Firstly – creativity and coaching – seem an odd combination. Creativity is effortless when it happens and coaching is not. But let’s explore that some more to see how they fit together to work for you.
The idea that ‘creativity is a skill’ has been in business and economics literature for quite a while. However, creativity cannot be measured, only outcomes judged, which may or may not indicate the quantity of creativity in relation to a desired outcome. In other words, when reviewing a person’s skill set, what is really being considered is their capability to be creative in a way that usefully applies to a set of tasks to add value i.e. productive work.
Sure, we know if someone is being creative or not, and creative people do more things that have traditionally been labeled as creative. However there’s been some confusion and discrimination, which bothers me in that some people are labeled as creative and others think they don’t have it, or don’t have a right to be creative.
Creativity simply is. And is available to everyone. There are as many different flavours as there are people. Is that not a miracle?! And it is your birth right, wrote Zen Abbott John Daido-Loori. To be creative is different to creativity, just as to be courageous is different to courage, or to be truthful is different to truth. One implies action, the other is what can follow through that action.
Dear friend Miriam Louisa Simons (ML) taught art at Krishnamurti Schools for many years internationally. Expressing her concern for her students with regard to their creativity, she reports a stunning conversation over lunch with David Bohm while working at Brockwood Park School.
ML writes that Bohm said the students really only need to know what sabotaged their creativity. And creativity is impossible to define in words: “The most we can say about it is that it appears to involve the emergence of some idea or information previously entirely unknown, and is typically accompanied by somatic and psychological sensations of harmony, rightness and wholeness. Creativity can’t be found or measured. Like the God concept, it’s a mystery so prevalent that it’s stopped being a mystery.”
We can know creativity by its absence, she notes, i.e. when we’re suffering the ache of separation from the harmony, beauty and wholeness that are the hallmarks of a creative mind. Whereas, when we are in the process, she notes, “we are seamlessly intimate with/as THAT.”
Creativity happens in flow; that ease and grace is creativity; a state for which the conditions can be nurtured. The state of flow cannot be taught. It’s innate. You know when you’re in that timeless, spacious state of being, usually afterwards because during there’s a loss of boundaries between the making, the maker and the thing that’s being made. Things happened in that seamless state of doing and being where the next step is clear and reveals the next step until something is realised or created. Oh, awesome! (a sense of ease, grace and fulfillment) … I have no idea of the time!
Creativity is a supernatural gift we all have access to. However, people’s stuff blocks the natural flow, and that’s where creativity coaching is valuable.
As a teacher of abstract painting and meditative art, I teach a skillset that provides both structure and constraints for creative self-expression. You’ll have heard creativity loves constraints. We get to experience, see and feel the difference before and after coaching.
Art provides a channel for creativity to be expressed; to become visible. We see the sometimes humble, sometimes grand leftovers; the signs creativity has passed on through. But before that, the focus is on getting clear of inner blocks so creativity can get flowing. The Journey Method is my go-to for that because it was hugely supportive in helping me clarify and get through my doctorate in visual art, knowing I’d been true to my Self.
Creativity coaches set the stage for you to be your true creative Self. At the outset, I want my client to know, without a doubt, they are gifted. We look for clues and explore their affinities, sensibilities, strengths, gifts or perceived talents. Next we investigate what might be in the way of the full expression of their gifts and address each block until the truth is revealed. Breakthroughs are common with The Journey Method, which is why I’ve been using it for over 10 years now.
Once the old ways of thinking are released, new thoughts can be thought; fresh realisations can happen, creativity can flow unimpeded. It’s exciting to witness.
Fears muddy the stream of creativity. The main ones I see are fear of exposure, fear of the creative process not being good enough, fear of the outcome not being good enough (ever), fear of ‘getting it wrong,’ fear of criticism and humiliation, fear of wasting time, fear of having left it too long to be creative and fear of the vulnerability associated with all of the above possibilities.
We may not know these fears are blocking us, but what does show up is shyness, refusing to listen inwardly and respond to the quiet yearning, avoiding doing what we enjoy, anxiety, procrastination in its’ many elusive forms, such as engaging in a lot in social media, tiredness, obsessive cleaning or shopping.
Based on guided self-enquiry, The Journey Method provides powerful personalised ways for shedding light on fears so they no longer have the same limiting impact. Without the limits, with constraints and nurturing, magic can happen. Such personal alchemy is my work, through VIP private course-retreats (now available online).
Like junk food, none of our avoidance strategies are as profoundly replenishing as the deep nourishment of creative expression. I’m convinced that depletion, exhaustion, loss of motivation, burnout, withdrawal and depression happen without it. I’ve seen it and experienced it personally, to my considerable detriment. (You can read more about that here)
The truth about joy-bringing, energy-raising, fulfilling creativity is quite a challenge to convey to clients who have been so strongly conditioned to believe their incapability to be creative, and think creative flow is out of their reach. However, simply articulating the intention to allow the flow of creativity, along with a means of expression, can have surprising consequences.
“…nothing short of life-changing for me” wrote Senior Lecturer Rob Conkie. Rob allowed himself to do less and not be swayed by the external pressures that were causing him great stress. Perhaps the change was also life-saving for him.
Grazia, a university professor, lost several kilograms and her severe knee pain went away.
Allan Parker, Managing Director of Peak Performance Development wrote: “…you beautifully provided a space and elegant process for me to have new things happen in my thinking as well as re-ignite neurones that have not fired since childhood.”
A retired senior public servant said “The process you advised around the making is good, and the making itself felt like a sanctuary from worry & busyness.”
Marilyn, a forensic archaeologist and ceramicist joyfully exclaimed “Choosing colours is like choosing life!”
Seamus, a counsellor, emerged from a depressed state and began working with wood after many years, making beautiful mandolins as well as writing and performing ballads at festivals.
Donna has noticed since ‘Paint from the Heart’ and the Illuminate Mentor-coaching program, how her expression through playing piano sounds so much sweeter.
Intention is a foundation stone of my preparatory work with people. As an example: I intend to do all I can to allow creativity is a powerful statement to your subconscious mind, and you might find you’re making more Self-supportive choices as a result.
And intention alone is not enough. I read a story about a person who packed new art materials and drove out to a country area, set up their easel intending to paint a landscape. Soon disappointed and frustrated, they packed up vowing not to ‘do that’ again. Consequently, an area of their life became a knot of pain and refusal rather than the freedom and joyful creative expression that it could have been with preparation.
Had this person explored what paints could do? No. Did they have any methods in mind? No. Had they done anything like this before? No. The lack of preparation set them up to fail.
Part of my Method, this is first level preparation to begin to powerfully nurture the experience of creativity:
Prepare your head –starts with intention and permission to allow your Self to do this different thing that might seem odd or time-wasting or whatever. Let the small talk go, address the blocks and discover what’s really true instead. Great inroads can be made with an intensive VIP Inspire day, customised to clear the root cause of creative blocks and experience the conditions for creative flow.
Prepare your body: Be well rested, hydrated and attend to your biological needs.
Schedule the time: As people often feel time-pressured, I offer a lot more on this topic in one of the bonus mini-ebooks that arrive after you get my free gift below.
Prepare the space: The space can be the kitchen table. In the Wayne Dyer film The Shift, one of the characters retreated to a space in the laundry to find the peace and privacy to become immersed in flow. It is a truly beautiful scene to watch the translation of her memories of the Monterey coastal trees of Asilomar into magical form through drawing line and tone, gradually remembering who she was. Space can be a visual diary in the back seat of the car. As a teenager, space for me was walking open country with a piece of folded paper and pencils in the pocket of my army pants.
Prepare methods and materials. Some basic skills are necessary, but not as many as beginners might think. This is one of the most delightful aspects of how I work. I can teach one simple method such as shading or colour mixing and a person can creatively fly – a joy to witness!
Now, take it from theory to practice with my free gift available here – an easy creative project followed by a series of 5 supportive mini-e-books – so you can be more calm and creative with ease and gentle joy 🙂