Seven Seeds of Creative Success: Part 3

In the course of writing this three-part series, I've faced several challenges that have distracted me from the very things I am suggesting you should implement in your life. This reminds me how often we must force ourselves to return to those things that nourish and inspire us. It brings up the awareness that commitment is a daily process that requires continual honor and renewal. These challenges have impeded, then fortified the level of courage it takes to stay with my creative process. By finding and taking time for moments of playfulness, I'm managing the struggles I've been faced with lately. My greatest resource at the moment is my music, a gift I've neglected for nearly a year while I've developed other talents. For far too long, I'd pushed my digital piano into a corner and simply ignored it. To remedy this deplorable situation I returned the piano to a place of prominence...facing the bay windows of my dining room, where I can watch the trees outside as I sing. Within a few days, I could feel life stirring again...deep wisdom coming to the surface to renew my strength and guide me through the current challenges in my life. It is this transforming property of the creative process that makes the effort of attending to it worthwhile. Fortified with a resurgence of hopefulness, I want to share the final two seeds of creative success, to complete our discussion of those things that are necessary to continuing and making the most of your creative life.

Seed Six - Intuition. The sixth seed of creative success addresses the need to develop our right-brain skills, so that we become more adept in attending to the deep wisdom that lies within us. This wisdom stands ready to guide us towards fulfillment, if only we will listen and follow its guidance. Unfortunately, we have not been encouraged to nurture and develop our right brain in Western culture, so it takes effort and persistence to attend to this task. However, once we become accustomed to listening to our inner voice, we will reap rich rewards from the effort. Some books that can help with developing intuition include: Awakening Intuition, by Mona Lisa Schulz, Ph.D. (Harmony Books); Intuition: The Path to Inner Wisdom, by Patricia Einstein (Element Books); and The Right-Brain Experience, by Marilee Zdenek (McGraw-Hill Books). It should come as no surprise that these three books all have women authors...after all, we've been told all our lives that intuition belongs to women, in the phrase "it's women's intuition".

One of the best (and most enjoyable) ways of developing one's intuition is by learning about the concept of synchronicity. I devote several weeks to this topic in my classes, because of its rich store of metaphor and symbolism, elements that flourish in right-brain activity. Synchronicity is most easily defined as "meaningful coincidences" that guide our lives. By attending to these coincidences, we discover connections that underlie every aspect of our existence...by honoring the connections, we develop an awareness of the interconnectedness of everything in the universe. I experienced synchronicity long before I had a name for it, thinking of these meaningful coincidences simply as "magic" in my life. In the mid-eighties, Jean Shimoda Bolen's book, The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self (Harper Books) identified the magic as synchronicity for me, and since that time I have tracked and documented many of the synchronistic events that continually guide me towards more effective expression.

Seed Seven - Sharing. Completing our list is the seventh seed...sharing our talents with others. What would be the joy of attending to every other step of the creative process, if we were not to share our gifts with others? In my interviews of nearly fifty creative people, those who demonstrated the most joy and fulfillment from their creative endeavors were also those who were most active in sharing their talents as teachers. Performing or finding an audience for one's talent is another important form of sharing, though the rewards are often more transient and unpredictable than sharing as a teacher. Teaching is a rich way of giving and receiving in equal measure, and helps to moderate the levels of "necessary arrogance" that often accompany performance venues. Those who teach with a sense of eagerness, with the joy of sharing their love for their craft, benefit in a different way than those who only perform. And yet performance has its own merit. I often set up performances in order to challenge myself, for each performance entails the necessity of practicing and fashioning a program of my music. Each performance is unique, created as a gift for the audience and for myself. The focus on sharing (rather than showing off) transmutes the experience into one that is gratifying for both performer and audience.

Our discussion of the Seven Seeds of Creative Success is almost complete. We've learned the necessity of attending to Commitment, Inspiration, Nourishment, Courage, Playfulness, Intuition and Sharing in developing one's creative life. Now the task is to sow these seeds in the fertile soil of your mind, and to encourage their growth and blossoming in the weeks, months and years to come. It is important to remember that the process will continue to recycle itself, and each of these concepts will need repeated and willful attention in order for your creative life to flourish.

Recently, a dear friend commented that neglecting my music was a sure way to get disconnected from my deeper wisdom and strength. She said I am more vital and confident when I attend to this talent, above all others. Her words helped me to remember that even with my other creative pursuits, I still need to develop my music. I've made an effort to practice every day this past month, and have arranged a fall concert. I'm finding that some of the lyrics I wrote a decade ago serve as haunting reminders of the necessity and rewards of attending to one's inner life, bringing me full circle in my own creative process. To conclude our discussion of the Seven Seeds of Creative Success, I'd like to share a portion of one of my songs, in the hopes that it will inspire you further in your creative journey. And remember, for the rest of your life, to Stay Creative!

The door is open before you
the light is streaming in
a voice within you beckons
the time has come, time to begin.
This is your life, now make your journey
the time has come
to realize your dreams
you've heard the call
of your deepest longings
now you'll find the only way to live
becomes your dream.

1998 Marybeth Bethel