Art pants

The residue of your efforts will inspire as much as the work itself.

Sometimes it’s an exhausted sigh after long labor that impacts more than the creation itself.

I’ve met artists whose paint-spackled shoes fascinate me more than the art on the easel.

It’s OK.

Your work isn’t meant for everyone.

Sometimes impact comes from unintentional spillover effects. Your life and the way it is lived is the effect. Or the hushed power surrounding you when your work is done for the day . . . that could be the effect. Maybe it’s the way you laugh easily because you are doing what you are calling yourself to do . . .

You are the effect of the work you do.

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Starting the day with a possibility bath

If I were Hollister Thomas it would have been yoga.

If I were a marine it would have been reveille and clean up.

If I were Jennifer Aniston it would have been hot water with lemon, a face scrub, then 20 minutes of meditation.

But because I’m me I started today with a bath. A possibility bath.

A possibility bath has one rule:

Only let your mind drift to what you want.

Emphatically this means not to what you don’t want.

As long as you’re bathtubbing it, worries and adverse outcomes are forbidden.

It’s a simple rule: Your bathtub reveries focus on desires. Whether you feel they can happen or not.

It’s about possibilities after all, not what is most likely.

As we all know, possibilities that seem outlandish at first have a habit of sneaking into our reality fairly regularly when we make them our focus.

(Like here: Finding an erotic book in Paris)

(And here: They went looking for it)

This is the place you come to play.

Oh, I suppose there’s more than one rule. There’s an implied condition: That they be fun gwishes. The kind that energize you. The kind that tickle your fantasies. And make you smile.

Here’s Havi Brooks on gwishes:

Anyway, I needed a word. 

For the thing that is not a goal and not a wish. 

And not a dream and not a mission. And not a project. 

It’s a gwish. 

Because it’s fun to say. Gwish gwish gwish gwish. 

And because it isn’t as scary to talk about a gwish as it is to share a tiny, sweet thing that is vulnerable and in need of protection.

I gwished it up for 15 minutes  it’s all I had  I had to get my son off to a chess tourney. Yet it was all the time I needed. To stretch beyond my customary brainspan.

Try a possibility bath sometime. You, au naturel, in warm bubbly waters . . . you’re halfway there already as soon as you slip in.

May your finest, most frolicsome tubdreams weasel their way into your experience soon.

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Changing your biochemistry

Contrary to what we previously believed, our genes are not fixed. The study of epigenetics proves that our genes are actually fluid, flexible, and highly influenced by our environment.

And here’s the best news, just because you have a genetic predisposition for x, y, and z, doesn’t mean those genes will actually express themselves.

External triggers like nutrition, environment, exercise, positive or negative thoughts, and emotions literally affect your DNA.

So what truly runs in your family: heart disease and diabetes, or donuts and sausage?

How about gratitude and appreciation, or belittlement and abuse?

Change your thoughts, change your behaviors.

Change your behaviors, change your biochemistry.

Kris Carr in the forward to Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin
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Tiny houses, big demand

While driving through Socorro, New Mexico, I spied these impossibly tiny A-frame houses. Later I discovered these are in great demand as rentals, despite how compact they are compared to other homes in the area.

Even though you can only fully stand up in the middle of the room in the second floor bedrooms — yes, there are two : ) — the design and affordability make these dwellings appealing.

Wherever you can differentiate, do it.

Wherever you can imprint your project with your own special take on it, make it happen.

Rewards come to those who get playful.

Look at these homes above. They’re not your typical New Mexican home. Hell, they’re not your typical home anywhere. And that’s the allure.

People want different.

People want originality.

Find yours.

 

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These kids are doing it

See those creations in front of these kids?

Those are miniature sculptures they have assembled. They’re selling them on the street the way kids normally sell lemonade… 

It was so endearing, I had to buy a couple. The one with the tall feather and the one with the orange feather…

The impulse to express knows no age. May what you’re working on today draw a smile to your face as it has for these kids. May your work engage you . . . and may your inner spirit express through that work today . . . 


#FromTheRoad
Dallas TX
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Declarations for Creators

I affirm it here — and from this point onward:

My time is now

My work is now

My love is now

My joy is now

My life is now

My reward is now

My contribution is now

Now is my time

 

For you Evan Griffith

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Procrastination done right (for idea generation)

Oh, you’re going to love this, fellow creators. Procrastination can amp up your creativity.
Of course, it has to be procrastination done right.
Read on. From Adam Grant’s Originals:

An unusually creative doctoral student named Jihae Shin approached me with a counterintuitive idea: procrastination might be conducive to originality.

When you procrastinate , you’re intentionally delaying work that needs to be done. You might be thinking about the task, but you postpone making real progress on it or finishing it to do something less productive.

Shin proposed that when you put off a task, you buy yourself time to engage in divergent thinking rather than foreclosing on one particular idea. As a result, you consider a wider range of original concepts and ultimately choose a more novel direction. I challenged her to test it.

. . . . .

To find out, she gathered data from a Korean furniture company. Employees who procrastinated regularly spent more time engaging in divergent thinking and were rated as significantly more creative by their supervisors.

Procrastination didn’t always fuel creativity: if the employees weren’t intrinsically motivated to solve a major problem, stalling just set them behind.

But when they were passionate about coming up with new ideas, putting off the task led them to more creative solutions. Procrastination may be the enemy of productivity, but it can be a resource for creativity.

Long before the modern obsession with efficiency precipitated by the Industrial Revolution and the Protestant work ethic, civilizations recognized the benefits of procrastination.

In ancient Egypt, there were two different verbs for procrastination: one denoted laziness; the other meant waiting for the right time.

It may not be a coincidence that some of the most original thinkers and inventors in history have been procrastinators.

A prime example is Leonardo da Vinci, whose original accomplishments spanned painting and sculpting, architecture and music, math and engineering, geology and cartography, and anatomy and botany.

Scholars estimate that da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa on and off for a few years starting in 1503, left it unfinished, and didn’t complete it until close to his death in 1519.

His critics believed he was wasting his time dabbling with optical experiments and other distractions that kept him from completing his paintings. These distractions, though, turned out to be vital to his originality.

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Unblocking creative block: The guidance bowl

There’s a toilet bowl off to the right.
Emphatically, this is not the kind of bowl
we’re talking about here 🙂

Creative block can be the creator’s bane. You feel thwarted. You feel you’re not living your mission. If it goes on long enough your days take on a whiff of futility.

Sometimes all you need is a direction, some small push just to get yourself moving.
If you’ve been there, feeling paralysis, this hack my wife picked up from a workshop might help you:

The guidance bowl

It’s simple. You place a bowl in your creative space, on the periphery — not in your prime working zone.

You don’t want it as a focus. Because most of the time you are skiing the line feeling the exhilaration of momentum — and you don’t need the distraction. You don’t need an Oompa Loompa squatting in your glide path.

This bowl is for those times you’re not. Those times you’re not in the flow. For when you’re feeling meh and listless.

A simple bowl that pleases you is best. You don’t want a superhero cereal bowl staring at you from the corner of your eye — unless that’s your thing. If it is, hey, no judgment.

Cut strips of paper and write tiny actions on them. The kind of actions that are easy to take.

If you’re a musician one suggestion might simply be: Hold guitar and strum a chord you hate

Your suggestion might be: Write a 5-line poem backwards

Or: Write a line of gibberish code with a secret message in it

Or: Flip through tear sheets/inspiration clippings/bookmarked creative sites

One of Ann’s says: Move paint around on a board

Another might say: Stab charcoal marks across the surface of a blah piece

Something simple, to jumpstart you into the process . . . so that your monkey mind is quieted and your creative self is activated.

Once you’ve come up with 15 to 20 suggestions, wad them up and toss them into your bowl.

How it works 

The process is simplicity itself.

When you’re flummoxed but before you sink into complete entropy, pluck a paper ball from the bowl.

(Stir the bowl up first if you want.)

Here’s the most critical part: Whatever you pick up, do it.

Trust the process.

This is not catch and release fishing. If you start lazily going through one suggestion after another, the options are likely to shut you down further. You already don’t know what to do . . . so don’t go fishing through the alternatives to add confusion to your ennui.

The suggestion bowl is your activation bowl.

Choose a suggestion, trust it’s the right one for you at that moment, and without thinking, do it.

For the fun of it — and to be mystical hypnotic through repetition — let’s restate that in bullet points:

  1. Choose one suggestion only
  2. Trust it’s the right one for you
  3. Without thinking, do it!

Do it . . . in minutes you’ll be rolling somewhere. It doesn’t matter where. You’re creative. Once you’re rolling it’s easy to track in a different direction.

It’s the difference between being on the river angling to a different part of the flow versus sitting in your kayak on the shore.

Your suggestion bowl gets you in the stream.

This also is not a bowl.
But it was something creative cool— a beach cruiser without a top, mostly — so I’m including it here

Though you could place suggestions in it . . .
they’d just be hard to find after a drive

For you 

Evan Griffith
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Do you need a Creators Circle?

I swear this looks like Obama surfing!

(from a poster at a local lifestyle center in South Florida)

You’re creative — in fact, you’re a creator — you’re trying to create something in your life, damnit — 

The single best thing you can do for yourself is to round up your own posse. This is the single best action any creator can take — after sleep, nutrition, something that gets you started in the day, love, frequent movement, stretching, more love, more sleep . . .

It’s a Creators Circle you’re after: A group of other creators you can get intimate with about your journey. (Which is a hero’s journey, and you know it, you hero.) 

I’ve been gathering my own Creators Circle for years now. Interestingly, a couple of my very best friends are not in it. Our interests don’t overlap in that direction. 

A Circle is not a Club. This is not a group that meets periodically — though you can take that boat if you want. I posit that it’s the exact opposite of a Group.

A Circle consists of compadres in philosophy. All seek to create something meaningful. All are simpatico. All speak a similar language.

You know who wouldn’t be in my Circle? That person who slaves at it, from early to late, giving up all of life’s other pleasures to create their thing.

They’re not in my Circle because that’s not my thing. I’ve given up struggle. (A struggle addict breaks his habit)

Be conscious about who you bring into your Circle. You want people who believe in you — but equally important, they must believe in themselves! 

You want to be in tune with your Circle members. 

The way I work my Circle is one on one. I think of each person in my Creators Circle as a node — and I get the most from node to node direct contact. Maybe 3 of us at once. Too many people in a given setting and you lose the juice of openness. Some devolve into watchers, others take the floor and refuse to relinquish it.

Exploratory conversations are what you want. Where everyone lays out the raw details of their journey. You get that best with 2 or 3 people. 

Every creator sits at the hub of their own Creators Circle. Real electricity comes from sharing. Inspirations and processes. Dreams and fears. Setbacks and successes.

And sharing Circle connections. 

When you bring someone new into the conversation, new pathways open up. Not just in the real world networking kind of way; in your neural network. New connections amp up the charged bits buzzing in your brain. New connections bring new solutions.

Even better, they bring new questions. Their own and the questions that arise in your mind after conversing.

How do they do what they do?


Could I pluck something from their approach that would work for me?

Cultivate a Creators Circle if you want to go far.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

~ African proverb 

For you 

Evan Griffith

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A secret creativity hack

Musician and former musical director for the Blue Man Group says this:

My creativity spikes when I’m doing physical labor around the house. 

~ Julian Cassanetti 

Julian noted that ideas soar when he takes time for yard work and house projects. Even better, sticking points resolve themselves.

The single best hack to spur creativity after a creative session is to take a break. A physical break.

A nap rocks. But launching into something physically engaging summons creative resolutions with surprising ease.

Read more here about the most common way creative giants throughout history have spurred creative thought.

For you 

Evan Griffith
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Click here for a creative soul update via email, once or twice a month.

Want to spark your best? Check out this bookito: 

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within

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