Friday, 27 November 2015

The Dance of Creator and Environment

Some theories of creativity put greater stock on the traits of the individual such as intelligence, personality, talent or genetics and others emphasize the confluence of factors including not only the individual, but also the environment and the field or domain of their creative work (Weisberg, 2006; Paine-Clemes, 2015). Although creativity happens within the environment that surrounds the creative person, I prefer to think that individual and environment are not only the prerequisites to creativity happening, but in fact the very basis of creativity. Our environment is interrelated with us at each moment of our experience. The premise of mindfulness suggests that each moment is an opportunity to truly live. Thus the best model of creativity for me is “the encounter of the intensely conscious human being with his or her world” (May, 1975).

My own creative experiences in work and play support this view.  Whether we shape our environment to support our creative ambitions or whether it surprises us with unexpected inspiration that calls us like a muse to creative acts, the product of individual and environment is what shapes the resulting work. This is most obvious perhaps in a dance partnership, where individual talent contributes along with the music, the partnership and the mood to produce the creative effect. The power of the environment is equally present in all creative work.
There is a lot of discussion around motivations or whether we are driven by innate need or some external reward to be creative (Weisberg, 2006). I think that this too is part of the environment that contributes to shaping the creative work. No matter whether my creative efforts are the product of employment or as part of a hobby, various creative works I have developed, contributed to or witnessed created by others prove this. A holistic view of the interaction we have with our surroundings is essential to consider how and why we are creative.


May, R. (1975). The courage to create. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company Inc.

Paine-Clemes, B. (2015). Creative synergy: Using art, science and philosophy to self-actualize your life. Virginia Beach, VA: 4th Dimension Press.

Weisberg, R.W. (2006). Creativity: Understanding innovation in problem solving, science, invention and the arts. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Your Attention Please

The authors of Living Deeply identify four essential elements of transformative practices: intention, discipline, guidance, and attention. Of the four, I think that ‘attention’ is the most interesting. The other essential elements are like the precursors to practice; you mast have the intention to practice in the first place, you must apply the discipline of regularity in your practice and you must practice under the guidance of some teaching or mentor, however attention is like the result of actual practice. When you practice, you can enter a state of attention to yourself and your interaction with others and the world that is vital to being able to establish an alternative worldview. You may not be able to establish attention without the practice that requires the other three elements, but your ability to achieve transformative experiences depends upon attention. Instantaneous transformation may happen without the benefit of a practice, but I would say not without the benefit of attention, regardless of how or how swiftly it is achieved.


Schlitz, M., Vieten, C., & Amorak, T. (2007). Living deeply: The art and science of transformation in everyday life. Oakland: Noetic Books/New Harbinger Publications Inc.