Creating Community-Imagine a World Fulfilling our Unique Life Contribution

For the last 15 years I have been taking an interest in the welfare of healthy communities, and before that my parents raised me to give back. I have learned that with the principle of creativity, we can reclaim our souls, our families, and our communities from the corroding disease of apathy and address our own ambivalence towards change once and for all. Creativity is not the end all principle. We will continue to need to lead lives of character, but creativity is an incredibly powerful catalyst in the fight of change and improvement. Creativity is also the key to discovering our personal vision and voice. In order to build communities in “wellness,” we will need to consider the following points:

  • Taking care of yourself and your family is the FIRST priority.
  • Understanding the difference between the scarcity vs the abundance mindset will unblock creative community processes.
  • We are a world divided by politics. We must break free from the “either or” mindset that is spoon fed to us sometimes on a minute by minute basis.
  • Realizing the amazing, powerful creative potential dormant within our communities.
  • Life in community can be positive and productive. We will receive the energy that we are sending forth.
  • Do we have an obligation to the greater community? Discovering and labeling the reasons why we should all care.
  • Once set in motion it is easier to stay in motion. Get to work. Do good continuously.
  • Being a part of community means that we have a responsibility to nurture and care for us. Self-care.

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Getting out and throwing ourselves into improving our communities will feel like a small accomplishment if our own families are suffering and unhealthy. As a social worker I have seen over and over again the difference a social support system can make within a person’s life. Without a support group an individual is at risk of needing already taxed governmental systems to fill in the gaps. This would not be a big deal if the number of people needing such a safety net was not on the rise. Family dynamics can be beyond difficult and for some even dangerous. For those people, seeking safety is of utmost importance–that is what the system should be there for. For the rest of us, we can delve deep within to ask is there something more that we can be doing to strengthen ourselves and our own families.

I feel blessed to have been taught from a young age that there is enough. Scarcity thinking creates fear. We worry that impending doom is right around the corner. We are taught that there is only so much money to go around etc. We should not live in fear of running out. I see every day the resilience of families facing tough times. Resources are everywhere. This does not mean to be wasteful or foolish in our stewardships. It is quite the opposite. Abundance means that we find gratitude in simplicity. Abundance is available to each one of us, but we need to be open to that energy. This is ever so true within our communities. This is not some kind of socialism principle were each person is obligated to put all they have into a government pot to receive back their share. It is quite opposite. It is a principle as free flowing as the wind. It must be allowed to move with free will and intention.

Speaking of politics, now more than ever we need to become aware of the little thingy called an agenda. When it comes to our platforms, our leaders, and our media they ALL have them (agendas). We are living within this illusion of divided-ness. This is a lie. We are all connected. We are all part of the same life, the same planet, the same universe, and we are on the SAME team! When we quit buying what they are selling individually and collectively we are going to do amazing things together.

Have you ever stopped to consider what percentage of the population within our communities is living a life tapping into a high level of character and creativity? What does such a person look like? Perhaps we could agree on folks from the past such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Albert Einstein, & Martin Luther King Jr. These may feel like unreachable marks to hit for role models, but are they not individuals who lived lives of integrity coupled with high levels of creativity? Okay, so maybe not each one of us has the IQ to be another Einstein, but rest assured, by tapping into these powerful principles we can be, we can LIVE lives so much more than we are at the present. Considering the possible difference we could make if we only were able to increase the creativity in say 25% of our communities is exponential.

Okay, so this is when I hear the grumbling starting. A common complaint that I hear is “Nobody will listen to me.” They are basically torn with inner turmoil asking, who am I to make change happen or to work with those difficult people there? This is at the point that we need to stop and remember our experiences are a reflection of our personal beliefs and personal energy. You are incredibly important in the process of progress and change within your community. Search within to understand deep seeded beliefs about your personal worth and relationships with others and heal. While healing do whatever you can. Let go of judgment for yourself and for others around you. Be open to new experiences. Be open to the now.

After we address that we are in fact invaluable in our communities and so, so needed sometimes, may times the apathy sets in. We experience ambivalence to change. We may ask what good is it really going to do any way? I am busy. My family is busy. I have a whole lifetime. We possess a litany of rationalizations. Only deep down within our hearts do we know the answer to the question of responsibility and stewardship. My point would be a lot more of us are than are letting on. Perhaps we do not know where to start. Perhaps we are living to capacity already. The question, “Is the health of our communities our personal responsibility?” If the answer within our soul is yes, we can be asking ourselves what is our next step.

Once we figure out our “next step,” we must get in motion. With the study of cell in human biology we learn that a catalyst will come along to start a process. When that process begins to happen it takes less energy to continue. This is the same in life. We sometimes need a catalyst to come along to move us to action. This may come to us in the form of an idea (creativity). Once we act on that idea and begin work we must endure by feeding the cycle of receiving more and more creativity. Our catalyst spurs us to action just as enzymes will within a cell function. Creativity can and should be continuously nurtured to remain pliable and active. It is like any other skill that can be strengthened through practice and habitual use. If you want to super charge your creativity use it in conjunction with a higher vision/purpose like community welfare. The energy for using our time, talents, and lives for the better good are powerful and sustaining.

We have come full circle. We are back to self-care. While doing all of these great things for the collective, it is not about losing our personal identity in the process. When we let go of taking care and nurturing ourselves, we surely will be the losers. The danger will be allowing the gaping needs to overtake and overwhelm you. It is about keeping perspective. Imagining yourself as part of a relay team is a good visualization to stay or become healthy. You do your part. You take a rest. Your part will come again. Do it again and rest again. Make it a point to find healthy outlets that you love that strengthen and relax you as a person. For some this may be crafting, art, gardening, running, walking, singing, journaling,etc. You find what feeds your soul and participate in it frequently.

In conclusion, our communities need the individual talents and strengths of each of its members. We are responsible. We will not find wellness within those structures through government agendas, but through our own pure motives for wholeness and unity. We have amazing and powerful untapped talent and creativity all around us and great things will happen when we begin to utilize the human potential many times lying dormant. Furthermore, it is time for all of us to look within and see what we could be doing differently and then go out and actually do it. All the while, we must continue in our personal quest of creativity. In that we will find joy and wellness. We will reach closer to living a life in a world were more of us our fulfilling our unique life contribution.

(Originally published early 2013 on Habitat Earth)

Sunday Morning—Full Circle

How often do we get caught up in a cycle of exhaustion? Are we aware of the damage that we do to our mind, body, and spirit when we go too hard for too long? The truth is we need rest from our work.

Many of us remember that God rested on the seventh day, but do we understand the significance of this? It is unfortunate that people have felt this to be a imposed belief because it is a rule for health for the mind, body, and spirit. For the last 14 years, I have practiced rest, rejuvenation, and spiritual focus on Sunday. In the beginning the rewards of this practice were profound, and I have found that when I closely observe for the day a routine that nurtures my soul, such peace comes to me that it sustains me for the following week.

How does this pertain to creativity? Well, it stills the loudness of the world and helps to bring to focus that quiet voice of intuition. This is a hard phenomenon to explain because it is one that needs to be practiced to be observed This is one reason why I titled this series Practical Creativity.

A level of understanding comes from reading and mentally comprehending it, but the understanding that makes the real impact is at the level of practice and eventually habit. This is not only the case for today’s practice, but for each day of the week. Each day a practice was given to work on and each of those rewards of added creativity will only truly comprehended as they are put into practicality.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading my daily thoughts as much as I have enjoyed and looked forward to writing them for you. Happy creating! It is your nature. 

Saturday Morning—We Are Not Alone

Have  you ever had the experience of taking a university course and having your view widened? How often do we put ourselves into these learning situations that encourage us to open our minds and learn from those just ready to pass on their skills and knowledge? The sixth day in the Practical Creativity series focuses primarily on the importance of mentorship, diversity and community.

On the sixth day God created animals of every kind. He then created man and when he saw that man was alone, he created a companion for him. From this story we learn that we are not meant to live out our lives in solitude. The plan always was for us to have a community to count on and grow with. We learn that there is no such thing as a self-made man/woman. At our very foundation, we are built with societies that rely on one another for food, goods, and services.

There is magic in putting your head together with other people who are skilled at creativity and flow. Stephen Covey called this phenomenon synergy. It is when new ideas are formed between two or more people that are better than what than anything that any of them would have come to separately. In this process we find circular education as the teacher and the student learn simultaneously. Image

Friday Morning—Creatures of Flight

How many unhealthy ideas do we have regarding parts of ourselves that in actuality are qualities that make us beautiful? Artists have been called lazy, crazy, poor, irresponsible, impulsive, and creative children sometimes go through school being made to feel less intelligent than their more logical counterparts. We’ve all heard these judgments and most likely taken some of them to heart. One of my favorite quotes on this subject is by Einstein. He says, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing that it is stupid.”

On the fifth day it was told that God created the foul of the air and the fish of the oceans. The creatures of flight teach the creative key concepts to understanding their own free natures. We have discussed parallels between birds, bees, and butterflies on many occasions. These creatures of flight simply accept their nature and fulfill the purpose of their creation. Throughout their lives, they freely flutter, soar, and buzz with purpose. The idea of them being caught, trapped, or having their wings clipped easily brings sorrow to the heart. How often do the biases or prejudices of others clip our wings, trap us in a jar, or anger us where we lash out and in the process lose our stingers? All of these dangers may lead to our creative demise.

We must realize that each response that we give, no matter the circumstances has a consequence. We numb a little of ourselves when we become hard and staying tuned to our creativity becomes difficult and eventually stunted, and we are not able to fulfill our own purpose. So what is the antidote? I would suggest deep understanding and celebration of self. Just as the creatures of flight are beautiful beyond measure, so are we. When self exploration is difficult, studying other creatives whom we admire will open our eyes to the exquisite work already done and possibilities that lie ahead.Image

Thursday Morning—Nurturing the Light

ImageHow often are we intimidated by what we believe our creative outcome should be? Hopefully we have began to address some of the blocks stemming from fear and feelings of inadequacy over the last three days, but even if we haven’t, we are ready to create today.

For the last three days we have been musing over the symbolism in the Judeo-Christian creation story. Something that  I have appreciated about growing up reading the scriptures is the learning and examples found for living life. The story of the creation is no different. In fact, I couldn’t believe the parallels that I found that corresponded with the daily focus of Mused. I believe this is because it is a page about overcoming some of the most difficult blocks that keep us from creating. Each day of this story gives an example of the positive “to do” when many times we talk about the “don’t do” or negative thinking or behavior that prevents us from “doing.”

On the fourth day the moon and the stars shone through the darkness creating light for the night sky. How often do we feel in the dark in our minds when trying to think of what we are going to make? There is light in the darkness. It may be very faint at first with only the light of a star, but  as we look toward it will shine on our minds and spirits.

This light is the idea however small or large, but perhaps the fact that it shines through the dark will give us resolve. We now understand that this is a natural part of creation. We know we are not the first creative with this experience. Maybe today the best we can do is create a loaf of bread or a batch of cookies, but with real purpose and awareness. There are numerous ways to be a creator. We create continuously much of the time without a lot of consciousness to its process. Today lets be aware of the process of nurturing that light where ideas spring from and help it to grow brighter so that tomorrow perhaps it will be easier to find, to see.

Wednesday Morning—Nature in Motion

How often do we feel frustrated by our lack of abilities or feel stuck not able to create? At some point to we start to wonder whether we are creative at all? If we only knew how important creativity is all around us, we would accept this powerful part of ourselves without such doubt.

We have been discussing the Judeo-Christian creation story and learning how the concepts of each day teach us about creativity. Perhaps this would be an interesting study for other creation stories. If one comes to mind, please share it with me so we can ponder new ideas together. As this creation story goes, God separates the oceans from the dry land and vegetates the earth by planting seeds of all kinds revealing a living, breathing, life sustaining earth.

We only need to spend time in nature to notice this process of cyclic creation at work at all times. That tells us that it is a true principle that we too only need to learn how to tap into. We have done it many times probably without noticing. Perhaps living within so many walls separates us from our true nature. So when feeling a little stuck in the creative process going out for some time outdoors can be a powerful way to see the flow all around us. Children are good examples of people who have not yet put up blocks to this process. They fall into creation naturally and many times fully.

Maybe this is a good time to recap. Monday we learned to use our imagination along with our abilities to plan and execute our dreams and goals. Tuesday we found that we are interconnected with our divine source. Today we found that we have not been left without example, but have are in the middle of creativity in constant motion. This is easy to see in the soil, the water, the plants, and the trees. Maybe this is time for me to ask you a question. When you have noticed this in your life what feelings have come? I ask this because for me, the feelings have been a sense of wonder, of humility, and of invigoration. Pride, perfection, and stubbornness (creativity blockers) have fallen away.

So with this natural cycle of creation around us at work at all times is it not easy to see that we too are children of a planet, a system that creates? Even ourselves nature in motion?

Tuesday Morning—Discovering Our Interconnection

How often do we forget that our very chemical make ups are part of this earth, part of the water, part of the atmosphere? When we forget, we go around feeling alone, disconnected and unsupported. Perhaps the burden to fill these human needs falls heavily on the other people in our lives who may also be struggling to belong. This interaction perpetuates the cycle of loneliness and we could end up trapped here reliving a painful experience over and over again throughout our lives. Yet, we do not need to live this way because support is all around us. We are part of the source of the universe and it is part of us.

In the second day of creation God separates the waters and the firmament. This brings to mind simple chemical changes as we boil water and it evaporates into a gaseous state. Hydrogen and oxygen are both present in the liquid and gas, but the bonds are broken while in the gaseous state. They are still interacting and attracted though because they easily become water once again when the circumstances are right. We must remember that we are also attracted to our source and are just waiting for the right circumstances to come back together.

When we realize how really connected we are, it is easy to be open to learn what that source is waiting to share with us. It has been calling all along, and when we surrender life will be congruent or in harmony with the this rule. We will find spending time in solitude is the key to actualizing this interdependence.

We cannot skip this step if we expect to find our voice and our creative thumbprint. We must be brave and embark on our own adventure. Even if that adventure is an hour or two weekly when we go in search of what the universe has to teach us. We get that feeling that we want to visit that old antique store a town away or we feel the desire to go fishing. There are so many possibilities. Our list of places to go will be unique to each of our needs. What’s calling us?  Let’s try something new. Let our courage remind us that this is not so much a leap, but footsteps into what only appears mysterious. Because what we once thought was mysterious will be recognizable as what we have always known.