave to us to access our internal information. The password to the internal information, is creativity. Through the being-ness of creation, not the doing-ness of busy-ness. The busier we are, the harder it is to THINK clearly. Notice that? Creativity clears space in our minds and hearts. OPENS us to new thinking. There is a gentleness for oneself that comes when we invite discipline. We can think about discipline – not from a teachers or parents view – but from our own internal compass – seeing that it is through personal discipline that real progress is made.
The reason I am calling this Freedom in Discipline is because the REAL benefit – the lasting – true – profound – healing – transformational – liberating benefit actually comes when we create on a consistent basis. This does not mean all the time. Even once a month constitutes a “practice” in my book. Once a week is even better. Daily, well, we can hope for that and with that hope, 3 days would be outstanding. We cannot wait for inspiration, or time. There is not often a “flow” in the getting started of creativity – the flow comes later. In the beginning we approach the hard work ahead with a hope of fruitfulness, the courage to proceed and willingness to do what it takes.
What if I told you that you had MORE information available from your brain and heart that you could gain access to RIGHT NOW through a half hour of not-so-hard work?
This life is not about a systematic removal of hard things from our life, although our self litany seems to point towards such madness. This life is a tender integration of the challenges and the blessings into a journey we are proud to call our own.
As a Christian woman, creativity as a practice is a very integrated part of my faith walk. Jesus and Mary brought creativity to me as my way of living here – or rather, I live through creativity. And part of my instructions were to share what they brought to me. I offer these writings and paintings up as my prayers, icons of love for you and for our world. When I first started really painting and writing and drawing I had NO concept of how my work would unfold into this creative ministry. But I listened. I worked in my notebook. I continued faithfully to approach the altar of Creation. Through that diligence all of my books and businesses and workshops and paintings were born. I give praise to Creator for the gift of this life!
Shiloh Sophia McCloud