Dec
29

Permission to Take it On in 2011

“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah.
It makes no difference what people think of you.”
~Rumi
As 2010 ends and we look ahead to a new, unknown year, I want to use this flicker of a moment of your at-least-partial attention to prod you to decide, right now, to take something creative on.

In this blog over the past couple of years, I’ve written dozens of articles about the state of creativity in our culture, about innovation in organizations, about tools and tips for opening yourself up to more creativity in your own life. I truly thank you for reading when you have and at times offering your own insights, feedback and appreciation.

But the truth remains that for most of us it’s very hard to give ourselves much permission to be creative, to actually express our own unique perspective in some way, to play with ideas and each other with or without an end-product in mind. So…for your emotional and psychological health, for honoring your own amazing complexity as a human being, for being an active creator instead of just a passive spectator of life, why not decide, right now, that you will take at least a small sip of your huge and too-often-untapped internal cup of possibility in 2011 to work on something only you could do and/or bring into the world. Come on, take it on.

If you have difficulty deciding what creative project you’d like to tackle, let me suggest that you start small (unlike that huge cup in the picture above). Let’s use the creative tool of constraints to help. It’s winter right now, which constrains our options in many ways, so let’s start by limiting ourselves to working on something inside. Look around your home now (or when you are there), and pick one location — just one place — that seems like a creatively comfortable spot for you to spend some time in. Clear and create one if you need to. Let that be your spot. And let that be the spot where you give yourself permission to try something you just want to try or do or make, secretly or not. Anoint that place as one where there is full, secret-smile permission to create something thathas a good chance of turning out lousy, that you may never share with anyone. What strikes your fancy: Write a short story? Make a mosaic collage out of rocks and lint? Make phone calls to famous people? Paint your cat? Build/invent/destroy/cook something you’ve never done before? Pick something that enters your mind and commit, right here and now, to try it. Choosing is the first, fertile step.

I’d like to help you in any way I can. Perhaps you know what it is you’d like to try, what project you want to work on — email me and I’ll check in with you at a surprising time to see how you’re doing on it. We all need support from others for our creative lives, so tell others you trust what you’re going to do and ask for accountability or reminders. If you’d like ongoing help I might be just the one-on-one coach or music teacher you need; email me or call me at 773-388-2880 and let’s talk about how we could make that work for you.

I write this right now recovering from an injury that has kept me homebound for more than a week. It has limited me and yet at the same time opened my eyes to opportunities in small places, to patience, and to help from others. 2011 looms as a long year full of opportunities, but that first step is often the hardest. Choose that one project, right now, that can get your creative self engaged and alive before the winter of possibilities melts like you know it will.

May you you lean into the new year with courage, creativity and cojones, Amigo.

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