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Yes, creative, I’m talking to you

Updated: May 5

One of my surprisingly unsurprising turns in my career has been as a creative midwife of sorts. Thanks to my unique skillset, I’m able to relate as part scientist, part nurturer, part creative, all me. I know my own voice very well, which keeps the exchange clean. To clarify, creativity is a glorious, natural human function. Creativity for creativity’s sake keeps us healthy and in touch with our sacral life force. What I will be talking about here is creative production aka allowing creativity to manifest into something discrete with which you can interact: a creation.

Here are my 5 cardinal rules:

  1. Cultivate an ego free zone.

  2. Don’t attach a concept before you have raw material.

  3. Stop playing to your imaginary audience.

  4. Surrender the fear it’s been done before.

  5. Spend time hearing your own voice.

When I’m working with a client on a creative production, I take them through an exercise called “zero ego.” Now, we all need healthy ego. It’s part of what makes us who we are in this lifetime. It’s the subtle texture over the white hot essence of our souls. But unhealthy ego? That is a killer. And that killer would strangle the baby that is your work in its bassinet. It looks like undue pride, outsized criticism, and, often, procrastination.

How do we play zero ego? Simple. We use time. I challenge my client to go 5 minutes in a space of connection and contemplation with their work. (Increasing intervals ensue but we start small. This also helps repattern the tendency to see time as an enemy or elusive.) It sounds simple, right? The challenge is to acknowledge every mental diversion or entrance of unhealthy ego into the connection.

For instance, you’re thinking about writing a book. The same one you’ve been thinking about for a decade. You think about your concept… then your mind tells you it’s too late. You think someone’s already executed your concept better than you ever could. Then your mind takes you to why you’re so awful for not having written the book. Then you start thinking about dinner. Suddenly, you remember you were supposed to be in connection with your work. (I have ADHD; I am aware how gnarly an exercise like this can get.) The first round is an opportunity to laugh at yourself as you practice being truly honest. In subsequent rounds, we introduce neurointuitive work and key questions, like - as directed to your work - “What do you need from me?” We transition straight into building because answers given in this space demand action.

Okay, let’s talk about not attaching concepts until there is raw material. A concept is indicative of logic. Logic isn’t the enemy of creativity but it can absolutely be a predator. Creation is highly intuitive work. And yes, your creation can have an originating concept or an organizing concept. The former is often helpful in sparking a cascade (of neurotransmitters and other things). It’s the seed. The latter can only be successfully applied once there is something there. This often gets muddled, leaving people in a morass of aborted ideas and stunted action. It’s sometimes why the more creative people you know live in the planning stage.

Why? Because concepts shape. You can’t shape nothing into something - there’s always raw material. You’re often unable to perceive it when you’re attaching and attached to a concept. Even if you wanted to divert a river, it would have to be present first. You’d have to allow it to be in order to shape it. (And good luck trying to make water go where it doesn’t want to be. It takes considerable effort that would likely be better used elsewhere.) If there is one thing I have learned about a creative production, it’s that what we’d like to say and what purpose we’d like the creation to serve is a matter of humble request. We cannot control others’ perception or manipulate the divinity of creative flow. What a blessing that is.

In the same vein, you cannot play to your audience in ways that are unnatural. There are artists who leave breadcrumbs in their every work simply because the breadcrumbs are reflective of who they are. Since their audience has come to know them as creative, these breadcrumbs are retrieved. There’s a natural resonance there that cannot be contrived. You will absolutely hamstring yourself creating for an audience, real or imagined. To be frank, it’s always imagined because we can never totally read a collective nor can we guarantee our latest creation will find a home with the old one. (Insert Aquarius “do collectives actually exist” tangent here…) There’s a primal fear in that. The possibility of rejection feels akin to death - it’s as close as we come to being cast out of the tribe to most likely perish. This is another place I get to use my subconscious spidey skills and “unhook” this down deep for my clients. It is possible to create from a profound body-based knowing that your creation already has an audience. (Zero ego is necessary once more because this is one place size can’t matter.) This audience doesn’t need your consideration (yet) beyond the loving care you put into the production.

This is where logic would trip you up again. It’s “unrealistic.” Well… the reality exists. You can opt in or out. This is a place we do have power. You get to know that somewhere, someone is waiting to hear how you see it. Someone has an appetite for your perception. This has never been more possible than right now, with the technological means through which we can transmit what we channel. This takes us to our next point: stop worrying it’s been done before.

I do esoteric work that’s both artistic and academic. There’s a spiritual bent to all that I do and all that I am. Very naturally, I have my own creative genetic code. You don’t have to know me particularly well as an individual to know that the way information filters through me is… different. Just like the way it filters through you is different. There are people who can’t perceive a thing until they hear it from you, feel it held in your hands, see it on you, etc. Someone could have been pointing to the door for decades, but your key is what’s required.

I started my career as a trauma specialist. People are inclined to show me their wounds, big and small, because they know I’ll know what to do with them. I have had many clients come to me after decades trying to heal a wound that I’m able to heal with them in minutes. Healing work is deeply creative… you are giving someone a new experience of themselves. That is birth, and it’s humbling. You have to trust that your channel is good, whole, and vital. It never needed to be the only one but it does need to be respected (by you before anyone else). So, if you’re afraid someone’s done it before… your remedy is honesty. We want to hear it from you.

For the clearest possible transmission, you have to know what your own voice sounds like. Influence is inevitable: you will be influenced and influence others, for better or worse. One way I assist my clients with this is through healthy engagement with analysis. You can be analytical without being “critical.” To be analytical is simply to look and discern. Since critique has been infiltrated by people who have never successfully produced in their lives, it can have a nasty little zing to it. (If you just went ouch, it’s not too late to get in the field and carry something to culmination.) How do we practice analysis? By engaging with a familiar work and a new work.

I encourage my clients to feel into something old that compels them and something new. The something new should be foreign to them and presented organically. (Like you saw a title in a paper, you ask a friend with different taste, you walked to a record store, you start exploring the back end of your streamer… I said the s word, I know it’s “dirty.”) I ask them to engage first for appreciation then to feel into whether or not there’s somewhere they would have made a different choice than the creator. We all do it, honesty is the policy here. I have come to a sticky point in a novel and gone “ehhhhh” and I’ve resisted the urge to skip a song that doesn’t immediately take my fancy. Then, here comes the fun part… why? What would you have done differently and why? You have to make sure it’s your voice (yes, your G-d voice counts) and not anyone’s unwanted imposition on your creative code.

I had a teacher who completely destroyed my love of singing. It took me years before I’d say yes when people asked if I’m a singer. For context, I’d sung at both Carnegie Hall and Radio City by age 10. I’ve sung on 5 continents now, actually, and my love for it had to be rekindled. The claim I felt I could make on my gift had to be restored. I had to learn to hear my own voice again, whether it came to intuitive work, academic work, writing, or music.

There are certain world cracking moments in a soul’s personal history. They are creative seeds if you allow them to be. For me, this includes various traumas (like that teacher) but also lush moments like listening to Songs From The Big Chair straight through for the first time. I can transport myself on my timeline to that moment via my subconscious. Whenever I am in need of some serious restoration, it is one of many places I can turn. I am always inspired and able to hear my own voice again.

My skillset allows me to create opportunities for high level (and ultimately pure) creative play and production. I can take people back to moments in time and allow them small peeks at potential futures. I can help them root into the present reality of their creative current and foster a deep appreciation for the present. While I typically work with individuals creating music or text, this guide applies to anyone called to produce. We are all creative; some of us have had more room to develop and/or possess more natural inclination. I’m talking to you. What do I need to perceive your way?

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