In this issue ~~
As we approach the turn of the Millennium, most of us are familiar with the phrase, "You create your own reality." While we could certainly argue that there are many aspects of our reality that are beyond our conscious control, there are many that are well within our grasp.
We literally create our reality with our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and choices. Perhaps choices and are the easiest to get hold of. You can clearly see that choosing to go to art school rather than medical school will have a definite impact on your life. But what about the other, more intangible aspects?
Einstein said that a key question to ask yourself is whether you see the world as a friendly place. Your answer to that question, and the attitude and belief contained within that answer, will surely affect the experiences you have and the way you respond to those experiences. We commonly say that "seeing is believing," but in fact we tend to create experiences that corroborate our beliefs. If you expect the world to be a friendly place, it's most likely that it will be, at least most of the time.
Circumstances are neutral. Each of us infuses the circumstance with meaning. You can see this when people respond to the same situation in totally different ways. It's your attitudes, thoughts and beliefs about your experiences that give them emotional color. If you approach your day with a feeling of joy and adventure, you'll likely have a better time of it than if you start out feeling burdened and angry.
What about your thoughts? Where do you put your attention? What is your intention? And what outcome do you expect? What you focus on, and how you focus on it, impact what you create. Say you're up for a job. If you have a confident attitude about your work and a strong belief that the job can be yours, you'll have a much better chance of getting the job than if you have serious doubts that you can handle the increased responsibility -- even if you have the requisite skills.
And finally, what actions do you take based on your thoughts and beliefs? Choices are twofold. They consist of both a decision and supporting action. If you make a decision but don't act on it, it won't become manifest in the world. So you may change your attitude about your work, but if you never throw your hat in the ring for a better job, you'll certainly never get one.
Work with your creativity to impact your thoughts and attitudes, your choices and beliefs. Use visualization and "treasure map" collages to envision the future you want to create. Catch your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones. Look at the beliefs you grew up with. Reevaluate them -- which are yours and which are your parents'? Replace the ones that are no longer valid for you with new beliefs. Post them around your home or write them several times a day. Look at how negative attitudes are getting in your way, and how positive attitudes support you. Brainstorm ideas for creating the things you want with a friend; make it a game. Run the gamut -- be as practical and as outrageous as you can. Ultimately, you'll probably land somewhere in between.
Whatever else you're creating, your life itself is your greatest work of art. So why not put into it the conscious care you would give to any of your other creations? Be at cause in your experiences, rather than at the effect. If you consciously and actively choose, you will often get what you want. If you don't choose, you'll probably be spending a lot of time scrambling to fix what life has thrown in your path. Choosing can be scary -- there are no guarantees of making the "right" choice. But even if you go down a few blind alleys, you'll achieve more happiness in the end by daring to choose.
When you're living the life of an artist, your work life can be chaotic and unstable. The creative process itself can stir up emotional turmoil, and putting your work out into the world can at times be frightening and demoralizing. It can serve you well to balance your artistic life by providing stability in other areas.
During the 20 years that I was an actress, my professional life was unpredictable. By nature of the profession, I often changed jobs, as well as finding myself frequently out of work. All this along with the stress of facing as many as 5 auditions or interviews during an average week. This can be very unsettling. To balance this, I needed a living situation that I could count on. I found a wonderful apartment that I could settle into for the long-term, as well as using my typing (and later computer) skills to find temporary work to keep my income flowing. In my younger days, I might even work a temp job during the day and perform in dinner theatre evenings and weekends.
Another blessing for me has been the stability of long-term friendships. Early on, our common link was our connection to the theatre. As we've grown older, many of us have moved on to other professions, but the bond of our history and understanding of each other's paths has offered a precious continuity and support system as our friendship has grown over the years.
Each of us has different preferences as to where we enjoy frequent change and where we need to create some sense of permanence. Find your stability where it works best for you, or try one or more of these:
Choosing a creative path takes a lot of courage, but it doesn't require being foolhardy. And compromise is not a dirty word. It's okay, and advisable, to set up for yourself a stable environment so that you can create freely without worrying about where the next meal or emotional support is coming from. Suffering for your art is an outmoded idea that sounds a lot more romantic in novels than it is really is, and you deserve to have a quality life *and* follow your heart.
I found this excellent piece on the web site of the Archetype Group. It is reproduced here with their permission.
Creativity is daring to see things through the eyes of a child. Even if you're overweight, bald and forty-three.
Creativity is appreciating diversity . . . understanding that grass doesn't always have to be green...making the world your canvas.
Creativity is doing things your mother warned would land you a one-way ticket to hell . . . all because you know that something so enjoyable can't really be so bad.
Creativity is innovation...being viewed as being a "little weird," when all you really are is ahead of your time. And, creativity is waiting for others to catch up.
Creativity is doing things because you want to . . . your way. Not needing approval...not worrying about what others think.
Creativity is not knowing where you're going . . . and not caring . . . because the journey is the fun part anyway.
Creativity is seeking solutions . . . finding answers and knowing all along you're right, but never saying I told you so.
Creativity is not getting caught up in fads or trends. It's looking for a little different twist on new and old ideas.
Creativity is being visionary . . . it's seeing beauty where others see mundane. It's being frustrated by people who can't think outside of the nine dots.
Creativity is asking not if the glass is half full or half empty? It's asking if it has to be a glass at all?
Creativity is seeing colors where others see gray. It's being the person in a meeting who always asks why?
Creativity is appreciating accountants, engineers and actuaries . . . and thanking God every day that you don't have to be them.
Creativity is coming up with cutting-edge ideas that others reject because they find them uncomfortable and off the wall . . . and seeing those same ideas being viewed as brilliant by those same people years later.
Creativity is something our twisted society squelches in children and pays big bucks for in adults.
But most of all, creativity isn't a process. Or something you can get out of a book. Or a class you can take in school.
Creativity is a way of life.
It's being comfortable enough to be viewed as being different.
It's knowing that it's healthy not to take life, yourself . . . or anything else too seriously.
Creativity is not being satisfied with the way things have always been done. It's being bored with people who say "I can't." It's not accepting answers just because someone who's higher in the pecking order says so.
Creativity is not having a hidden agenda. It's seeing things as an individual...and not needing consensus to feel validation. It's being misunderstood because people can't put you or your ideas into neat little boxes...as much as they might try. Being creative is not letting them.
Creativity is an inner energy . . . a strength . . . a fuel for the soul. It's an expression...a vision. Creativity is a gift. And most of all, creativity is having fun all the while you take pity on people who only see the world one way.
© Copyright 1997 Archetype Group Inc.,
Green Bay, WI
Sometimes it pays to delay devoting yourself to your art. Spend a few years working at a money job and saving. Gain some life experience. Then you can go on to pursue your creative work full- or part-time knowing that you have some financial security and worldly wisdom to back you up.
"We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what's wrong in your life, or you can focus on what's right. But whatever you focus on, you're going to get more of. Creation is an extension of thought. Think lack, and you get lack. Think abundance, and you get more."
"Be regular and orderly in your daily affairs that you may be violent and original in your work."
(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)
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