Examining Creative Patterns + Myths

While I started my 2013 Happiness Project with the power word "abundance," it quickly sprouted a supplemental focus: creativity. I've been working my way back into creative spaces that come naturally for me, but that I had suppressed into a deficit. This focus has led me to take up the hobby of acrylic painting, it brought about an artistic collaboration with a dear friend, it put out enough energy that Craft Lake City called me in to concoct a guest blogger series, it has raised my frequency (as original badass Jen Sincero would say) and ushered in all sorts of goodness. However, over the last couple months, the concept of creativity has become negatively loaded. I think it built to a head after the Robert Fritz CREATING workshop. Parenthetical: No, the irony is not lost on me.

I've come to admit that when I overlay this renewed creative spirit onto my Type A Over-achiever personality, the pure joy of surrendering to generative energy gets lost a bit. Suddenly, my painting has to lead to something and will I sell at farmer's markets and how do I monetize the hobby and when will I possibly find time to paint every day when the light is right and I'm stuck in the office and how will I ever license my work to appear on iPhone cases and lumbar pillows and ... Hashtag scarcity mindset. I know. It's obvious. I'm even hyper aware of it the exact moment my brain spins out. But it still spins out.

In reflecting on how to get a handle on this, I realized that when I uncovered my second power word, I told myself that reconnecting with creativity meant I was now A Creative All The Time Like That Is My New Reality.

It doesn't work that way. As it turns out.

Reading a recent post by Danielle LaPorte was like getting smacked across the face with a You're Welcome reality check. "As artists," she writes, "we have patterns of creating. A way we typically make things happen. A style in which we pull ideas down from the ethers and put them into form." Wait. What? You mean my creativity can have it's own pattern? That means the Type A Over-acheiver pattern that I'm dragging home with me from a fierce day at the office does not have to be the same pattern that paints pretty pictures? Huh.

Seems obvious, right? Yeah, sure, it does now.

Danielle identifies a few creative patterns:

Pounds at possibilities like a stick on a piñata until it rains down candies of goodness.

Plods like an ox and patiently awaits the harvest.

Falls in love again and again with ideas and people and keeps falling in love every time.

Dances with harmony, always looking for the most beautiful solution and energetic alignment.

Moves mountains no matter what listening to heavy metal or Madam Butterfly cranked in the background.

I think I'm somewhere between falling in love and dancing with harmony. As a hippie dippie Libra who prattles on constantly about balance and the vibration of things, I think love and alignment are pretty accurate. I think there's more nuance to that - I can see myself in other patterns, and can even imagine patterns that she didn't write about - but it's a good place to start the investigation. In other words, I may move mountains to pound away at pinatas all day at work, but I think the core of my soul is far more gentle and carries a different energy entirely.

She goes on to say, "When you identify your Creativity Pattern you’ve got a very powerful opportunity: Change the way you get stuff done because it’s killing you, or keep mastering your tao of doing because it’s getting you beautiful results across the board." The paradox is that the mountain mover way I get stuff done at work and the way I achieved a MA, homeownership, national consulting career, my third passport, and being the boss lady all before age 30...works. But it works in a very one-dimensional way. When Danielle talks about getting results, the pinata pounding certainly gets results; however, it is simultaneously killing me. Figuratively, when we talk about my creative soul, and literally, when we talk about ignoring health concerns because I can't make a pit stop on the fast track to where the hell ever. My tao is somewhere in the love and alignment realm. That means, in practical terms, that I can't burn out at work all day and come home and expect my energy to align with an hour of painting simply because that's what Siri tells me is up next on the calendar. Which raises more systemic questions about my priorities and career, but that's another post entirely.

After Danielle's post cracked me wide open, the next resource came flooding in and showed me how to actually move forward with these ideas. I came across "Everything You Thought You Knew About Creativity Is Wrong" -- bingo. David Goldstein and Otto Kroeger published a book connecting the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators to creative patterns. Love it. They also identified five big myths about creativity:

Myth No.1:
Stepping outside your comfort zone is the best way to elicit creativity. {tweet}

Myth No.2: 
Brainstorming sessions are the best way to come up with brilliant ideas. {tweet}

Myth No.3:
Being creative means being spontaneous. {tweet}

Myth No.4: 
Creative people must invent something new. (tweet} 

Myth No.5:
Creativity means having a finished product. {tweet} 

In other words, Self, even though you've made incredible strides this year, you're hitting a threshold now because you've essentially been pounding away with the mis-guided belief that those five statements, to the letter, were how you needed to handle creativity. Myths. A revelation. Done.

Now it's time to create, or rather discover, my own creative pattern. It's also time to clickety click and read the kindle version of Goldstein & Kroeger's book. No more guilt. No more "I should be painting right now" and no more "I have to write that post tonight" -- find the pattern that will sustain me over the long haul.

Love and alignment,

Traveling by cargo ship #traveltuesday

Craft Lake City Workshop Recap: Hailey Stephens