Tag Archives | being creative

Thinking Creatively

I have just been on holiday, and I was clear that I had no intention of thinking at all for a couple of weeks! At first, it worked perfectly. My thinking consisted of: am I hungry/thirsty? Do I want to swim? Do I want to read or talk? And because there was nothing I had to do, I found it very refreshing to allow the answer to just come from my own genuine feelings, instead of being influenced by external obligations.

After a while, a strange thing started to happen. Quite unbidden insights would suddenly appear in my head, on all sorts of subjects, work and home related. They were all in the category of creative solutions to issues that had been around for me pre-holiday, but they had required no analysis, no in-depth thinking through on my part.

Since returning home, I have been reflecting on this, and believe that creative thinking comes from a state of being where there is a lack of everyday pressure, and where our conscious attention is on something completely different.

How do we achieve this state of being when we are not able to go off on holiday every couple of weeks?! I propose the following:

1)    Tell yourself what it is that you want to sort out e.g. I want to find an innovative way of presenting this information

2)   Allow yourself some treats to resource yourself – a nice meal, a lie in, a natter with an old friend

3)   Do something which enthrals you and takes all your attention – a jigsaw puzzle, some gardening, a good movie or book, a walk in the fresh air, noticing all the signs of Spring
(Through all of stages 2 and 3 you are not thinking consciously about your issue at all. In fact, if it comes to mind, pay attention to something else)

4)   After you have finalised stage 3, sit down with a pen and paper, and write: I want to find an innovative way to… , and what I could do is… , and just keep writing. You may find you have several ideas. Don’t judge or critique them – just record them

5)   Finally, give yourself something else that feels good – a glass of wine, a night out with friends, – anything which is a reward for your own creativity.

This has worked for me since I came home, a couple of times. Let me know if it works for you!

 

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What Ride are You Choosing?

 

‘Have we not told you, life should be an adventure? If it were run-of-the-mill, you would have left it a long time ago. You need the sturm and drang, the passion, the highs and lows, to uncover the truth of who you are.

We get so caught up in our everyday lives, we forget what we came here for. See life as a game. It’s a game, it’s fun, it’s a rollercoaster, as we have told you before. It has its highs and lows, ups and downs, all arounds, but ultimately it’s all just a ride.

To find out what that’s all about, stand back and observe – where you get stuck, where you fly, where it scares you, where it exhilarates you, and concentrate on one goal, one goal alone: How does this help me to get to the truth of who I am?

Does it? Or does it get me stuck? Does it increase my fear? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, choose another path, get on a different ride!

There’s a whole fairground of rides. Some people like the rollercoaster, some the waltzers, some like the slow Ferris wheel, some the house of horrors. They are all beautifully different, so if you feel your ride no longer fits or suits you, change to another one! Go sit on the rollercoaster even if it does sometimes scare you.  Or go sit on the roundabout and take it gently.

You are all grown-ups, you have the right to choose what sort of ride you want your life to be. So choose, choose now – and if you don’t like it, stop that ride, get off and go get an easier one for a while.

It’s your choice. You create what is the ride of your life. So create one that suits you, and have the courage to say, “no, this ride no longer suits me. I’ll choose another – I’ll create another life/ride that suits me.” And hey presto, you have the life you always wanted. It’s that easy.

We would say that you will probably get through a lot of rides, because at different times in your life, you will need different things. And eventually you will come to the ride that takes you to the truth of who you are, and once you are on that one, you will never want to come off, because it’s home.

(Thank you to Jo and his angels for this text)

Homework

  1. What sort of a ride are you on at the moment?
  2. Does it suit you right now?
  3. Is it helping you to get to the truth of who you are?
  4. If not, what ride do you fancy?

 

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Time For A Spring Clean

The clocks have gone forward, spring is in the air, and it’s time for spring cleaning. This usually sounds like an onerous job, so I would like to give you a few tips for spring cleaning your life in a simple and fun way.

All you have to do is to identify one area of your life where you wish it were different – a habit, behaviour, or thought that has become outdated in your life. Most of us have several things in this category! The problem we have is that it is generally considered to be hard work to shift something which has been a part of our lives up till now. And maybe we can do it quite simply, by approaching it in a different way.

Homework

  1. Consider the outdated thing and find a metaphorical equivalent for it in your home or possessions, e.g. rowing with your partner might be represented by that ornament that your aunt gave you years ago, or slumping in front of the tv might be represented by the cushion on your favourite chair.
  2. Take the item and get rid of it – unless it is a whole room in which case you might be better to just re-decorate it!
  3. Now imagine how you want to be instead, e.g. pleasant after work, or energetic.
  4. What would represent this new state or behaviour for you metaphorically? Have some fun going out and looking for a replacement metaphor, e.g. a pair of lovely bud vases, or a new cushion with vibrant colours. By the way, it need not be anything that costs – it could just be a pretty pebble.
  5. Now ‘invest’ the new object with how you want to be: ” You are my being pleasant after work symbol”, and place it somewhere you will see it frequently.
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‘TOOLS FOR CREATION’ – SING LIKE NO-ONE’S LISTENING

This workshop is meant to be light-hearted and fun because there seems to be this misconception that to be an ‘Artist’ one must be in angst and constant turmoil. However, wouldn’t it be great to have the same inspiration without all the hard work and emotional strife!

Well the key lies in children… When you were 3 or 4 you had the wonderful ability of singing like no one’s listening. Remember bathtime? Or watching that Disney film? There was no-one telling you to shut-up, or criticising your atonal rendition of ‘the bare necessities’ you just sang absolutely from the heart and loved every minute of it! The words and melody were of absolutely no consequence; the most important thing was to sing as loudly and as proudly as possible. Take the wonderful Bohemian Rhapsody scene from Wayne’s World – Wayne, Garth and the Wayne’s world team are in the car when on comes Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and as one they mime, rock-out and sing a long to it- this is the essence of what singing like no-one’s listening is all about!

It’s funny isn’t it, we make stars out of singers and songwriters and yet we are often discouraged from singing ourselves. The jolly scene of someone singing to themselves in the bath or shower has been the butt of so many jokes, jibes and digs that many people feel ashamed to even do it anymore..Well we at Meta say ‘bring back bathtime karaoke!’ and let’s re-learn how to: sing like no-one’s listening!

So what can we do to re-learn this vital tool of fun and creation – where can we practice our ‘sing like no one’s listening’ skills?

Well are some ideas we came up with…

  1. Sing like no-one’s listening when in your car
  2. Sing like no-one’s listening when your on a walk
  3. Sing like no-one’s listening in the bath
  4. Sing like no-ones listening in the shower
  5. Sing like no-one’s listening home alone
  6. Sing like no-one’s listening with your kids
  7. Sing like no-one’s listening when you need a pick-me-up
  8. Sing like no-one’s listening with your bestest mate!
  9. Sing like no-one’s listening at the concert of you favourite band
  10. Sing like no one’s listening to your favourite Disney films

 

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TOOLS FOR CREATION – NATURE

This month’s workshop is inspired by nature. As I write this update, the sun is streaming down and there’s a Magritte blue sky with whispery light clouds. The birds are singing, and you can almost hear the grass growing..

Nature has been the inspiration for artists and creatives throughout human existence. From the crude drawings of pre-historic man, through to the landscapes of Constable and Turner. Yet how we harness nature for our own creativity is not as predictable as it may sound.

Nature is all around us. I want us to look at nature, not as ‘watercolour challenge’ or a Constable ‘village scene’ but something vibrant and dynamic that can inspire!

Begin to look at nature with fresh eyes. Begin to see nature as a tool for creation. I have a few exercises which may help…

  1. Find a place in nature – this can be remote, a park, a garden, even an urban environment
  2. Take time to notice what is around you – what do you see? Make a note of everything in your place in nature.
  3. Take a slow walk, again noticing the bounty of nature around you. If you want to stop, pick something up, study it, do.
  4. Take time to study in depth a piece of nature, – a leaf, a hill, a berry, a cone, a feather – maybe sketch it, maybe take it home with you.
  5. The wonder of nature is in its perfection on a miniature scale– a bumblebee’s tiny wings, the veins on a leaf, the spiral on a snail’s shell.
  6. The cyclical nature of nature is everywhere. See new birth, life, death, growth, and reproduction. Does this have parallels in our own lives?
  7. What are we doing to this environment we live in? What is our relationship to it?
  8. How does it make you feel? What are its smells, tastes, sounds? Make a note of them.
  9. Nature is awash with colour, vibrant and full of life, let nature’s colours inspire you, be the starting point of a new piece of creation.
  10. What shapes can you find in nature? Take the outlines/shapes use them in your own work.

Nature is vast. It is a vast topic to cover in such a small workshop. But if the British summer does hold out, do take the time to go somewhere new and record in whatever way suits your own creativity, the way it makes you feel.

 

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Experimenting

Why do we have to get it right first time, every time, or else we feel bad? It just doesn’t fit with our experience as humans does it? And it certainly doesn’t fit with being a learner! Actually we don’t call it experimenting, we call it ‘getting it wrong’ – no wonder it makes us feel bad!

Yet the way we grow in our lives is by trying things out, and gradually establishing what works for us. No, it’s even more than that, it is continually experimenting, because what works for us at one point, may change within moments, and as we move into it, we can see even more possibilities.

As children, this way of growing into our true selves comes naturally to us. We love to experiment and find different ways of doing things, thinking about things, and reacting to things. It is only a taught behaviour to try and find the ‘right’ answer that will last forever.

So let’s be children again! Let’s experiment and play with ideas and approaches. And don’t feel bad if your experiment is not perfect – be delighted that you have more exploring to do!

  1. Experiment with a different route home, or a new type of cereal for breakfast – anything that takes your fancy!
  2. Next time something doesn’t work quite how you intended, smile to yourself and say, ‘great! More experimenting to do!’ (OK, I know that’s a tough one, but it might at least make you laugh instead of being upset! After all, it’s not the end of the world!)
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