Category Archives: Creative Philosophy

Medici Effect for Creativity

Just yesterday, my teenage daughter and I were running some errands in our local shopping centre.
I had to pop into the National Geographic shop, and she was delighted to show Ned and I, the big dinosaur head that roars.
A few minutes later, we walked by a donut shop and she asked me if she could have one.
I deferred, telling her about the lack of nutritional value and rubbish in donuts.
Finally, as if to convince her, I said;
“You’ll get fat if you eat dinosaurs” !!
Oops!  I meant to say ‘donuts’!  Hilarious!
We laughed and laughed!!
But it got me thinking about how our brains and our creativity and how the two things join to create whole new imaginative fun!
What a great example of how our brain takes a whole lot of puzzle pieces and puts them back together in some random order.  I love it!
And it all goes on just below our consciousness….
Imagine the potential we have when we delve into the worlds of art, music, song, drama, live performance, opera, colour, sound, and friendly conversation….when our brains can take two or more elements from these sources of inspiration, and mix them into a creative mash.
We human beings are pretty amazing creatures, don’t you think   : )
I’m so happy to be one.  Aren’t you?

Sacrifices for a creative life

(251) Your surprise surprises me, originally uploaded by Sarajea.

Today, I sat in the dentists chair for over 3 hours and had time to ponder. Today, I noticed my super hairy legs and realised that I choose to sacrifice some things for a creative moment in time.
Shaving my legs can never beat an opportunity to create.

I began to list some of the others things I give up so that my creative flame can continue to roar.

Creativity begs the attention of TIME and SPACE, and as we each only have a 24 hour daily dose, we are entitled to be picky as to what we choose to spend our minutes and hours and seconds on.

Any artist, singer, painter, craftsman, sportsperson, activist and an “Everyday Creative” knows that to be good at something, there must be effort. Effort implies that SOME THING will be achieved. (Some THING is open to intepretation, of course. It will be YOUR thing) This striving requires dedicated time, time that could be used for so many things.

I suppose, all people who succeed in creative endeavours make a decision to spend their daily allocation of hours/minutes/seconds on the creative process. As everyday creatives, we can do that too.

So, the question is “What would you, or could you, sacrifice for creativity? ”
The dictionary says, to sacrifice, is to “give up something (usually valuable) for the sake of something else.

For the sake of creativity, I am prepared to sacrifice many things.
Here are my top 10.

1. Having hair-free legs
2. Elaborate three course dinners
3. Regular eye brow waxing ( is this a theme? )
4. Blonde foils every 6 weeks
5. Hours aimlessly wandering around the shops
6. Scheduled play dates ( I limit to one per week)
7. Facebook (sad, but true)
8. I eat microwavable 3 minute porridge for breakfast (I know- terrible but just as yummy!)
9. Regular exercise (this could just be an excuse!!)
10. Television. Of course. Biggest creative time zapper of them all.

Tell me, what are you prepared to sacrifice for your creativity??

Creative interference and how to set up helpful boundaries to prevent it

Life as it happens is sometimes a creative interference.

I have been reading through some of my creative notes this past week, and I wrote that ‘allergies are symptons of interference’.  So when we have the wrong diet, the wrong rhythms, the wrong education, the wrong life choices (for us, of course) we become ‘allergic’.

I think this is true of creativity too.  With too many impressions, too much negativity, too much to do, we find we become ‘allergic’ to the creative process.

We actually can’t do it.

I know that when I feel like this, I have to say stop- to something.

Saying yes to everything (in work or fun) is an allergy-provoking decision.

We have to set up our ‘creative boundaries’ if we want to create.
Here are 5 to think about.

1. Remember to set time aside for creativity.  A “creativity schedule”, even for 10 minutes a day, keeps our creative flame healthy and roaring!
2. Find a bit of down time.  Set aside one day a week to just ‘veg’.  This is stewing time.
3. Break a habit.  Drive a new way to work.  Eat out on a weeknight.  Turn off the tv and play scrabble.
4. Know your boundaries.  Say NO to excess work/invitations/meaningless do’s
5. Eat well and exercise most days.  Walk for your creative jiggle-jaggle.

Do you have others??

Creative Perfectionism is a lie. Don’t let it stop your making adventures.

I get cross with crafty books sometimes.  Actually, I get cross with the ‘stylists’ whose job it is to make handmade things look perfect.  My crafty bits NEVER look like the photos I see.

(Come to think of it, my meals never look like the pics in food mags or books either!)

I love styling, and the look of things as much as the next person BUT I am a little afraid that the average Jo (or Joe) might never have a go or experience the joy of making something with their own hand, because they fear their work WON’T LOOK LIKE THE PICTURE!!

So what is the answer?

I believe it is looking at real examples of things people have made by hand.

Check out the handmade knitted jumpers in op shops, visit markets for a look at recycled and refashioned clothes, shop or browse online at
Etsy for inspiration, scour your relatives and friends homes and observe their handmade treasures. School fetes and festivals are also great places to see real-life, handmade things on show.

Real life beats perfectionism every time.

I’m reminded of the possible myth that Native American women purposely add a mistake into their weaving of threads and in basketry. One possible reason for this is the thinking that only the Gods create perfectly and acknowledges the necessity that anything man-made must be imperfect

The website SergeSew quotes some Quilting myths to give some idea of where this originated.

“This myth has various possible origins. One is from the Greek legend of Arachne the weaver. Another is found in Navajo weaving practices. Most likely the quilting version of this myth came from the belief that Amish and Mennonite women put a mistake in each quilt because only God is perfect therefore it would be prideful to make a perfect quilt. Though some purposeful mistakes may have been for religious reasons it appears for others it was more a matter of superstition. In reality all quilters make mistakes, it’s almost impossible to make a perfect quilt. As making a purposeful mistake was never a common practice a mistake found in an antique quilt is unlikely to be purposeful”.

Goes to show, we all make mistakes. Let us love our little imperfections and create some more!!!

Objectivity and Perspective, a new look at the way we view things in life.

Years ago, I was at a conference and walked in (late!) to what I thought was my afternoon workshop.

The participants were asked to introduce themselves, and give a reason they had chosen to come along.

Listening to their answers, I realised I was in the wrong place! But I was stuck as I couldnt leave again without looking completely stupid!

Soon it was my turn so I acted flustered, and asked the circle of introduction to come back to me at the end. I soon realised that this talk had some connection to ‘God’ and wondered what I had got myself in for. But, that interest group was one of the best learnings I have ever had. A mistake I was there??
I don’t think so!!!

The facilitator of the group, I later found out, was a nun with the Christian Science church. ( I had never heard of it). She posed a question about objectivity. Could it be possible that the stories of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John might not be the full picture? And that there may have been others with slightly different viewpoints who could have expanded the picture for us?

She said it like this.

If we all stood around to watch a story/situation unfolding in the middle of a field, we would all have a different take on the story depending on 1. where we stood and, 2.the things that might have blocked a portion of our view. A tree, a person in the way, that extra distance from the field or being up super close.with a restricted view of the whole….

I remember this when I am faced with any challenging situation. Our task is to try to find as many different viewpoints and then try to see the full picture. Clarity of thinking comes from objectivity- not emotion, not fear, not coercion, not friendship, not ‘solidarity’, not ‘wanting to belong’. We might not always like the picture we see, but at least it will be truthful.

I believe in truth, beauty and goodness. I try to live life by these three things. I know (from prior experience) that not everyone wants to see the truth, that it is easier to plod along in a somewhat happy life, that finding the truth may demand change, and that sometimes humans dont want things to change. I accept this. We all need to make our own decisions in life.

But just as some people are willing to push the truth under the rug, other people are wanting transparency, clarity, and Truth.

I stand up for truth, even when it would sometimes be easier to duck my head and hide under the rug with others….

A blank wall: an opportunity for re-invention

At the beginning of the month, I took down all our family photos in preparation for my husband to do a plaster and paint renovation on our lounge, kitchen and halls.
How strange it felt, those first few days, to see plain white space.
Empty walls.
(and lots of dirty marks!  Ugghhh!)
 The walls are now clean, but my husband has been otherwise occupied so we are living with empty walls for a little longer.
I’m beginning to like it!
I can’t help but think that a blank wall is a metaphor for ‘cleaning the slate’ of life.
Re-invention.  New learning.  Letting go.
Sometimes, I try to listen objectively (without engaging in the emotion) to the chatter of my mind. It seems there are three stories on high rotation!!  True friendship, marriage and children feature heavily in these scripts, and some of my thoughts shock me with their negative spin.  Mindfully paying attention to fleeting thoughts is a really interesting practice  ; )
One of the rotations is a story that is more than 2.5 years old.  Done and dusted, we’ve all moved on, yet sometimes, my mind just won’t let it go.  I wonder if other people experience this futile repetition, even after acceptance, of a past situation?
So a blank wall to me suggests that getting rid, once and for all, of things you don’t need, don’t like or that don’t fit is not only possible, it is as easy as taking down the old pictures and stories, and replacing them with something new.  I like this.
Every morning, as I sip my first joyous cup of hot tea, I look at the wall and remember.
I am in charge of what I put up there. 
I can choose the things I have (or don’t have) in my life.
And I can change my mind at any time!  Simple.
Right now, I’m enjoying a little blank space but visions of artistic wall installations are brewing…
Oh, I can’t wait to see what appears….