Doing Things the Right Way
Throughout our lives we’re taught by our teachers, parents, and others to do things this way or that way. We take their input as authority and insert what they ask, to be adequate. We begin to attach what we know to an identity. We wear our names on our educations and become attached to what we know. We then try to convince others that they’re wrong. Curiosity goes out the door. Symbols of power and control become the most immediate need—to be significant and adequate.
Then we seek the perfect recipes to get things right the first time. We become performers instead of learners, inclined to find a recipe for success to apply. We become attached to our sense of competency, and guard threats of incompetence from other’s opinions of us. All of this is what makes us lousy creators. The creative process requires stages of incompetency, looking like a fool, and successful failures to build capacity. The process involves generating something we want independent of what we know. It requires us to take a closer look at our current reality, which includes our current capacity.
There are no recipes for success. This may be surprising to you because like most of us you don’t want to reinvent the wheel. What you miss is the engagement, involvement, and enjoyment of creating what you truly desire. To create, most of what you learn is from the future as it emerges, not from the past. Often times the past is what prohibits the creative process because we revert to the familiar instead of experimentation and prototyping. Stepping ahead in the unknown is what creating is about. The boldness involved is one of suspension and redirection.
Suspension is the capacity to extricate your obedience to the past, to your assumptions and generalizations you hold of what exists. It is what I call a state of “don’t know mind.” Don’t know mind is having a mindfulness of the content of your thoughts as just theory, but not fact. Suspending these certainties cultivates the openness for wonder, astonishment, and curiosity that inspires inquiry.
Redirection is the capacity to move from the mental models we have back to the current reality that actually exists. It is the direct and factual relationship with current reality, and for most it’s like an acquired taste. Honesty is scary because we may have to see what’s not working and change something. Suspension is key because it separates our identity from what we’re seeing. Our tendency is to relate with life though we’re preoccupied with not being. When we have the notion that we’re not enough, reality becomes a threat rather than our teacher. But when we keep our opinions of ourselves from the creative process, our identity is a non-issue.
What is the cost of being right? Static. The word “ecstatic” means to leave the familiar. To be ecstatic is to move toward what matters to us by letting go of our need to make sense of everything. Letting go of being right means you let the mysteries be mysteries. You forget to chase the unknowable and place attention on the creative process. Rather than figuring out who you are, it unfolds and is shaped by that which you seek and create.
Questions to consider:
What am I holding onto that is keeping me from being creatively free?
What do I deeply desire to create, and to what will I choose to devote my life spirit and gifts?
What aspects of my life matter most to me now and what steps can I take to amplify and foster them?
- Who are the people who matter most to me in my life story and what steps can I take to build upon these relationships?
Copyright 2013 John Davidson