Do you dare to do the “impossible”?

Mohammed Ali, a well-known former Professional American Boxer talked about impossible as a state of mind and being.    In his opinion, whatever was described as impossible was temporary.

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Hip-Hop star Jay-Z once included a lyric in a remix to the Kanye West song Diamonds Are Forever stating “Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week…”   

Whatever your musical tastes are and/or your views about boxing, there is some wisdom to this concept of what we view as possible and what we designate as impossible.  What are you doing or not doing because you have categorized certain things as impossible and out of your grasp?

Perhaps there are unopened invitations through people and circumstances for you to travel to a new place and risk getting lost,
explore a new project and risk not knowing where the end result will lead you,
embrace a new talent that you’ve not formally studied….

but you view these as “tasks” “daunting” or perhaps you said you can’t.

Ditch the can’t and break up with impossible and dare yourself to go do something today, this week, this month, or this year that expands beyond the realm of what you thought was not possible.   Dare yourself to be and do the impossible.

Be Your Own Dowsing Rod

IMG_0048Photo borrowed from: The Sirius Project Blog Spot

Dowsing is a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials without the use of scientific apparatus.  Wikipedia.com

Living a creative life and unzipping or unearthing those parts of yourself does take some cultivation and encouragement.  It is also an open invitation to yourself to become your own dowsing rod. You might be familiar with this method from what has been portrayed on television, someone walking around with an apparatus because they are trying to find metals, gems, or something else that is not easily located upon a surface.   Dowsing can also be applied to the self in the context of unearthing parts of yourself, unzipping, or freeing those wild creative or imaginative treasures.

Here are some ways you can become your own dowsing rod:

Inject adventure into your monotony-even if it involves living a few days without making plans.  For many, there is a schedule to adhere to. Whether the schedule is filled with assignments associated with your career, children, or responsibilities to a partner, it becomes monotonous.  Not making plans doesn’t mean not doing anything, it means to restructuring your life OR turning tasks into adventures. Weekends sometimes offer an opportunity for this. There are many expressions that reflect this state of mind: following your intuition or following “the flow” being very popular ones. In other words, more ebb & flow = more adventure. Shanta Lee shared a personal example of how this unzipped for her recently:

“During one particular week, I had someone, an acquaintance, invite me to a Murder Mystery dinner taking place on a Monday evening. This was also the same night as one of my board meetings. I did not know her well, and there was a 100% chance that I would not have known any of the guests who were attending this dinner.  The main premise of the dinner was to show up in your assign character, in costume and play your role.  I had the idea that everyone else attending were experts in this and I was somewhat nervous at first.  The night before I received my character assignment, rummaged through my closet to put together the costume (think 1800’s Bar Wench), and prepared for my Monday evening to be filled with this new experience.    It was beyond exciting, I met new people, and tried something outside of my comfort zone including going out on a Monday night.”

Learn to examine daily situations until you can perceive something interesting in the most common things.  This is a tricky one.   We could use the example of the same route that one would take walking or driving to a given destination, or every day you have the same reflex to look to your right. Why don’t you try to overcome your impulse and look to your left or take a different route.   You might find something new and interesting just by simple ways of switching things up.

Quiet the noise.  We all have our “judge and jury” that live within us as well as the naysayers who will be quick to tell you what can and can not happen. Dowsing is challenging to do in the middle of the traffic of these voices so it is key to go to the quiet place or what we call “quieting the noise” so that you can be lead from within.

Most importantly, baby just be! Tapping into your wildly creative and where your imagination flows involves a state of freedom, ease, and a practice of just being. What do we mean by that? Think back to the child you once were who proudly had the imagination that mirrored a field of wild flowers. What did it feel like to have that freedom and that space to just be?

Want to Tap Your Creativity Like a Maple Tree….Here Some Suggestions that May Help

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self.”
Scott Barry Kaufman, Psychologist at New York University as quoted in the Huffington Post article 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently.

There is a common theme that emerges from individuals who witness the outcomes or products of creativity.  A number of individuals we have talked with over the years seem to think that it is something that they can’t access usually displayed in statements like “You are just creative, I am not a creative type.”  Some of this thinking is due to the belief or misunderstanding that being creative or producing anything inspired by the creative process has to appear in a certain packaging.

This is one of the prevailing misunderstandings about living a wildly creative life.  In fact, one does not need to produce an opus magnum in order to gain validation of their creative merits.  Throwing out any preconceived vision of what the outcome or packaging will be as a result of engaging with your creativity is a step in the right direction.  But there are other markers of creativity and as science makes inroads to studying creativity, something more complex emerges as presented in the Huffington Post piece by Carolyn Gregoire,  18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently,

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways.    Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.”

beingcreativeWhile the process of creativity in our brains is complex, there are some things that individuals can do to feed or nurture their creativity.  In the piece that Gregoire presents, there is value in going through the list to see if there are things that you allow yourself to do during the course of your busy day or week to allow the garden of your wild creativity to flourish.

Do you allow yourself to daydream?  Are you embracing the passions that call to you?  Do you allow time to just escape?  While these are the outlined traits of the highly creative, it does not mean that you can’t adopt some of these habits into your life.

 

Ditch the Recipe to Being Creative

Words of wisdom about tapping into your wildly creative from Mynah Marie.

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Creativity is not a recipe, it’s a way of being, a way of breathing life into our consciousness. Creativity is a great journey within oneself into self-discovery and self-acceptance. Everyone can make its way there but there are no two identical roads, as we are all different human beings. We each need to find our own particular path, which has nothing to do with good or bad, talented or not, successful or not, but all to do with what we truly wish to learn, who we are, and what our full potential calls us to be. Creativity is a calling from a distant voice within, the one that is calling us back home, to our center, where we all truly belong.

When we first think about what being creative means, we usually naturally think about some Art form: writing, music, dancing drawing… Maybe we have a day job that has nothing to do with the Arts and we are looking for something to complement our lives and we start thinking “maybe I should do something creative” in an attempt to fill in this empty feeling that we have inside telling us that we are “missing out on something”. But in reality, creativity starts with the way you process your thoughts and how you perceive and experience the world around you. It’s a way of twisting our perceptions, thoughts and experiences to see everything in a new light, a new angle or having a different approach to situations. This is why the term “creative thinking” is so important because, really, that’s what it is. In order to get something “out” of yourself, you first need to perceive the world and your life in a way that it feeds your heart and mind so that you can take things “in”. This is the whole idea behind finding inspiration, which is a topic that I will address in later posts.

There are very simple tools that anyone can apply to unlock this switch in the brain.  Creative thinking is not a “learning” process, rather, it’s something that is available to all of us which we just need to tap into. And it’s something that once open will influence all aspects of your life: how you deal with issues, how you interact with others and how you perceive Life and everything that it implies. So… that’s all great but what does it mean in real life? How does someone go from rational to creative thinking?

creativity2The key to creative thinking is to understand the process of stimulating your imagination. Everyone is different so we all have different things that inspire us more than others. Anything that you will do that is out of your ordinary routine is a good place to start. It can be as easy as taking a different road to work in the morning, or discovering a new place to go out, or taking the time to watch a movie that is a bit different than what you would normally go for. The main idea behind this is that routine and reflexes are usually imagination killers. Do you know this feeling of having to go from the same point A to the same point B everyday and always taking the same road? After some time, you don’t even notice the road anymore. Sometimes you might even daydream and when you get to your destination you wake up and realize that actually you are so used to this routine that you didn’t notice anything at all on your way there, barely noticed if it’s sunny or not outside. Why? Because after some time, and this is the whole imagination killer concept, you stop paying attention because you take for granted that everything is the same as yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. After some time of being in a routine, you stop asking yourself questions, you loose your curiosity and interest, the mind goes numb and all the little everyday miracles that could brighten up your day go unnoticed, lost in habits and lack of interest.

Most importantly, imagination is a muscle. The more you use it, the more it flows. Of course, we all have our ups and downs and even the most creative artists are sometimes faced with what we call the artist’s block. But overall, you can’t lose. The hardest thing in this process is usually to open the “imagination tap” in the brain again. Once it’s open, the only thing left to do is to explore it and, of course, to HAVE FUN WITH IT ! Yes, fun!! This should be the whole point of our desire to explore our own creativity: because it’s fun and beautiful and it gives life a completely new palette of colours to play with.

I know that for many of you out there, even for established artists, creative thinking is sometimes more of a source of pressure then pleasure. Society teaches us that we need to be “good” at what we do or not do it. We need to “perform” and we have the fear of judgments, of what other people will think of us and how they will perceive our work.  These are very important and common problems that I will address in later posts. But to start with I will just say this: when it comes to developing our creativity, we are our own major obstacle and our own worst enemy. This is why I’ve decided to start this blog: because I really believe that everyone needs a bit of magic in their lives, and anyone can access it. One of the things that fills me the most with sadness is when I hear someone say: “Oh! You’re an artist! How wonderful! I wish I had some kind of artistic talent as well but really, I have none…” or worse “oh, I love music (or dancing or drawing, whatever it is) but I’m to afraid to really get out there and do it…” . It makes me wish I could help this person realize that really, it doesn’t take much more other than just a willingness to grow as a human being and to be curious enough to discover, try new things and explore… everything. All situations and experiences have something to teach us, however boring and ordinary they seem, as long as we are ready to see everything with the eye of our imagination.

 *Source for main image: http://www.canstockphoto.com

More About Mynah Marie
Street Cats Records founder, Co-Founder of Wildly Creative.  Mynah Marie is also a Singer, songwriter, pianist, accordionist and composer.

Meet Isabel Abbott…Writer, Activist, Speaker

 IsabelI am a writer and activist and speaker. A baker of pies and lover of learning. A feminist and a freedom seeker. An artist of salt water and maps, adaptation and liberation. I work with those crossing thresholds: sex and unlocked voices, birth and death, artists and seekers coming home to the body and holy human.  I am co-creator of In Her Skin and the founder of Writing Freedom Society.
I write for print publications and online and will be writing and studying as a presidential scholar fellowship recipient at Chicago Theological Seminary this year, exploring intersections of embodiment and ethics, gender and presence and cartography of faith.  Check out Isabel at: www.isabelabbott.com & www.listsandletters.com

Wildly Creative: Creativity is . . .

Isabel:  Both a way of being and of doing to me. It is life force, and the human movement toward creation, collecting and gathering from the shards and pieces, the moments and hints of illumination, and placing them together in a way that makes new sense, makes meaning, sometimes makes beauty, makes conversation and connection. It is about connection. And creativity is also about ways of seeing, the capacity and choice to look at a thing in a different way, or from a different angle and perspective, and imagine what before that moment had never existed in exactly that constellation. It is also pure joy. The surrender to the fire and the grief of the ashes and the joy in our own evolution.

Wildly Creative:  What is your advice that you would offer to anyone wishing to design their own creative life?

Isabel: Don’t think so hard, or try so hard. Creativity, a creative life, is not about doing this thing over here, or that over there. It is not a diagram or a chart or a path with neatly defined steps. And so maybe we don’t have to give so much effort to working at having a creative life, and we could just be here fully alive in the ins and outs of things. So I suppose I would say, make a royal effing mess, and then let it burn, and go make another one. Be open to not knowing, to the unknown, to the liminal and the cracks of light that pierce through and how after that the room you always knew familiar, even in the dark, is now a mystery to you. Remain ruthlessly devoted to your own curiosity and compulsions, those threads that tug at you and stitch through all the pieces of your days and life and all these years later you are still wide awake at night, wondering the mechanics of a tractor or the texture of silk or why the women in the statues you saw as a child never had heads. Invite them in and follow where they lead. And then go do as you do, be as you be, and to hell with everything else.

Wildly Creative:  What is the advice you wish someone shared with you about pursuing your passions and feeding your creative self?

Isabel:  Though I’m not sure I would have listened (I don’t like being told what to do), I would say that I wish someone had pressed upon me the importance of having a room and money and body and life of my own. These things did not happen for me until later in my life, and they changed everything, and I would not go back to the other way again. I think for me it is about freedom. To pursue my passions and feed my own creative self is to have the freedom to truly follow where that leads, as opposed to what will be most “marketable” or what someone else thinks I should be creating or doing or birthing. Making my own money, feeding myself in every sense of the word, has allowed me the gift of knowing my creativity and my creations arise from my own Source, and my own heartbeats and my own vocation. I pay for my own space and I have my own space, and it is here where I can write and create and be alone, and for me, this is vital. I suppose the simplest way to say it is, I wish someone had told me that all these things are mine, belonging to me. Because to know this and live this, is to have the agency to be fully alive in my own creative expression.

Wildly Creative: Creatives are usually the ones breaking the rules and little bits of misfits. How are you making sure to hold true to breaking the rules?

Isabel:  Usually it feels more like choosing to just go within and do things my own way rather than follow the program or steps given, and in the process, this often means I’m breaking “rules” and walking on the outskirts or fringe, not fully fitting in with the stronger current of how things are done. I attend to this by choosing to step away for periods of time. To not read or take in any information “out there” so that I might be able to more clearly hear my own voice. When there are so many voices, so much noise, it can be hard to distinguish what is a voice and what is an echo. And I want to know and have a voice. For me this means being in the quiet sometimes. And from this place, when I do return to the wider world, whether I’m following rules or breaking them, it is still my choice, arising and originating in my own self, which is crucial to the integrity of my creative visions.

Tell me about a time you were seduced….Seduction & The Road to Creativity

A personal story by one of the Wild Ones, Shanta Lee

“Tell me about a time you were seduced?”  My friend asked during one of our many ongoing conversations.

e8fed80983d3750f4e669e2d26c6a4b6It was one of my friends across the ocean, this time in Pakistan, asking me many questions about life and culture here in America.  As we traded stories about our different realities, somehow we landed on this topic of seduction.    I had a hard time answering this particular question because of the way I once would’ve answered as an adolescent hungry to launch into adulthood versus my understanding of things after some life experience.  You see, this question carried me to the first time I set the goal of wanting to become a seductress beyond any of the tales that were spun about Cleopatra.   But as I matured,  the concept of seduction became more about creativity more than anything else.

Let me explain.  I was a overly sheltered child and as I grew into teenage-hood,  I became more curious about the world inhabited by the adults.  In between my studies, I found ways to  kidnap my mother’s historic romance novels.  I used my weekend nights to dive into the pages of these various stories of desire and faux-romance as told by these various romance authors.  Somehow, I thought these authors (along with any other bits of information I could pilfer from various sources) were spinning incantations for how I could step into the role as a seductress.  Upon hearing the footsteps of my father or mother just outside of my bedroom door, I would throw these various romance novels under my bed thinking that they would remain as my undiscovered treasure.

When-is-the-last-time
I squirreled away my fascination with these stories and others that nourished my budding thoughts that I wanted to become one who seduced the world.  But in my 15-year-old mind, this was tied largely to using intelligence, sexuality and physical attributes.  All of the things that I did not yet grasp nor understand as a young adult.  My stockpiled information of half-cooked theory was soon married to my non-existent experience of my chosen vocation (as a seductress) in life.  This later became great material for many strolls down memory lane which included many stops at what once was naivete avenue.

As I gained some life experience, the art of seducing and being seduced became tied to my drive to create and was more about invitation than anything else.  How could I invite individuals into my world or transport them through my dance performance, my words or photography?  What were the things that woo’d me in such a way that I temporarily forgot myself?   When my friend asked this question during our conversation,  I thought about my 15-year-old self and then about all of the things in the world that seduced me:

The images in various documentaries  I watched as a child of distant places;
The stories shared by Margaret Mead from her work as a cultural anthropologist;
A melody or piece of music that brings me further into a present moment;
The unanswered questions that I had about the way various things worked;
The way the sky looks on top of a hill when it appears as if diamonds have been tossed upward.

Seduction became less about the famous Cleopatra story that involved her unrolling out of a carpet to get a man’s attention.  While there was a string of creativity within that story, I further evolved my thinking by looking at seduction beyond the realm of physical but as a vehicle for transporting the spirit.  In other words, when we allow ourselves to create and when we witness the things that have been birthed through the creative process, we are seduced and simultaneously invited to journey away from the mundane.

I am still working to achieve my goal of seducing the world and perhaps transporting individuals through ability to create.  However, I think it has expanded beyond anything that could’ve been contained within my 15-year-old consciousness!

Why Street Cats ?: One Artist’s Vision to Start a Record Label-Part 2

Street Cats postAs told by Mynah Marie, Singer, Songwriter, pianist, accordionist, composer, and Street Cats Records Founder.

Now with the story.

It was in January 2015, I was in Mumbai trying to fix my broken heart after the break up of a 2- years relationship (yes, I know, it’s a classic). So one night I decide (for the first time after the breakup) to go out at this very cool club called the Blue Frog. So I’m sitting at the table with a couple of musician friends and this amazing woman who I had just met, waiting for the show to start. Fifteen minutes later, guess who shows up at the bar? Of course, the last person on Earth I wanted to see, my X (it’s Murphy’s rule every single time, when you don’t wanna see someone, that’s when you’ll run into them, for sure). As I could see him coming up to the bar and inevitably to our table I felt my blood turn cold. I just knew I had to get out of there, and fast. Right away, this woman who we were with felt my deep discomfort. She looked at me quickly and said under her breath so that no one else could hear: “ Do you want to go for a walk?” I was so grateful at that moment to have someone feeling some compassion for my pain that, of course, I accepted right away.

Out we went, roaming the alleyways around the club, me frantically smoking cigarettes the way I do when I get very emotional and letting out some steam and frustration of the whole situation. After roughly 20min of this I got a bit tired and decided to just sit on a little concrete platform (basically sitting on the ground). I told my newly made friend that she shouldn’t sit with me (for those of you who never been in India, let me just say this to put you in context, the streets of Mumbai are in general extremely dirty. It’s usually really not a good idea to sit on the ground in the middle of a dark alley at night, if you see what I mean). She was dressed so nicely, with a beautiful sexy dress and high heels and all that jazz, while I was dressed as usual, with torn jeans, tank top and flip-flops. And that’s when it happened. As I sat on the ground she just came and sat right next to me. I tried to protest saying, “Honestly you really don’t need to sit down with me, I’m just feeling a bit tired and want to finish smoking this… I’m a bit of a street cat that way.” And she replied, “Oh that’s ok! I’m a bit of a street cat myself and loads of my friends are stray cats so I really don’t mind.”

At that moment something hit me. Being a street cat wasn’t a common expression for me or for my friends at the time. Yet, at the other end of the world, someone very different then me instinctively knew what it meant when I said it.

A few weeks later, I was flying back to Canada with the purpose to establish my own record company. When I was faced with the hard task to choose a name for my label, I remembered that moment in the alley. The connection we both felt towards one another coming from this feeling of being recognized, understood for who you really are in a world where we usually go undercover. The vision became clearer and clearer as I was slowly understanding and processing what it was that I was truly trying to accomplish. Meeting other street cats out there and making bridges to cross for the ones I knew already: people with amazing lives, amazing stories and dreams, artists living in the outskirts of society with something interesting and meaningful to say. People who recognize each other in that way of life made of craziness, art, strange people, beautiful stories and with the power to follow their instincts, the creator in them, always. Build bridges between all of us around the world, unite forces and then shoot for the stars, together.

I know in my heart I will always be some kind of a street cat.

What about you?

Mynah M.