The Paradoxes of Creativity
You were born to be a creator, to express your most meaningful and creative life.
And, as you say yes to a life of creating, you realize that creating is rampant with paradoxes and dichotomies.
The Spontaneous and the Considered
In abstract expressionist paintings we talk about the relationship between the spontaneous and the considered. We yearn for unfettered self expression, wild mark making and brushstrokes that surprise and enthrall us, yet we also desire to experience an underlying structure, a tethering of this wild energy in our art.
The ongoing tension between these contrasting experiences keeps us on our toes and asks us to make decisions in each artwork.
Will this piece have more structure or less? Will it be mostly filled with stream of consciousness mark making and a barely perceptible underlying structure? The range of possibilities for each painting is infinite.
The Paradox Of Ruining A Painting
Here’s a rhetorical question for you: Is a painting ever ruined?
Painting is riddled with paradox.
Do you fear losing the parts of the painting you love? If so, realize that you’ve become too attached to the outcome.
Here’s the paradox: we care and yet we’ve got to let go at the same time.
Yes…of course we care about the outcome.
We want our paintings to be amazing. We want people to ooh and ahhh over them. We want to love them!
We fantasize about selling out our solo exhibitions or some variation on this theme, and yet, we’ve got to let go of outcome.
Our most astonishing, wondrous, and alive paintings are those that are born out of exploration, experimentation, and searching.
If I already know what’s going to happen it’s all over
The Paradox of Letting Go
Paradoxically, when you let go of outcomes, you’re more likely to create art that surprises and delights you.
The Paradox of the Ugly Painting
Indeed, ugly paintings are often the nascent, embryonic forms of new work emerging.
The Paradox of Constraint
The concept of constraint is so rich and diverse that we could spend a lifetime on it.
The topic of constraint is paradoxically limitless.
Even science is about constraint and abstraction. Science gets rid of the extraneous and boils it down to the essence of truth. And doing so does not disrespect the complexity and richness of the natural world. Quite the contrary, it’s a way of more deeply appreciating it.
The Paradox of The Dark Night Of The Soul
Winter Solstice: Light and Becoming
Last night, 8:21 pm Pacific Time (11:21 pm Eastern Time) marked the precise time of the Winter Solstice. This is the moment when the Earth’s North Pole is tilted its maximum amount away from the sun.
After that the sun climbs in the sky, days get longer, seeds and organisms register the changes, roots extend tentatively into the dark and cold soil.
The transformations are subtle at first. Each day stretches only a few seconds longer than the one before, but the changes accumulate, faster and faster.
For millennia, people have marked the solstice with festivals, feasting, singing, dancing and bonfires.
One of the most famous festivals is the Roman Saturnalia, held around the Winter Solstice to honor the god Saturn.
In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of innocence, much like the Garden of Eden.
But the longest night was not the only event in the heavens. Some civilizations marked time with a lunar calendar, others with a solar calendar. These two calendars did not quite agree. After 12 months, the moon rotating around the Earth came up short compared to the Earth rotating about the sun—by approximately 11 days.
What can you do with an extra 11 days? How about a big party!
But there’s more to this astronomical reconciliation than an excuse to party. Throughout history, the sun has been associated with reason, order, and male attributes and the moon has been associated with mystery, disorder (“lunacy”) and female attributes. The sun drives agriculture by seasonal cycles, the moon is associated with the menstrual cycle and tides.
But there are aspects of life that unify the two influences—For instance, farmers abide by the seasons, but they often follow phases of the moon within the confines of those seasons to know when to plant seeds for the best crops. In our last blog post we talked about the magic of seeds and their relation to creativity.
The Union of the Mysterious and the Rational
The reconciliation of the two spiritual forces represented by the Sun and the Moon in the form of calendars is powerfully symbolic, the union of the mysterious and the rational before the coming of the light as well as the union of male and female.
Novelty is birthed by this coming together.
Isn’t creativity about reconciling the mysterious with the rational and bringing it to light?
The creative urge is brought to light by the discipline of creation—painting the painting, working out the song, writing the chapter of the book. The moon is seen by the Sun’s reflected light.
One’s internal calendars must be reconciled to live an integral life as a creator.
Without the discipline of creation, creativity remains in the realm of dreams-unrealized and unshared.
Paradoxes and dichotomies are woven into the fabric of our being.
We’re part of the cosmos.
Without the mystery of disorder fomenting creativity, the world becomes a vast clockwork, completely predictable and utterly dead.
With gratitude from my studio to yours,
P.S. I’ve made a special webinar for you as you get ready to step into the new decade
There are 3 invisible paradoxes standing between you and your fullest creativity. In this training you’ll discover:
- The one thing you must do in order to create (it’s a game changer from mathematics but you don’t have to be a math whiz to implement it)
- Stories you tell yourself that keep you from experiencing your most meaningful and creative life
- And finally, the Holy Grail of creating…and how uncovering this secret will transform your life
This is the paradox of creation.
P.S. Say YES to your most creative decade ever. Click on the button below to see the training now.
P.S.S. Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts and how you plan to open up creative channels in the new decade.