Published by admin on May 21, 2016

The Key to Unleashing Your Creative Soul

I listened to this amazing TED talk yesterday: Your Creative Elusive Genius, by Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love). Watch TED Talk. (If you’re busy, just skip to the 10′ mark and give a short listen.)

I never considered myself much of a creative person. I don’t draw like my mom; play trumpet like my brother; or make model jet fighters out of scraps like my dad did growing up.

I always wrote and had a connection to words, but mostly in personal journals. I’ve always had one thing, though: a vision–a belief–that someday I would be on “the big stage” saying something

I had no idea what that something was going to be, though.

So, I tore myself to shreds, then became complacent and grouchy, trying to figure out what the hell my gift was. I road-tripped around the country for six months, living out of a car and camping; I spent two years in Israel on a spiritual quest for truth and meaning. I was committed!

But still nothing.

So much so that my dad even confirmed it: your whole spiritual journey has been a waste of time, Alex.

Those words stung me deeply. Although I don’t fault him for it anymore, it set off a chain of nuclear reactions in my innards.

To the mainstream world, the creative journey can look like a waste of time; not much appears to be happening. However, something is indeed happening. But because it’s happening on the inside, it’s often not visible until later on.

Most people don’t appreciate the creative process, but that’s exactly what it is–a process. Like a seed that erodes under the soil in preparation for above-ground growth, the creative process can begin with a destruction–or, a deconstruction. Like the character, Arya, in Game of Thrones, we sometimes have to let go of who we think we are to become who we really areWho are you? I’m no one. 

My process often looks like this:

Get up. Read on the internet. Make breakfast. Have coffee and read for an hour. Stretch. Sit down and do more internet nonsense. Tinker with my blog. Pace around my apartment. Get frustrated. Turn on some 80’s music and have a private dance party. Then, sit down and–well, first, watch a couple of inspirational TED talks… and, finally… WRITE!

So what’s the key to the creative process?

In his remarkable book, Let Your Life Speak, Parker Palmer says:

Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you.

The key to the whole creative process… is listening.

The great artists often feel compelled to listen. They have little choice in the matter. The rest of us just have to practice. Check out this one minute video by Steven Spielberg breaking it down, beautifully.

We’ve lost something in this tech-crazed world. We have so much to listen to on the outside that we get distracted from what’s happening on the inside.

I remember living in Israel in 2001 and feeling utterly lost.

I had become religious, given myself over to God, and was constantly asking the Universe what I was here to do (and proclaiming my willingness to do it). I had dived into a world of holy words and Rabbis telling me what they meant so deeply that I had lost connection to my inner voice trying to guide me.

You don’t have to be religious to believe it, but you do have to be awake to experience it.

After yeshiva hopping (and hoping) for two years, I actually had a Rabbi say to me: Alex, there is something wrong with you; this constant moving from place to place…

Actually, there was something wrong with me: I had lost the connection with my Soul.

What all this has to do with creativity:

We were all creative once–upon a time. Children do what feels good, and when it stops feeling good, they move on and choose something else. Be that creating sand castles on the beach; lego trucks; bed fortresses; tea parties; imaginary battles with G.I. Joe action figures, etc.

But not adults! We’ll keep creating the same thing–misery–for years! 

Every single choice you make is a creative act. The thing is, the older you get, the more you forget.

That you are creative…

You’ve always been creative…

That you’re creating. all. the. time.

The question, I think, is where from?

Are you creating from the outside-in or the inside-out?


Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you.



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