“As creator and innovator, one is required to prove the commitment to one’s pursuits, the power of one’s will and courage to create. After a while reality relents and you are allowed to cross the threshold into new creation.”
That is a quote by Jean Houston, who notes that being a creator often includes barriers, challenges and pains along with the passion to create.
Here are more excerpts from her stimulating essay The Alchemy of Creativity and the Social Artist, starting with a section on the challenges of having many more ideas than you can ever accomplish.
Just remember when you are tormented by unfinished projects, the agony of the great Leonardo Da Vinci himself who existed in a torment of self hatred because of finishing so little, the ambivalence that the creator feels toward the creation, may be both the shadow and the impetus for the creative process itself.
Creative people blame themselves, but I personally believe that it is part of the entropy process of the universe.
It has been my experience that whenever I was trying to do something truly innovative every bit of trivia rose up to keep me from my task, every roaring self-doubt I had ever had loomed before me to vitiate my intent, to challenge my commitment.
This is perhaps part of the homeostasis effect by which the earth tries to keep itself going on in the same way.
As creator and innovator, one is required to prove the commitment to ones pursuits, the power of ones will and courage to create.
After a while reality relents and you are allowed to cross the threshold into new creation.
As social artists, how do you get around this ambivalence, not be plagued with feelings of suicide as was Hemingway or driven to drown one’s creativity in drink or drugs, as were too many or get caught in one or another obsessive cycle of some repetitive action or task that would take up so much of your time and interest that you could justify your lack of creation.
There are I believe several ways.
One is to observe your nausea quotient. I find for example that with myself, that whenever I am staying away from creation too long either in small or larger cycles I am afflicted by little and then larger increments of nausea.
I am caught in a static loop and the nausea warns me that it is time to get back to the task or experience even greater nausea and self-disgust.
Another is to take everything that you really are ambivalent about — men, women, your own inadequate childhood — and write it out, play it out, turn it into satire, make it interact with the wildest associations.
One of the great hidden talents that all human beings have is for associative thinking, and there is something about the impossible association that breaks the hold of the ambivalence over us.
Picasso, for example, whose wife spent four hours every morning just coaxing him to get out of bed and get on with it, could only actually do so after he had thought of an impossible association that would shatter all expectations.
Another way is to get a high tolerance of ambivalence, what Keats called a Negative capability which he describes as being when a person “is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”
What we would now call holding the tension between things, or living at our edges.
Fortunately, we live at a time that is History at its edges, and which demands our genius as well as our ability to act.
By Jean Houston – from her much longer essay The Alchemy of Creativity and the Social Artist [pdf] – listed on her site as “Creativity and the Social Artist” on the Social Artistry Resources page.
One of her books: A Passion For the Possible: A Guide to Realizing Your True Potential.
Amazon.com Review: “Over the past 30 years Jean Houston has dedicated her life to helping people unleash their creative and spiritual potential. As a result she has worked with some of the greatest cultural and spiritual visionaries of our time, such as Margaret Meade and Joseph Campbell. In A Passion for the Possible, written as a complement to the PBS series by the same name, Houston explains what helps people become creative geniuses. The trick is to fully commit to the four levels of self (sensory, psychological, mythic, and spiritual). Acting as a guide to the interior world, Houston once again inspires readers to embody their true potential.”
Having many more ideas than you can ever accomplish, feeling tormented by unfinished projects – Maybe you can relate to those experiences. I certainly do.
Maybe they are more or less inherent aspects of being multitalented.
In my book Developing Multiple Talents – The personal side of creative expression, I quote Hank Pfeffer (author of article “The Too Many Aptitudes Problem”) that “Strong talents do not equal high performance. Having the right knacks or talents provides a head start and ongoing advantage. … Aptitudes have to be trained in order to be used well. Peak performance occurs when one has the right combination of talents, knowledge, motivation, opportunity, courage, luck, tools and the X factors.”
If you want to develop your multiple talents as an entrepreneur, take a look at my Inner Entrepreneur post The Renaissance Business system for the Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur.
Image: the lightness of being ~ by AlicePopkorn. Her caption:
“You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Show that God’s creative principle works in you.” -Paramahansa Yogananda