There are two words in that question that most people would definitely not describe themselves as having: genius and creative. Are you one of them?
You may be surprised (and of course somewhat skeptical) to know that everyone is born with both these qualities. But they’re hidden from most of us because we think they’re only given to certain individuals who make significant contributions to the world or have achieved a certain degree of celebrity status.
Just. Not. True.
Here’s the paradox: genius and creativity are ubiquitous and yet they appear unique to each individual’s experience of life.
Case in point: we marvel at the amazing ability of children to learn, to experiment, to create, to express themselves to delight in discovering the world around them and how it can be manipulated.
But we all know how early on in their lives - and ours, too - children are talked out of their explorations in seeing the world with fresh eyes. Purportedly in the interest of those who are “older and wiser,” who want to keep them safe or accepted or firmly within the confines of cultural norms, we’ve already come to see ourselves as limited, finite beings by the time we’re seven or eight years old.
Can you imagine what it would be like if you threw off that conditioning and claimed your inherent genius and creativity? We can start by taking tiny steps, noticing how our confidence grows with each “small” effort we make.
There’s no need to figure anything out in order to do this. The only thing you may need to do is allow your thinking to open up and notice just how miraculous you already are.
Of course it’s true that genius and creativity will show up differently for every one of us. Those who are scientists will express those qualities scientifically; educators will demonstrate their ideas within the field of education, politicians in the realm of politics and entrepreneurs in their ability to build a business and run it successfully.
And what if you’re not in any of those categories? If you’re retired, or if you don’t have a professional career or at a crossroads in your life?
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve come from. What matters is right now, this moment and being willing to experiment and express what’s inside you.
But you’ve got to have that “itch” for something different, something “fresh,” a desire to experience yourself other than in the ways you’re used to.
It’s worth acknowledging that genius and creativity are simply the willingness to seek the unknown. Maybe you’re bored stiff with yourself. or maybe you’re getting a nudge to try something different in your life, explore that part of your brain and your being that are largely untapped.
We don’t have to harbor unreasonable expectations about the results of any new venture. We can start by paying less attention to the final product and more attention to the process.
As one of my favorite artists said to me recently when I had judged myself into a corner: “be willing to meander, wander…going nowhere, doing nothing…finding that feeling of free association, free connecting.”
That dragon of productivity (as Michelle Cassou has named it) can blow dark smoke into our eyes so that we don’t see what we’re unconsciously doing. And that was exactly what had happened to me.
But once I saw how my thinking had robbed me of the joy of experimenting, instead of judging myself for “allowing” that to happen, I felt such a sweetness of recognition, a compassion that was also an opening to freedom and relaxation.
It reminded me of how you might console a child who has just spilled chocolate milk on their drawing and is in tears. The comfort and reassurance that came through was just like that - loving the innocence and being absolutely convinced of the potential to start over again. And so it was for me: I was able to start again with an openness to whatever was going to appear.
We’re told that we all possess an infinite creative potential. I don’t know about you, but just hearing this sparks an sense of aliveness and possibility and excitement in me.
And that felt sense of what is yet to be as it comes through me is thrilling. When I pay less attention to any thoughts that even hint of “can’t” and start paying more attention to “I wonder what will show up next,” life becomes an adventure with surprising and unpredictably delightful surprises.
It’s a giddy combination of “it’s coming from me” and “it’s coming through me”. There’s an irresistible lure to keep investigating this puzzle as more and more happy outcomes ensue.
And if we’re able to see them, the possibilities are infinite.
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