creativity wants to flow #34 #cong18

Synopsis:

Creativity wants to flow – taking time to observe and understand the flow of creative process – what is happening and where it wants to go next – not only generates new ideas, but ensures those ideas are useful and appropriate to what you want to think about. here are some useful tips…

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Creativity unfolds, like, say, a flower. There is a rhythm and a sequence that can be observed.
  2. To have good ideas, I make space – in my day, in my notebook, in my mind.
  3. Intuition is a compass. It’s the thread that guides you through the labyrinth of creative possibility
  4. Thinking about idea-having as a kind of dance reminds me that I have a body. Getting my body activated by dancing, moving and playing mobilises whole resources of brain power that we are usually inclined to overlook or ignore.

About Jeffrey Gormly:

Artist, Author, Thinker, Collaborator
Current research topics:
Creative organisation – how we can unlock creativity in our collective life
Creativity for health – strategies for normalising creative self-expression
Creativity for freedom – making room for creative diversity in society

Contacting Jeffrey Gormly:

You can contact Jeffrey by email and see his work on Rice on Hydra

By Jeffrey Gormly.

Creativity wants to flow, so I shall let my thoughts go, unedited. A one time one take streaming of ideas about ideas. Not just my ideas – I’ve been collecting ideas about ideas for a long time now.

Creativity wants to flow – this much I intuitively know. It’s why we call it the opposite when we say so and so is blocked. So what Mihaly has said about flow applies to having ideas – it can be practiced, it can be observed, and it gives pleasure.

Creativity unfolds, like, say, a flower – perfect image of creativity. There is a rhythm and a sequence that can be observed. There is a process at work, and there is a language of process, that can be learned, even if each instance, each idea, is unique in and of itself.

Process can be thought of, in the words of Arnold Mindell: “what is happening … and what wants to happen” – which suggests that if you pay attention – the right kind of attention, and enough of it – you can maybe see what is happening, and anticipate what wants to happen next.

This is my way. My tao. As artist, author, thinker, maker, leader, follower, I put hard hours into observing what is happening, really happening, so that I can make the lightest, most effective, most precise intervention possible. I want to be precise, I want to be economical, I want to be clear, and I want to be ecological – leave the lightest footprint.

To have good ideas, I make room. I don’t know where they come from, but those original, interesting, context-breaking ideas can’t emerge if there’s no space for them to breathe. So I make space – in my day, in my notebook, in my mind. I stare at a blank page, I drink my coffee, I listen to music, I take time.
What kind of an idea am I looking to receive? Am I open and willing to take what comes to me? Can I accept the universe’s generosity?

I lay out my territory. I am a hunter, stalking a breakthrough moment. I am a gardener cultivating a fertile ground for creative thought. I think about what I want to think about. For instance, thinking about ideas, I’m thinking about creativity, flow, process. I’m thinking about the role of the thinker. I’m thinking about gardening. And hunting. I’m thinking about the relationship and difference between my inner world and outer, and how ideas bridge that difference.

These thoughts are what chaos theory calls strange attractors – strong ideas that act like gravitational bodies, stars and planets that pull the random movements of my mind in different directions. So that over time my thoughts start to find pathways within and between all these strange strong attractors, without ever settling on just one. With luck, this movement starts to feel like a kind of dance.

Dance implies flow. Dance is a source of pleasure. Dance means creative flexibility. These are all good things.

Dance is also a good way to inhabit the not-knowing chaos and mystery that I believe is the birthplace of all ideas.

Before you have an idea, you have to have no idea!

You can have clues though. Clues point to ideas. That ability of humans to find a way through mystery, doubt (there will always be doubt!) and the thicket of experience is what I think of as intuition.

Intuition is a compass. It’s the thread that guides you through the labyrinth, a golden thread you discover one step at a time. You can only feel it, and you’ve got to trust it, even when trusting it exposes you to potential ridicule, disbelief, misunderstanding from others. That’s what makes a safe space so important.

And this is a good time to remember that the space you need to follow intuition into the labyrinth of creative process, is the space you can give others to do the same. Solidarity between creative thinkers! Let’s give each other space to explore, to experiment, to expand, to be wrong. Let’s practice the receptivity to each other’s creative expression that we all crave for ourselves.

Thinking about idea having as a kind of dance reminds me that I have a body. And, as Ken Robinson reminds us, that body is not just a delivery system for my brain! It is a thinking feeling communicating engine of creative sensing, making and expressing.

Did you know there are as many neurons in your gut as in your brain? Trust that ‘gut feeling’, right? That’s intuition.

Did you know the latest research describes the immune system as a ‘floating brain’?

So for me, getting my body activated by dancing, moving and playing mobilises whole resources of brain power that we are usually inclined to overlook or ignore.

Being in a state of dance is crucial for when the moment of truth arrives and an idea finally emerges. Running with the idea – trying to keep up with it as it flies ahead of me – takes constant adjustment. Often the idea is unexpected. It never comes when and where I anticipated. And it won’t hang around forever waiting for me to be ready to concentrate on it.

As I follow the idea’s progress through the world, trying to honour its integrity, communicate it authentically, and observe it changing and growing, I must keep on my toes, keep moving with it, stay flexible and ready. I feel like a surfer – the wave is the same wave, but the wave constantly changes.

So I try to keep my balance, I dedicate to staying with the wave – the idea – all the way.

All the way – to wherever it takes me.

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