Recently I was thinking about the needs and wants of my children, grandchildren and myself and ways in which I could generate more money to take care of some of those needs and wants. So as many times before I was thinking I needed a miracle to happen, like having a book successfully published (very successfully published). But then it struck me—getting a book published and it being a hit was not a miracle. It was simply success preceded by hard work. The miracle happened long before with the idea or inspiration that lead to the book. I’ve already been given the miracle; now it’s time for me to do my part: the hard work. The gift has been given to me with ideas for books, poems, paintings, textile creations, etc. My responsibility is to then take action to bring these little miracles into the light and reality.
Looking at creativity as small and abundant miracles is part of living, thinking, and doing things creatively. When we don’t recognize their value, we miss the point of being creative. One of the ways that we bring these miracles into being is by having a good space to enhance their abundance. Then we recognize them as such and tend them once they arrive.
We speak of having space to create. That involves not just a physical space but space inside your head as well. Quite often we need to silence the cacophony of condemnation inside our own minds that keep us from creating. Thinking things like ‘I’ll never have a new idea’ or ‘my ideas are so dumb’ don’t give one very fertile source to work from. Meditation is one way to silence these unhelpful thoughts. Any focusing exercises such as guided imagery, getting a colour in your mind or deep breathing accompanied with directives on creating will set the stage for being open to ideas.
Once you’ve cleared that space brainstorm! Let any and all ideas, notions, concepts, whatever pour out without any filtering. Even the craziest or lamest idea may at some time have the potential to turn into something wonderful. Once you’ve got ideas written down, glean the one or two that you feel the most resonance with at that time and start the next step. Save the others—they may bear fruit at a later date. But take what you’ve come up with and appreciate it.
Also, it seems helpful to have a level of acceptance of your little miracles: love them as you would a child, hold them, nurture them, kiss them, and keep them in your heart. We hear a lot about not treating our work as too ‘precious’ but I think there needs to be an element of that care in what we are doing or why are we doing it? When we approach our work with a loving, caring attitude, the atmosphere that we create with our work is more productive. We set the scene for creativity with our attitude. If we are grumbling, being condemning of what we are working on, how easy is it to keep at it, to have confidence in putting down that next paint stroke or adding that next paragraph? It’s ok to like your own work or at least have a sense of care about it.
But for all this loving adoration of your miracles, you must also add in an element of objectivity. Like children, if you don’t admit and redirect (lovingly) their errors and faults, other people aren’t going to love them either. Taking criticism is not an easy thing, especially when you love what you’ve done. But if the point is to make this miracle be the best that it can be, tinkering, smithing, tampering and altering is often the very thing that works. And sometimes, we can’t see it because we are too close to what we are creating.
Sometimes we need to walk away from our projects—we can be too focused and lose that objectivity or balance. Stepping away for a wee bit and working on something else allows fresh eyes on things. It’s happened many times that I will come across something that I wrote or will uncover a painting from months before and wonder what I didn’t like it before. Or the reverse will happen and I need to look at what is not right with it. Allowing another perspective, trying on someone else’s vision can increase what you’ve started. It’s often worth a try. Again, it’s that balance between maintaining your vision and being able to convey that vision to others.
But I think that if we acknowledge the abundance of the miracle of creation whatever it is, we set the stage for doing the hard work part. The ‘doing’ part requires a certain attitude as well. Loving our work and realizing the good fortune to have had this inspiration can urge us on in the slogging through revisions, layers of paint or re-writes of that section in a song. It is a miracle and we are fortunate recipients when they are given to us. Tend those miracles well. We would not throw away a treasured gift from a loved one. Why would we treat our creations as if they were to be thrown away and not nurtured and brought to fruition?
A beautiful garden is beautiful because it has been carefully seeded, planted, then weeded, watered, tended and loved. Our creativity requires that same dedication of care—it’s often hard sweaty work but it’s worth it. So try looking at your work as creative miracles you’ve been entreasured with. See if that attitude helps make it easier to get in there and do the hard work that leads to the successful completion of your creative project.