Living Is a Creative Act

Living Is a Creative Act

The Union Path Podcast

"Living Is a Creative Act"

Episode Transcript:

Being creative, being a quote unquote creative person isn't special, isn't unique, isn't extraordinary in any way. In fact, it's about the most normal, average, common thing there is. Yet we talk about creativity. We talk about someone being a quote unquote creative person as somehow distinguishing them, either elevating them or devaluing them from ourselves, from expectations of society and culture. We can use it as praise, we can say so. And so they're so creative, the things they come up with are so inspired. They have such an amazing imaginative gift. They're so skilled, they're so talented. It's amazing what they're able to make, what they're able to make happen, what they're able to create. We can also use it as a bit of a pejorative like oh, that's a creative way to do that kind of like we would look at a toddler and pat them on the head and say, oh, you're so adorable, but clearly you have no idea what you're doing.

But the thing is, at least to my way of thinking, living is a creative act. Just being alive is creative. That, as living beings, we are creating constantly. We couldn't stop it if we wanted. But life itself is a creative act and by living we are creating. That's one of the astonishing things about human beings. That's the divine presence, the divine power in all of us, that we are simultaneously the created and the creator. We are simultaneously living in creation while also creating ourselves. That's what sets humans apart from all other animals this creative power, this creative gift, the ability to create change, to create something new, to do something differently and to do it with intention. Because that's really where creation becomes powerful is when we do it on purpose, when we go into our life, creating our life on purpose, with purpose, that our entire life changes once we seize the opportunity and the power of intention. And when we look into our life, we can see our creativity everywhere. Through what we've created, we create relationships, we create a family, we create work, we create joy, we create pain, we create suffering, we create excitement, we create boredom, and in every aspect of our life, we're constantly creating, we're constantly crafting the life that we're living. And because of this, I think it's really useful to look at principles that we would deem to be creative and apply them to our life. Because what happens when we create something Like, if we elevate this as much as we can like, what does an artist do?

Well, an artist starts with a vision, with an idea of what something could be, what something should be, what they'd like to make, what they'd like to create, and then they endeavor to realize that, to make it real, to make it a reality, to walk through the process from inspiration to creation. And we do this with everything we do. This isn't some elevated, vaulted state In our lives. We are constantly creating. We're constantly creating our own experience. We're constantly creating experiences for others. We're constantly creating circumstance. But through our own activity, in our own interaction with life, with others, with circumstance, we are creating something new.

Our lives are a unique, creative act. No two people's lives are completely the same or identical. Everyone's life, everyone's life experience is different and we are the ones creating it. Our life is a creative act, and sometimes this can be really difficult to see. This is kind of the tragedy of adopting a mindset of victimhood or being put upon or being trapped by someone or something else. We can feel like our life isn't up to us, like we're not the ones actually doing it. We're merely the ones subject to it, subject to others' doings.

But I think if we take a look at this, I think if we bring our awareness to our own lives, we'll see that we are the ones actually creating it. We are the ones choosing. We are the ones choosing what to do and what not to do. We are the ones choosing what to create or not create, because even if we're eliminating things, that's still creation. That's still creating change. Even if we're avoiding things, that's still making a choice. The choice not to do is every bit as much a choice as the choice to do. In every moment, every moment of our life is a new opportunity for creation. It is a new opportunity to set our marker down, and set our marker down of intent To decide to do something intentionally, to decide to choose on purpose, to decide to choose with reasons, to decide to develop and honor and acknowledge our own reasons for doing things, that we can understand the creative output of our life through bearing witness to our life experience, to seeing what we've done, seeing what we haven't done and really being honest with ourselves what's really happened in our life, what choices have we really made?

And then, with enough awareness, we can see our own influence over our own lives, that we are the creators, we are the ones doing it, we are the ones making the choices and we can choose to make these choices with whatever intent we wish. We can choose to live however much of our life that we want, on purpose, with purpose. And usually, once we realize this, it's almost a reflexive switch we start to act with more intention, we start to take back the creative control of our life, the creative control that perhaps we've surrendered and given up and given away without really knowing any better, thinking that someone else must have the answers for us, someone else must know a better way, someone else must know what's right for us. But ultimately, no matter whose advice we follow, it is us who decide. We decide to follow advice, we decide to eschew advice, we decide to follow a well-worn path and we decide to go our own way.

And when we look at our life as a creative act, we can realize that we have far more creative control over our life than we think we do, because we are the ones with the power. We are the ones with the power to create in our own life, because we have the ultimate power. The ultimate power is vested within us, and that's the power to create, that's our ability to envision, that's our ability to imagine, that's our ability to want, that's our ability to aspire, that's our ability to grow. We have the ability to create our own life. In fact, we're creating our own lives right now. We've created our own life up until this point.

This is one of those realizations that be really heavy. If we've thought that our life has just been things that have happened to us, that whatever calamity that we've experienced has been someone else's doing, someone else's fault or just sheer bad luck, then we actually take responsibility for the creative product that is our life. That can feel like a heavy burden? What can lighten our load? What can make that burden not feel quite so heavy?

It's a simultaneous realization that's also incredibly liberating that if our life isn't really up to anyone else, then we are liberated and live it however we wish. We can truly do whatever we want, no matter what circumstance we're in, no matter how confined we are, no matter how confined we feel. We can choose to seize our freedom. We can choose to seize our creative power to respond to whatever situation or circumstances we find ourselves in however we wish, because, especially over the long term, our life isn't defined so much by what happens to us. It's really far more about what we do about it.

Our life is the culmination, the summation, the aggregate of what we do, the choices that we make and, of course, our life experience. Our involvement in life is a conversation. We are as much as what we put into life, as what life gives back to us. Life isn't about us just imposing our will over everyone and everything around us. Life is a symphony. Life is a cooperative dance that we experience when we go into life with our own intent and allow life to play its part as well, because that's really how creation fully happens. It's the alchemy, it's the combination of our own intent and how life responds, and then our ability, our creative gift is what we do with that information, what we do next, how we respond to what happens.

And when we realize this incredible creative control over our own life, it's almost like that in and of itself allows us to shift, often from a defensive stance to an offensive stance of where we're not just trying to withstand the effects that life has on us. We're going forth intentionally. We're going forth to intentionally move forward, to intentionally grow, to intentionally at least try to achieve and experience what we want, at least make an effort to live the life that we actually want to live, to live the life that is actually ours, and the shift can be a deeply fundamental one and can fundamentally change our lives, of where we move, from a state, from a perspective of feeling like life is just what happens to us, into more of a perspective as life is what we make it. Because even if we merely just shift our interpretation, the meaning we apply on what happens to us, that can change everything. It's kind of like that whole idea of nothing in and of itself is inherently good or inherently bad. Take the best thing you can possibly think of, and there's somebody out there that actually thinks that's bad. Take the worst thing you can think of, and unfortunately there's someone out there that actually thinks that's good.

And this isn't about moralizing, this isn't about pretending that good and bad don't exist, but realizing these ideas of good and bad are personal. This is meaning we apply, because, even if we look into our life, I think we've all experienced the circumstance of where something happens to us that feels like a failure, feels like a tragedy, feels bad but over time ends up turns out to be good. That sometimes perhaps not often, but sometimes the worst thing can turn into the best thing. And what's the difference? The circumstance is the same, the event is the same, but the meaning we apply to it, what we take from it, is completely different and, more importantly, what we do about it is then completely different. We take a completely different path through life when we believe something is good and we believe something is bad. And again, this isn't about not having a set of morals, this isn't about not having a set of values Quite the contrary. Those things are precious. That's part of our integrity, that's part of our wholeness.

Is living out the standards we have for ourselves, living into life, living as an ideal version of ourselves, however we define that to be, because we know. We know when we're living up to what we could be and we know when we've fallen short. This isn't about castigating ourselves or punishing ourselves, but it is about trying. It is about shifting our focus. It's about reacclimating to our own ideal, to our own ideals of honoring and expressing what good actually means. Honoring and expressing what our ideal vision for ourselves, our ideal vision of our life, the greatest we can be and the greatest our life can be and aspiring and attempting and endeavoring to live that every day, constantly pursuing the perfect, the ideal, not because we'll probably ever fully achieve it, but because the pursuit itself is worthwhile, that leads us in the right direction, that inspires us to be the best version of ourselves. Because we're actually trying to be the best version of ourselves. We live a more idealized life because we're making the attempt, we're really trying to live as the ideal version of ourselves.

Because I think when we think about creative acts, the more ideal that creative act is, the more it's valued, the more special it is, the more we look at it with awe and wonder and reverence and respect. And we can do this with our own lives. I'd make the argument we should do this with our own lives, because what's the point of having ideals in the first place, having ideals in the first place, if we aren't actually attempting to live them? Same thing with desires and dreams. We make our desires and dreams worthwhile by attempting, by orienting our life towards actually living them, that what we want. Our dreams aren't here just to torture us, our ideas about the ideal version of who and what we could be. We don't hold these ideas just to make ourselves feel bad, just to be able to stand in judgment and cross our arms and point at ourselves and say you really fell short there, you really could have done better. No, these ideas exist as a model.

Our ideal version of ourselves is our own personal role model, and the closer we get to the ideal version of expression of ourselves, the more refined our life gets. The higher quality our life gets, just like any other creative act. The more ideal it is, the more we appreciate it, the more we enjoy it, the more it does to us, the more we feel. And we all have an opportunity. We all have an amazing opportunity Every day.

Merely because we're alive to create Doesn't mean things are going to go the way we want, doesn't mean that how we want our life to turn out will reflect in any way how our life does turn out. But we obviously don't control any of that. Especially when we look at our life over a long time frame, we realize a little control we actually have over what happens to us, how little control we actually have over the final product of our own creation. But what we do have 100% control over is our part, our input, our effort, our contribution, and we can seize that opportunity however fully we want. We can use this information, we can use this awareness to set us free, to set us on a course of living an ideal life, because we're living through and towards the ideal version of ourselves, the ideal version of what we want, the ideal version of our vision for ourselves and for our life. Because living is a creative act.

And once we realize this, the next question seems to be what are we doing with this information? What are we doing with this opportunity? What are we doing with this incredible creative power that all of us are imbued and entrusted and equipped with? What are we creating? How are we using our own creative power to create the life we actually want To create, the relationships that we actually want to create, the circumstances we actually want To create, what our life experience actually is, what our impact and effect on life itself actually is? Because we can look at our life, we can look at any aspect of our life the same way we would look at any sort of creative project. We start with an intent, we start with an idea, we start with a vision, then we make effort towards making that vision, that idea, real, and then we move on to the next creative act, and we will do this over and, over and over again as long as we're alive.

That life is a never-ending series of creative acts, in my opinion anyway, no creative act is more valuable inherently than any other. Sure, different creative acts are more impactful. Different creative acts can have different effects, both in type and in magnitude, but the creative process is always the same. It's the same whether we're creating an interaction, a conversation, a family, a team, a work of art, a home, a career, a legacy. It's all creation. Our lives are all creation.

Again, this is the duality of man that we get to live in creation and we also get to create. We are not subject to life. We are cooperative with life. We co-create the life that we experience. We get to be both creator and participant, and if we want to create change in our life, we want to do something different. If we want to be something different, one of the most valuable things we can do is realize and appreciate and apply our own creative power.

We can also have the ability to simply make the choice, because oftentimes that can be the most powerful part of any change Is deciding, finally deciding to change, not hedging our bets, not waiting, not making our choices incumbent on anyone or anyone else, doing something first that we decide to change, even if there's nothing obvious to do with that moment, even if it doesn't seem to be anything that we can do to create that particular change as a starting point, as an origin, just making the decision to change is incredibly powerful, because now we've created the possibility for change, we've created the space for change to enter. We've shifted our awareness to start looking for opportunities to change. We've changed our perspective of valuing potential opportunities to create the change that we want to create. But in us deciding to change now, at least a little bit, we've changed. We've shifted our perspective, we've shifted our thinking, we've shifted our awareness, which will be the ground state of whatever change we ended up creating. That when we set an intent, that is what carries through, that is the common thread of whatever change we create. That when we capture the vision of change, of what we want to create, that is what sets us in the direction to create that very change. That's what starts everything, that's what kicks everything off.

Because I think we've all experienced the opposite of living in a very stagnant, repetitive, routine state simply because we haven't decided to change. We're waiting for someone or something else. We're waiting for life to tell us it's time to change. We're waiting for life to tell us it's safe to change. But what actually sets off this change process, what actually enables this change to happen, is for us first to decide to change, and at least as a starting point, that's enough, because when we go into a life with a new intent, when we go into life with an intent for change, to create something different, to live something different, we need to allow life the opportunity to cooperate with this change as well. We need to work with life and not against it. We need to work with what is rather than fighting what is. We need to cooperate with life so that we can co-create the change that we're trying to create.

And I think this is one of the areas where we can see our own creative power reflected most clearly, because when we've decided to change and now we've changed, at least on the inside, our outsides tend to follow along. We can see ourselves, we start to talk a little bit differently, we start to look at different things, we start to look at things a different way, we start to value things a little differently, we've become a different person and thus we set ourselves up to live a different life, because it's really difficult, if not impossible, to create change trying to stay the same person. That change creates change, and the only thing we really have direct control over, the only thing we really have final say over, is ourselves, is what we do, is what we are, is what we're being, is what we're doing. We can only control what we do. We cannot control what happens to us. We cannot control what others do.

We can try, we can spend a lot of energy trying to control, trying to control the world, trying to control other people, but in the end, I think we all find it's far easier to cooperate than it is to attempt to dominate. It's far easier to work with what is than to get overly focused and overly obsessed with what isn't, because we can't do anything about things that don't exist. We can't work with things that aren't. We can only work with what is.

What is is the material of our life. What is is the raw material of our life, and we're the ones who can shape it. We're the ones who can reshape it. We're the ones who can make our lives into what we want by working with what our lives currently are, holding two ideas at the same time of fully accepting ourselves, fully accepting our lives, but also working towards a more idealized version of ourselves, a more idealized version of our life, that we can take the mold of clay that our life is and shape it into whatever we wish.

And it doesn't mean it's going to be easy, it doesn't mean that's not going to be spoiled a few times, we're going to have to start over, but we can keep working the clay of our life, you can keep shaping it, you can keep getting better and better at crafting and creating the life that we actually want. And we can best do this by being the idealized version of ourselves, living an idealized life by living as the idealized version of ourselves, first deciding to change and then investing our whole selves into that change of living and crafting and molding an ideal life through ourselves. First being ideal, valuing the ideal, pursuing the ideal that life is a creative act. We have the creative control, we have creative power over our own life and we can create our ideal lives by living through and with the ideal.

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