June 30,2012
Catch the Next Big Wave

Have Faith in the Future!

Sometimes, it is difficult to maintain a positive outlook when we watch the news and hear that the world economy is in trouble, there are no jobs, the price of gold is declining and there is sure to be a crash in the housing market. But, we must always remember that everything in our world is made of energy, which travels in waves. Just as in the ocean, there are ebbs and flows. Sometimes, we catch a wave and ride it. When it reaches shore, we must swim back out against the waves and catch the next right wave. Ebbs and flows in everything, including our economy, housing and job markets, are natural. So, if your wave has reached shallow water, paddle back out there and catch the next big wave. That requires swimming against the current for a little while, waiting patiently for the next big wave, while always remembering that there will be a next big wave.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 30,2012
Creating versus Not Creating

Over the last few days, I have written about whether there is a particular type of creative personality that can be described. I really believe that everyone is creative, or can be, but that there is a difference between the state of creating versus the state of not creating. When we are creating, we are connected to our Source and being our Divine selves. I do not equate creativity solely with the arts. Everyone creates using their own unique gifts, so they may apply their creativity to engineering, parenting, gardening, carpentry… When we are creating, we are in a state of self-actualizing (Maslow)… meeting our highest needs. So, I do believe that we can describe a self-actualized person as creating.

Robert Fritz, author, musician and artist, has written extensively about the creative process and makes the distinction between what it feels like when one is creating vs. when not creating. In short, he describes creating as life supporting.

Creating vs. Not Creating

While Creating
• Involved with what they are doing
• Focused outwardly
• Focused in the moment
• A sense of timelessness
• A feeling of freedom
• A sense of vital energy
• A sense of themselves; a sense of independence
• Life seems important

While Not Creating
• Often not involved
• Focused inwardly
• Not focused
• Often pressured by time
• Somewhat oppressed by circumstance
• Often tired or depleted
• Unclear sense of themselves
• Often life seems arbitrary
Source: Creating by Robert Fritz, p. 176

References:

Fritz, Robert, (1991). Creating, Fawcett Columbine, New York.

Maslow, (1943). "A Theory of Human Motivation," Psychological Review.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 28,2012
Is There A Creative Personality? – Part 4

Jung and Creativity

Psychologist, Carl Jung, identified two basic energy flow orientations or attitudes. People are either introverted, gaining their energy from being alone, or they are extraverted, gaining energy from being with others. Gelb noted balancing introversion and extraversion as important for creativity, and that Thomas Edison was able to successfully balance these orientations (Gelb, 2007).

Being creative is affected by how one sees the world, how one processes information, and how one responds to and solves problems. Jung labeled these functions or preferences (Levesque, 2009).

While C.G. Jung developed type theory over many years, it was later refined by Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs. Jung focused on explaining personality types that he divided into introverts and extraverts, two attitudes that he described as "a readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way." (Briggs Myers, 2003, p. 22). Extraverts focus their energy outwards toward people and events while introverts focus their energy inwardly toward themselves – their thoughts and inner experiences. (Briggs Myers, 2003). Ten years after identifying the two types, Jung added four functions: sensation/intuition and thinking/feeling, and identified one as dominant. This resulted in 8 types:

• extraverts with dominant sensing
• introvert with dominant sensing
• extraverts with dominant intuition
• introverts with dominant intuition
• extraverts with dominant thinking
• introverts with dominant thinking
• extraverts with dominant feeling
• introverts with dominant feeling (Briggs Myers, 2003).

Myers and Briggs developed the MBTI and extended Jung's model. They based the MBTI on 3 assumptions from Jung's theories related to preferences, and they added the judging/perceiving aspects based on an auxiliary function that Jung had described (Briggs Myers, 2003). "For all the types met with in practice, the rule holds good that besides the conscious, primary function there is a relatively unconscious auxiliary function which is in every respect different from the nature of the primary function. The resulting combinations present the familiar picture of, for instance, practical thinking allied with sensation, speculative thinking forging ahead with intuition, artistic intuition selecting and presenting its images with the help of feeling-values, philosophical intuition systematizing its vision into comprehensible though by means of a powerful intellect, and so on (Campbell, 1971, p. 268)."

Myers and Briggs built upon this description of an auxiliary function to add the additional judging/perceiving functions. In this way, Jung's 8 types grew to Myers Briggs' 16 types. In addition to adding this J-P dichotomy, Myers Briggs also wrote detailed neutral descriptions of the types (Briggs Myers, 2003).

"Myers and Briggs reasoned that the auxiliary function is oriented to the less-preferred attitude. Indeed, there are several references in Jung's writing to the three remaining functions having an opposite attitudinal character. For example, in writing about introverts with thinking dominant, Jung commented that the counterbalancing functions (that is, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions) have an extraverted character. Myers and Briggs therefore assumed the following (Briggs Myers, 2003, p. 29)."

1. Each type has a dominant (first) function;
2. Individuals use their first function in their favorite attitude;
3. An auxiliary function (second) is developed for balance;
4. The auxiliary function balances individuals between introversion and extraversion to make them adaptable to living in the world (Briggs Myers, 2003).

Over time, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator has been revised to ensure that the measurement of types is current with respect to psychometrics and test development knowledge. However, the basis of the type indicator and its assumptions remain intact (Briggs Myers, 2003).

In her book, Breakthrough Creativity: Achieving Top Performance Using the Eight Creative Talents, Lynne C Levesque recommends using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to help define one's creative style as a basis for understanding how to more consistently express creativity. "Producing creative results has a lot to do with the way you see the world, the way you take in data and information, how you define problems and challenges, how you generate alternative options, and how you select and implement a solution (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html, retrieved October 11, 2010)."

Jung's studies integrated the spiritual with science; he studied patterns of personal growth and the search for wholeness, and he called it individuation. His work is recognized by artists and spiritual leaders who have experienced Jung's insights into creativity and spirituality. Jung also recognized relationships between dream imagery and mythology and that these symbols seemed to come from a substratum of the mind that Jung called the collective unconscious (Bowen, 2010)."

Jung defined several archetypes, patterns that he discovered in the collective unconscious, and said that these archetypes govern our creativity. "In Jungian terms, our psyches are born encoded with the archetypes of the collective unconscious and to which we remain uniquely connected throughout our spiritual and creative lives (http://www.selfgorwth.com/articles/Artists_Carl_Jung_And_Creativity.html , retrieved October 11, 2010)."

In her article, "What are the Eight Creative Talents and How Do They Relate to Carl Jung and the MBTI?" Lynne Levesque identifies eight creative talents for leadership, based on Jung's archetypes. Levesque indicates that these talents result in creativity for organizations in the areas of collecting data and information and in making decisions based on that information (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010).

The first four of the talents assist in collecting data about leadership challenges (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010).

1. The Adventurer talent provides Improvisational Creativity to experiment and adapt using the five senses combined with the facts (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010).

2. The Navigator talent provides Adaptive Creativity to use information and details to build add a new perspective to what's already known (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010).

3. The Explorer talent, uses Possibility Creativity to question the status quo and generate new ideas and possibilities (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010), and,

4. The Visionary talent, utilizes Synthetic Creativity to question and make new associations for insights into the future (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010).

The other four talents facilitate decision making about the information:

5. The Pilot talent, uses Strategic Creativity to develop strategies and plans to improve an organization's processes for getting things done (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010).

6. The Inventor talent, utilizes Analytical Creativity to shift paradigms and design models for analysis and to develop new insights (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010).

7. The Diplomat talent, uses Relationship Creativity to encourage nurturing relationships that encourage team creativity (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010).

8. The Poet talent, offers Values-driven Creativity for reflecting on and describing long-term values, and an appreciation for beauty (http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010).

Levesque points out that balancing the use of all 8 of these creative talents or archetypes can result in a creative organization, whereas if the talents are not in balance, it can cause the leader to overemphasize their favorite talents and not be as effective ((http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved December 12, 2010).

Jung also spoke of synchronicity, that there are no coincidences and unconnected events have significant meaning. Jung defined synchronicity as, "A meaningful coincidence of two or more events, where something other than the probability of chance is involved." Jaworski also referred to synchronicity as, "An unfolding creative order." If we are part of a divine universe system, then we must conclude that we all have a purpose, a reason for being, and that nothing is coincidental. (Jaworski, 1996).

References:

The above is an excerpt from Carla Weaver's Masters Thesis for her Master of Science degree at California Southern University, December 2010.

Bowen, Barbara (2009). "Artists, Carl Jung and Creativity," http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Artists_Carl_Jung_And_Creativity.html , retrieved October 11, 2010.

Briggs Myers, Isabel, and McCaulley, Mary H., Quenk, Naomi L., Hammer, Allen L., (2003). MBTI Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, 3rd Ed., CPP Inc., Mountainview, CA.

Campbell, Joseph (1971). The Portable Jung, Penguin Books, Middlesex, England.

Gelb, Michael J, and Caldicott, Sarah G., (2007), Innovate Like Edison, Penguin Books Ltd., London, England.

Jaworski, Joseph, (1996). Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco.

Levesque, Lynne C., (2009). "What are the Eight Creative Talents and How Do They Relate to Carl Jung and the MBTI?" http://breakthroughcreativity.com/8talents.html , retrieved October 11, 2010.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 26,2012
Is There A Creative Personality? – Part 3

Michael Gelb studied Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison, and identified characteristics of these famous creators.

Leonardo da Vinci

In his book, How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Gelb identified seven "Da Vincian Principles:"

1. Curiositá – A sense of curiosity was one of Leonardo da Vinci's characteristics. Many of us lose our sense of curiosity as we grow out of childhood, but those who are creative seem to retain their curiosity. Leonardo mused, "I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand. Why shells existed on the tops of mountains along with the imprints of coral and plants and seaweed usually found in the sea. Why the thunder lasts a longer time than that which causes it, and why immediately on its creation the lightning becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. How the various circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone, and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engage my thought throughout my life (Gelb, 1998, p. 50)."

2. Dimostrazione – According to Gelb, "Leonardo's practical orientation, penetrating intelligence, curiosity and independent spirit led him to question much of the accepted theory and dogma of his time (Gelb, 1998, p. 77)." Dimostrazione is the skill that a teacher has to demonstrate to students how they can learn for themselves. He was able to learn from his experience and his mistakes, and throughout his life, he continued to learn and experiment (Gelb, 1998).

3. Sensazione - The use of all senses to enhance experiences was another trait of Leonardo da Vinci. One of the most important aspects of his work as an artist was saper vedere (knowing how to see). He considered sight to be the most important sense, and therefore painting to be superior. The second most important was music and hearing. "Music may be called the sister of painting, for she is dependent upon hearing, the sense which comes second…painting excels and ranks higher than music because it does not fade away as soon as it is born (Gelb, 1998, p. 96)." In addition, he also savored the other senses by wearing rich textures, such as silk and velvet, and filling his studio with flowers and perfumes. However, he observed that the average person, "looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking (Gelb, 1998, p. 97)."

4. Sfumato – "Keeping your mind open in the face of uncertainty is the single most powerful secret of unleashing your creative potential. And, the principle of Sfumato is the key to that openness (Gelb, 1998, p. 143)." Leonard's paintings often have a mysterious quality, which was achieved through the application of many thin layers of paint. They also possess a tension of opposites – beauty juxtaposed next to ugliness. His curiosity about opposites was demonstrated in his paintings where he often included both beautiful and grotesque images in the same work (Gelb, 1998).

5. Arte/Scienza – A balance of science and art was important to Leonardo da Vinci. He carefully studied everything that he drew or painted. For example, his figures are based on a careful study of anatomy. He studied science and mathematics, and used this knowledge in his painting and drawing. He also believed that he could awaken his imagination by carefully studying his subjects (Gelb, 1998).

6. Corporalita – Leonardo believed in a healthy lifestyle, and was conscious of exercising, eating healthily, drinking moderately and developing both sides of the brain by being ambidextrous (Gelb 1998).

7. Connessione – is a belief in the connectedness of all things. Leonardo described the universe as, "Everything comes from everything, and everything is made out of everything, and everything returns into everything…" (Gelb, 1998, p. 226). Five hundred years later, physicist David Bohm described the holographic universe as with an implicate order in which everything in the universe is linked together, and "everything is enfolded into everything (Gelb, 1998, p. 226)."

Thomas Edison

Gelb went on to study Thomas Edison in his book, Innovate Like Edison, in which he identified five competencies of Edison:

1. Solution-centered Mindset
Gelb observes that Edison attacked problems with an optimistic attitude and a strong belief that there was no problem that couldn't be solved. The first element of a solution-centered mindset is a relationship between your goals and passions. Edison said, "I never did a day's work in my life, it was all fun." This attitude arises from working toward passionate goals. While Edison recognized that some financial success helps to keep us moving toward our goals, he was more motivated by passion than money. The result, however, was great financial wealth (Gelb, 2007).

Gelb references Dr. John Dacey, professor emeritus of developmental psychology at Boston College and Dr. Kathleen Lennon of Framingham State College, who studied characteristics of creative and successful scientists, writers, business leaders and musicians, and concluded that the most important characteristics are "passionate goal directedness and perseverance through self-control."(Gelb, 2007, p. 49). They believed that these characteristics can be developed, even if we don't demonstrate them early in life (Gelb, 2007).

"Success is a function of perseverance, and perseverance is driven by aligning passions with big, long-term goals. Edison's success was the result of his passionate goal directedness.(Gelb, 2007, p. 49)." Because of his perseverance and passionate goals, he was able to overcome obstacles and frustrations and maintain focus on his goals. Further, Dr. Richard Restak, clinical professor of neuroscience at George Washington University Hospital School of Medical and Health Sciences stated that, "For the brain to remember to organize behavior in alignment with a goal it must connect the emotional component with its rational component. This alignment links the prefrontal cortex with the limbic system, thereby dramatically enhancing the likelihood that the goal will be remembered and translated into behavior. (Gelb, 2007, p. 50)."

In aligning goals with passions, Gelb references setting SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, accountable, responsible and timely. He also adds a new element, which he refers to as invoking EDISON, who's goals are emotional, decisive, integrated, sensory, optimistic and now. In other words, Edison was decisive and committed toward his goals and he integrated them with his overall purpose. He also invoked his senses in order to achieve them. When we "visualize" our goals using more than sight…by feeling, smelling, tasting and sensing it, it become more real to us. Edison was optimistic about achievement goals and "acting as if" it had already been achieved (Gelb, 2007).

Gelb observed that Edison "looked on the bright side of everything." Edison always remained optimistic toward achieving his goals and solving problems. Gelb describes this element as "cultivating a charismatic optimism." This charismatic optimism drew other people to Edison and instilled confidence in his colleagues and others. Dr. Martin Seligman, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Positive Psychology Centre, researched learned optimism, and his work confirmed that optimists succeed more often at school, work, and sports and in relationships (Gelb, 2007).

Gelb describes Edison as "super curious," and he satiated this thirst for knowledge with reading and experimentation. In fact, he learned to speed read because when he wanted to know something, he wanted to find the answers quickly. Gelb describes this super curiousness and thirst for knowledge as "seeking knowledge relentlessly" (Gelb, 2007).

To seek knowledge relentlessly, Gelb offers efficient means of study, which include setting clear objectives, doing exercises to "warm up the brain," overviewing the text, and recording and sharing key points. To "warm up the brain," he recommends making note of what you already know about the subject before setting out on research. Then, prior to reading a text, overviewing it by looking at the table of contents, introduction, chapter summaries and conclusion before starting to read. This gives a big picture of what's to be found in the book. Then, you can focus on what's most relevant to your objectives when reviewing the book (Gelb, 2007). Finally, a solution-centered mindset involves persistent experimentation. Gelb observes that experimentation was the driving force for Edison's creative process. In Edison's own words, "The only way to keep ahead of the procession is to experiment. If you don't, the other fellow will. When there's no experimenting, there's no progress. Stop experimenting and you go backward. If anything goes wrong, experiment until you get to the very bottom of the trouble (Gelb, 2007, p. 68)."

Edison travelled to England, where laboratories had the most sophisticated equipment and he decided to develop a laboratory in the US that would demonstrate excellence in research and experimentation, which became the world's first Research and Development laboratory at Menlo Park in 1876. "Over the course of his career, Edison's dedication to equipping his laboratories with the highest quality machines and materials inspired the confidence of his workers, customers and investors (Gelb, 2007, p. 69)." Edison not only experimented in his lab, but he also carried experimentation to the outside world and experimented persistently. "Great achievers understand intuitively that the human brain is the most profoundly powerful solution-finding mechanism in the known universe. And they recognize that persistence is the key to keeping that mechanism engaged. "(Gelb, 2007, p 75).

"Resilience in the face of adversity is the greatest long-term predictor of success for individuals and organizations. And, persistence in the process of experimentation, when desired or expected results are elusive, is the way that resilience is expressed(Gelb, 2007, p. 75)."

2. Kaleidoscope Thinking
Kaleidoscope thinking is an extraordinary approach to idea generation (Gelb, 2007, p. 83)." The first element of kaleidoscope thinking involves keeping a journal or notebook to record observations and ideas. The notebook also serves as a record to protect inventions, copyrights and patents. Vera John-Steiner of the University of New Mexico in her book Notebooks of the Mind supports the idea that journaling can provide a bridge between the imagination and the outer world. Writing a personal notebook allows one to express themselves however they like without having to confi[orm to a format or to write to be understood by another (Gelb, 2007).

The second element of kaleidoscope thinking is "ideaphoria," the generation of multiple new ideas. Edison used three methods to generate these ideas: word association, analogical thinking and fantastical story telling. He was able to associate his observations with previous notes in his journals by regularly reviewing what he'd written. He did not judge his ideas, merely recorded them. "Analogical thinking is a way to generate insights by bringing together ideas that at first seem quite different from one another, but are later seen to be related in some way (Gelb, 2007, p. 92)." Edison is said to have liked the Shakespeare quote, "Now is the winter of our discontent," and recorded it several times in his notebooks. He believed that the use of analogies was a key part of his innovation process and stated, "A logical mind that sees analogies to be an essential quality of an inventor (Gelb, 2007, p. 93)." Gelb points out that research into practical intelligence confirms analogy as one of the mind's most useful problem solving methods. According to John Clement, University of Massachusetts, higher-order thought often begins with analogical thing. In fact, "Clement discovered that a key element in the mind of an innovator is the ability "to generate analogies both within and across disciplinary boundaries" (Gelb, 2007, p. 93). Edison also talked out loud about and told fantastical stories about ideas that he found interesting. "Edison's 'fantastical stories' and musings stimulated his imagination and led him to conceive of things that seemed impossible to others, like incandescent light, talking machines, and moving pictures (Gelb, 2007, p. 95). Gelb notes that neuroscientist, Dr. Richard Restak has stated that for optimal brain function, one must eliminate chronological thinking and try to develop new pathways in the brain through creative thinking. He believed that creativity is a natural human ability (Gelb, 2007). The next element of kaleidoscope thinking is to discern patterns. Edison was able to observe patterns in his environment, and "He came to believe that nature expressed itself in precise, mathematical patterns (Gelb, 2006, p. 99)." This belief gave him the confidence that he would be able to unlock the secrets of nature. By viewing patterns, Edison was able to perceive the world as composed of infinite connections, and to see trends that allowed him to see and solve problems in new ways. Edison's ability to see patterns also allowed him to instantly detect errors in data from experiments. Mind mapping is a method that can help to enhance discerning patterns (Gelb, 2007).

Expressing ideas visually is the fourth element of kaleidoscope thinking. Edison expressed his ideas in his notebooks in drawings. He used three dimensional models and prototypes to demonstrate his ideas visually, and he also used them to explore possibilities. Edison also used his drawings to communicate with his lab team. They had various levels of education and experience, so by demonstrating an idea visually, he was able to easily communicate his vision (Gelb, 2007).

Finally, Edison explored the roads not taken. "Innovation demands the ability to think independently and act courageously (Gelb, 2007, p. 111)." Edison did not mind or fear exploring ideas that were outside the currently accepted thought (Gelb, 2007).

3. Full-spectrum Engagement
Edison was able to balance intense work and relaxation. Gelb describes this balance as the process of "flow." He describes five elements that are couples of characteristics to be balanced:
• Intensity and relaxation – by being able to balance hard work with relaxation, Edison was able to integrate new ideas into his thinking. Psychologists refer to the ability to recall new material after a break as the reminiscence effect (Gelb, 2007).
• Seriousness and playfulness – Edison believed that humor was an important part of creativity, so although he took his work very seriously, he always had time for fun (Gelb, 2007).
• Sharing and protecting – while Edison wanted to share his ideas and work with others, he also recognized that he had to protect his new ideas from competitors. He believed that his competitive advantage was continuous innovation. He protected his work with patents and also published papers extensively, which shared his ideas with others (Gelb, 2007).
• Complexity and simplicity – Edison had a talent for taking complex ideas and communicating them in simple and clear instructions. "Edison's ability to manage complexity by seeing the big picture as well as the details was more than just a cognitive skill. It was predicated on his remarkable gift for remaining calm and centered while embracing a wide array of challenges (Gelb, 2007, p. 135)."
• Solitude and Team – Edison balanced working independently with collaborating with a team of supportive and congenial workers. Edison balanced introversion and extroversion and this requires self discipline, as most of us lean more toward one state than the other (Gelb, 2007).

4. Master-mind Collaboration
The term master mind came from Napoleon Hill, who defined the term as, "coordination of knowledge and effort in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose" (Gelb, 2007, p. 143). His premise was that when people who share a passion and common goals work together, they can exponentially improve their creative energy (Gelb, 2007).

The first element of master mind collaboration is recruiting for chemistry and results. In other words, the recruitment goal is to find people who will contribute to the company's "collaborative chemistry." Edison hired people who were determined, entrepreneurial and good problem solvers. Secondly, Edison's teams were multidisciplinary to complement his talents and compensate for his weaknesses. His team of innovators was from diverse backgrounds, but shared common values, such as respect, integrity and excellence. Thirdly, Edison inspired an environment of open exchange. His work facilities were designed with this in mind, to promote exchange of ideas and an atmosphere of learning (Gelb, 2007).

"Edison created a vibrant think tank where employees were free to generate, share, and then test their ideas. Edison was the ultimate decision maker, but he knew his decisions would be better if he was informed by a full spectrum of discussion. He encouraged lively, respectful debate, entertaining a wide range of conflicting viewpoints from all levels of his team. Edison successfully facilitated a true democracy of ideas. He created a level intellectual playing field where there was no pecking order to poison exchanges (Gelb, 2007, p. 155)."

The fourth element of Master-Mind collaboration is to reward collaboration. Edison provided many intrinsic rewards in his organization. The environment itself included open exchange, ongoing learning and commitment to excellence, and employees were aware that this was a rewarding environment in which to work. Edison also financially rewarded his employees for initiative (Gelb, 2007). Lastly, Edison was a master networker. He encouraged networking outside his organization to bring in new ideas from multiple disciplines. In addition to cultivating personal relationships, he also attended trade shows and conferences. In short, as the saying goes, "It's not just what you know, but who you know." (Gelb, 2007).

5. Super-value Creation
"Edison's philosophy of value was 'bringing out the secrets of nature and applying them for the happiness of man'" (Gelb, 2007, p. 173). Gelb describes super value creation as the ultimate competency for innovation, and suggests that adding value beyond that of your competitors is key to successful innovation (Gelb, 2007). The elements involved in super-value creation are:

a. Link Market Trends with Core Strengths – Edison always questioned what needs could be filled with his innovations. He looked at trends in the marketplace and shifting needs and then determined whether there was a gap that could be filled as a result. He was able to identify core needs in these gaps and connect them to his company's core competencies to propose experiments to see if he could fill the needs (Gelb, 2007).

b. Tune in to Your Target Audience – Edison stated, "Anything that won't sell, I don't want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility and utility is success" (Gelb, 2007, p. 185). Edison's invention of the electrical power system was a significant innovation, largely due to the fact that it met customer needs, and this resulted from extensive market research. Early in his career, Edison learned that inventing something which others didn't recognize a need led to the eventual failure of the product/invention (Gelb, 2007).

c. Apply the Right Business Model – Edison was integrally involved in his over 150 businesses, so he gained experience in applying the right business model to capitalize on his companies' strengths. "To provide super-value for customers, the legs of your business model must work together to deliver benefits that your end-users want and that reflect your organization's core competencies" (Gelb, 2007, p. 193). Over his lengthy career, Edison applied more than six different business models to his organization while experimenting to meet changing market conditions (Gelb, 2007).

d. Understand Scale-up Effects – Edison was one of the first to practice building models and/or prototypes to test his new products prior to introducing them to the market. This allowed him to work out any bugs in the product to ensure that the product met the needs of customers. Today, this is common practice, but it was first tried by Edison. "Scale-up works best when a multidisciplinary team collaborates on the process. In other words, people who don't normally work together need to connect as early in the innovation process as possible to make the scale-up run smoothly. …This allowed the manufacturing experts to isolate key elements that would drive the greatest efficiency in scale-up (Gelb, 2007, p. 208)."

e. Create an Unforgettable Market-moving Brand – In Edison's time, there was not the abundance of marketing texts available that we can access today to consult about building a brand. However, he became aware that he needed to create a strong brand for his products through the use of public relations, product demonstrations and targeted marketing including brochures, advertising and instruction manuals. Edison's brand stood for leading-edge technology, innovative product applications, excellent quality, variety and value.

References:

The above is an excerpt from Carla Weaver's Masters Thesis for her Master of Science degree at California Southern University, December 2010.

Gelb, Michael J., (1998). How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Dell Publishing, New York.

Gelb, Michael J, and Caldicott, Sarah G., (2007), Innovate Like Edison, Penguin Books Ltd., London, England.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 25,2012
Is There A Creative Personality? – Part 2

Mikhaly Csikszentmihalyi

Csikszentmihalyi spent 30 years researching creative people and identified 10 traits of creative people (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996):

1. Creative people have a lot of physical energy. Csikszentmihalyi observed that creative people work long hours with energy and enthusiasm, but they seem to be able to rest and regenerate themselves and focus when necessary (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).

2. Creative people are simultaneously smart and naïve. Studies at Stanford showed that those with IQs of 120 or higher generally succeed better at life and are more creative; however, those with the highest IQs beyond 120 are not necessarily the most creative. The most creative seem to be able to use both divergent and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking is the ability to generate many ideas and to be flexible and original. However, divergent thinking may not be able to distinguish between good ideas and bad ideas. Convergent thinking is the ability to select the best alternatives. (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).

3. Creative people are both playful and responsible. They can take an idea and develop it to its final conclusion (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).

4. Creative people move between imagination and reality. While they use their imagination to come up with new ideas, they must also be solidly rooted in reality, so that they can "go beyond what we now consider real and create a new reality (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996, p. 39)."

5. Creative people are both introverted and extroverted (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).

6. Creative people are both humble and proud. They are humble because they recognize the many contributions of those who came before them in order for them to be able to come up with their own ideas, yet they recognize that in comparison with others, they have accomplished a great deal, which makes them proud (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).

7. Creative people do not fit gender stereotyping. Girls who are creative tend to be tougher and stronger than other girls, while creative boys tend to be more sensitive than other boys. "Creative individuals are more likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender, but those of the other one, too (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996, p. 40)."

8. Creative people are rebellious and conservative at the same time. They must respect the tradition and culture within which they function, but they must also be willing to take risks…to dare to be different (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).

9. Creative people are passionate about their work, but also objective. While committed and passionate, it is also important to be self-critical in a way that helps one to improve or stay on track, and also to be able to accept criticism and feedback from others (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).

10. Creative people are sensitive and open, which brings them both pain and joy. Creative people feel bliss and joy through the process of creating their work. When unable to work, it is painful for them. It is also painful for them sometimes to hear criticism of their work from others and it can be painful to be misunderstood, as is often the case when one is breaking new ground (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).

"Creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals. If I had to express in one word, what makes their personalities different from others, it's complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996, p. 36)."

Csikszentmihalyi is also well known in the field of sport psychology for his work on the concept of flow - a special type of intrinsic motivation, if you will. Csikszentmihalyi investigated what makes a task intrinsically motivating. He studied rock climbing, dancing, chess, music and amateur sports – people do these activities with intensity, but often, they are not rewarded in any external way, so what motivates them? Along with Sue Jackson, Csikszentmihalyi wrote the book, Flow in Sport: The Keys to Optimal Experiences and Performances, in which they identified a number of common elements that make sports activities intrinsically rewarding:

• The most important point is the balance between perceived skill and challenge. When competition (challenge) is strong, then a participant is more likely to feel the flow state; therefore, when something is too easy or too difficult, one is not likely to get into the flow state.
• Secondly, one is completely immersed in the activity – so involved that they become unaware of anything else – the only thing on the mind is performing the activity at hand.
• The person is not aware of crowd noises or any other distraction – they feel a sort of slow motion.
• The ego gets lost – just you and the ball, the rock, the music – whatever the activity is.
• The person becomes detached from the outcome – he or she feels an inner calmness (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).

Psychology master, Carl Jung, called it synchronicity and described it as "A meaningful coincidence of two or more events, where something other than the probability of chance is involved (Campbell, 1971)."

Synchronicity is a mysterious feeling during which things fall into place effortlessly and we meet people who assist us on our journey. At this time, we experience a feeling of certainty or inner confidence that things are going to work out for the best. "When most oarsmen talked about their perfect moments in a boat, they referred not so much to winning a race, as to the feel of the boat, all eight oars in the water together, the synchronization almost perfect. In moments like these, the boat seemed to lift right out of the water. Oarsmen called that the moment of swing (Halberstrom,1985)."

In The Inner Path of Leadership, Joseph Jaworski described this state as "extraordinary clarity, focus and concentration – the flow of time is altered." He further described it as, "Those perfect moments, when things come together in an almost unbelievable way, when events that could never be predicted, let alone controlled, remarkably seem to guide us along our path," and as, "An unfolding creative order (Jaworski, 1996)."

References:

The above is an excerpt from Carla Weaver's Masters Thesis for her Master of Science degree at California Southern University, December 2010.

Campbell, Joseph (1971). The Portable Jung, Penguin Books, Middlesex, England.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mikhaly, (July/August 1996). "The Creative Personality," Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, Inc., New York, p.36-40.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mikhaly, (1997). Finding Flow, Basic Books, New York.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mikhaly, (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Harper Perennial, New York.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mikhaly, and Jackson, Sue, Flow in Sport: The Keys to Optimal Experience and Performance.

Halberstrom, David. (1985). The Amateurs, A Fawcett Columbine Book, New York.

Jaworski, Joseph, (1996). Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 25,2012
Is There A Creative Personality? – Part I

Abraham Maslow

We have all heard of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which was presented by Abraham Maslow in a 1943 paper called "A Theory of Human Motivation." This theory states that, as humans meet basic needs, they then seek to satisfy higher needs in a hierarchical order. Maslow studied exemplary people such as Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others, as well as 1% of the healthiest college student population. He believed that we have deficiency needs, a need to make sure that certain requirements are met and not deficient, and those are the lower level needs in his hierarchy (physiology, safety, social and esteem needs) and growth needs – need for personal growth (self actualization and self transcendence). These growth needs are the deep motivations that drive us to creativity and motivation, and the needs that we, as leaders, must inspire. These are the needs that cause one to feel a deep longing, and inner need, the "human nature to create" (Maslow, 1943).

The higher need of self actualization (growth needs) is an instinctual need, and it drives humans to make the most of their abilities and to strive to be the best they can be. According to Maslow, self actualizing people are:
• Aware of and accepting of reality
• Spontaneous
• Creative
• Problem solvers
• Close to other people
• Appreciate life
• Moral
• Discerning
(Source: Maslow, Psychological Review, 1949)

In other words, they embrace the facts and realities of the world (including themselves), rather than denying or avoiding them; they have a good sense of reality and objective judgment. They are spontaneous in their ideas and actions, creative, inventive and original, and they are interested in solving problems. Solving problems is often a key focus in their lives, as they see problems as creative challenges (Maslow, 1943).

Maslow believed that we should study and cultivate peak experiences as a way of providing a route to achieve personal growth, integration, and fulfillment. Peak experiences are unifying, and ego-transcending, bringing a sense of purpose to the individual and a sense of integration. The individuals who are most likely to have peak experiences are self-actualizing, mature, healthy and self-fulfilled. All individuals are capable of peak experiences. Maslow said that those who do not have them are suppressing or denying them. (Maslow, 1943).

Although Maslow died in 1970, his theories are still relevant today for understanding motivation, and they have been extended and built upon by others in order to understand how people are motivated. He saw that all people have a basic human need for self actualization.

References:
The above is an excerpt from Carla Weaver's Masters Thesis for her Master of Science degree at California Southern University, December 2010.

Maslow, (1943). "A Theory of Human Motivation," Psychological Review.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 25,2012
Creativity and Personality

I completed my thesis for my master of science degree on the subject of creativity. One of the parts of the thesis related to whether there is a creative personality type. This week, I will post a series of exerpts from my thesis to examine this topic.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 24,2012
What Others Think of Me is None of My Business

What other people think of us is none of our business. What is important is what we think of ourselves and what our Creator thinks of us. Others do not know our motives, values, thoughts....so their opinions are only that...their impressions and responses to us. They are not real and probably not wholly true because others cannot know what goes on in our minds and hearts. Many feel obligated to judge us based on their responses to us, but the only judging that is valid is between each of us individually and our Creator. We know what is in our hearts and the true meanings of our actions, words and motivations. Those who are judging us are avoiding looking at themselves. Just remember to be kind, honest, honorable, heart-centred and connected to the Universe, and it does not matter what anyone else thinks.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 24,2012
Thanks for Reading

I would like to thank you for reading my BLOG. From the website stats, I know that each month, thousands of people are reading it, which encourages me to keep writing. This BLOG has only existed since January of this year. I had not really planned to start a BLOG, since I barely knew what a BLOG was. However, I did know that I wanted to do more writing, and I woke up in early January and felt guided to start this BLOG. I read regularly, try to practice what I write about by staying connected to my Source, and I sit down with pen and paper every day. Some days, I do not feel the inspiration, so I don't publish on those days; however, other days, I feel very inspired and may write two or three BLOGS and publish them. Thanks again for reading. Don't be afraid to respond if you feel like it.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 22,2012
Create with Love

I believe that it is human nature to create. Throughout time, all cultures and civilizations have had some form of creative expression – cave drawings, music. Actor, Andy Garcia, has said, "Acting was like hunger in the pit of my stomach, and if I didn't cater to it, it got worse." Olivier Messiaenn composed "Quartet for the End of Time" while in a Nazi concentration camp. Artist Lynn Schwartz says, "Painting slows down a complex world for me. It allows time for the study of a leaf or rock. It satisfies a hunger in me." (Lynn Schwartz). And, Paramahansa Yogananda says, "Every human being has some spark of power by which he can create something that has not been created before." According to Choquette, "It is our purpose. When you infuse your will to create with real love and enthusiasm, the effort becomes a pleasure. People who work with love attract it into their lives. People who work with enthusiasm bring it out in others. Magical thinking does not mean manipulative thinking. It does mean getting out of the work involved, escaping the necessary steps to your dream. It means working from your true self, your soul, and being authentic about what you must do to create your dream." (Choquette, 1997, p. 146). We feel there is more to life than what we are experiencing …a longing to create.

Most of the literature by spiritual and religious writers involves the word love in the definition of creativity. Love is commonly thought of as how we respond to something; for instance, we love a person or thing. In creativity, it is the cause, not the response. We create the object of our love…we love something into being. A creator loves something that does not yet exist. When we do something of our own choosing - utilizing our unique gifts and passions, we bring our love to it. In creating, love is an action verb - it is about the creating, not about the rewards and/or happiness that the result may bring to the creator (Fritz, 1991).

References:

Choquette, Sonia. (1997). Your Heart's Desire: Instructions for Creating the Life You Really Want, Three Rivers Press, New York.
Fritz, Robert, (1991). Creating, Fawcett Columbine, New York.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 22,2012
Work With Love; Love Your Work

"All great work – artistic, poetic, intellectual or spiritual – is produced at those moments when creators forget themselves altogether and are free from self-consciousness (Walpola Rahula)."

Do you think that Michaelangelo could have created the David or Pieta when he was focused on himself or his ego? Could Leonardo have painted The Last Supper or Mona Lisa from a place of ego? Think about when you create your best work, whether you are thinking about art, business, education, or gardening … what were you thinking about when you created it? Most likely, all other thoughts were suspended and you were completely enwrapped in your creation. It may have been as if you were meditating. It is said that when we create, we love the creation into being. When we look at it this way, the phrase, "love your work" takes on new meaning.

"When you infuse your will to create with real love and enthusiasm, the effort becomes a pleasure. People who work with love attract it into their lives. People who work with enthusiasm bring it out in others. Magical thinking does not mean manipulative thinking. It does mean getting out of the work involved, escaping the necessary steps to your dream. It means working from your true self, your soul, and being authentic about what you must do to create your dream (Choquette, 1997, p. 146)."

Reference:

Choquette, Sonia. (1997). Your Heart's Desire: Instructions for Creating the Life You Really Want, Three Rivers Press, New York.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 22,2012
Be Prepared

Sometimes, we are not inspired, yet we want to continue to create. What are we to do? Wait for inspiration? Or, exercise our creative craft by continuing to write, paint, garden dance, cook, build, sew? The Boy Scouts' motto is "Be prepared." We must continue to practice our craft to prepare to create. Do some writing or drawing exercises, sew an apron, bake a cake. The next great idea will strike…perhaps when you are doing something completely unrelated to your art….in the shower, just before falling asleep, while driving….

"I can remember the very spot in the road, whilst in my carriage, when to my joy the solution occurred to me (Charles Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin)."

Carry a note pad and pen; have them at your bedside, in the car …. Be ready to capture your ideas when they occur. Be ready by practicing and by having the tools that you need. Be prepared!

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 18,2012
Affirmation for Healing

Many believe that our physical health is a reflection of our spiritual health, and that when we experience spiritual discomfort, it is reflected in our physical condition. I provide the following affirmation for healing.

The natural state of the human body is perfect health. This is a fact of nature, so if I feel unwell, it is an error that can be corrected. God heals. Nature heals. I quiet myself and go deep within to that place at my core where I know that God is. In that place, I center myself and I am still. Disease is a dis – ease with something. I can come to this place of stillness whenever I feel a sense of uneasiness with something. I wait and listen and I am still and calm. I breathe the life source into my core and my every cell knowing that I am well and in God's hands.

God is love and all that is was created from love. I am love and created from the pure love of God, and I am whole and in perfect health and spirit.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 17,2012
Affirmation for Practicing Prudence

Today, I will practice prudence. Prudence is taking care of myself by exercising good judgment and being discerning and wise when it comes to money management. It is planning for contingencies and looking out for my own needs. I do this by saving a portion of my income for retirement and by having a contingency fund for unexpected expenses, such as repairs or emergencies. I do this by having a budget and being practical and wise with my expenditures. I do this by ensuring that I have a steady stream of income by being open and receptive to opportunities, by promoting myself prudently, by having my resume, website and business cards up to date, and by networking and presenting a professional image. I do my part, and then turn it over to the universe, which always provides what we need.

Prudence is not a frenzied, worried state. It is a calm state of positive action and positive expectancy. When I live in this state of practicing prudence, everything flows as it should. Today, I make two decisions: first, I decide to calmly exercise prudence, knowing that all things turn out for the best; second, I turn over my life to the universe knowing that there are infinite possibilities open to me.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 13,2012
What's in your tool box?

I recently had a discussion with a fellow artist about painting. She works in mixed media because she says she uses whatever materials are around her to accomplish the painting. As I continue to write, I continue to realize just how much art reflects life. In life, we must use all the tools we have to lead a creative life. My favorite tool is journaling … when I write about things, it helps me to see them more clearly. Others use their art to help express what they feel and sort through problems and make decisions. Some pray or meditate. We can take a walk, go to the gym, get therapy, attend support groups, read, bake … whatever works. What's in your creative tool box?

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 12,2012
Kindred Spirits

Last week, I had the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend with whom I haven't spent time for several years. It is amazing how we can drift away from old friends when we live in different locations and life gets busy. However, true friends can pick up where they left off as if there was no gap between. Some friends have a heart and spirit connection that does not require being in the same time and place to stay connected. Heart and spirit friends are timeless and perhaps friends we've known before during other lifetimes or kindred spirits that we meet in this lifetime. These are the friends I call soul sisters, kindred spirits who share some understanding. All of us meet friends like these in our lifetimes – they are a gift from the Universe.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 11,2012
Gentleness

The Universe is gentleness, but not all of its people and systems are gentle. It becomes impossible to express gentleness when life has been harsh. Armor is meant to be impenetrable and protective. Expressing gentleness means being vulnerable and taking off the armor. How can those who have been unsafe become vulnerable enough to express gentleness? It can only be done gradually one step at a time by peeling away the protective armor slowly one layer at a time. Some can show their gentleness through their art by painting soft florals, portraits of children, charming scenes, or singing soft ballads. We create through our own eyes, our own experiences …. Our work is unique when we create from our authentic selves because we are unique. If what we feel inside is not gentle, we can create from that place…we can paint with sharp contrasts, strong colors and forceful shapes. We can create discordant music, use discordant colors. Create from that which is unique in you. Create from harshness until you can find the gentleness in you.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 11,2012
Playing It Safe

Last week, I attended an art workshop and we were asked by the instructor to bring one painting we'd done in the past that represented our work. "Choose only one," she said. I had to ask myself, "If I can show only one painting to represent my art practice, which one do I choose?" Do I take the large 36" X 36" Tulip oil painting that hangs over my bed … the best of a series of large strong happy colorful flower portraits that I painted several years ago and that makes a strong statement with color and size? Do I take the mixed media collage called "Calling My Spirit Back" that represents a breakthrough in my spiritual growth? Do I take the small "On the Horizon" landscape that positively looks to the future? Do I take the "Lily" that has the mixed media background that I think is technically one of my best? No, I take the small orderly still life that is carefully executed, safe and doesn't say much …doesn't draw too much attention to myself. As always, art reflects life, and I struggle to let my light shine. What kind of statement do you make when you enter the room? Or, when you interact in a group? Do you let your light shine and expose who you are? Or, do you play it safe?

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 10,2012
Hope Heart and Vision

Three years ago, The Little House, a building that had been donated to a local community to be used by 12 step recovery groups, was destroyed by arson. Today, a new Little House opened! This new recovery house was built with hope, heart and vision by caring people in the community. The recovery house recovered from devastation and now stands as a symbol in the community for those who have destroyed their own lives by addiction to demonstrate that they, too, can recover and rebuild with the help of people with hope, heart and vision and with their own hope, heart and vision and the help of a higher power or the Universe.

All of us can give back to our communities in some way, whether it is in a small way by being kind to our neighbours or in larger ways by being on boards and committees in community organizations or fund raising for good causes. Some people are still finding their way, so those who are able can do more. Use your heart, hope and vision to give back to your community as best you can.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)

Dedicated to my friend, who has hope, heart and vision and contributed to rebuild The Little House.

(There are recovery groups and houses all over the world. If you need help, have courage, and call your local AA, Alanon, NA, Overeaters Anonymous, or appropriate group for help.)

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 10,2012
The Path of Transformation

Several months ago, I read that when we make a decision to carry out the will of God or to flow with the universe's direction, it changes every cell in our body. Since I was not really feeling as though my life was flowing with the universe, I made this decision at a deeper level than ever before. At first, I did not feel any different. Then, I started to feel as if I was in a period of transition. I wrote about transformation and the diapause of the larvae that delay spinning their cocoons to transform into butterflies because they aren't ready. I collected images of butterflies. In addition, I began to notice other things of which I had not previously been aware. Then, there was a period of time when I was suddenly confronted by all of my faults and mistakes, as if the Universe decided that I needed to face all of these all at once. This has been an extremely painful time during which I have learned many lessons, but I am reminded of the quote from "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" movie that "Everything will be all right in the end, and if it is not all right, then it is not yet the end." I take comfort that it is not yet the end and there is a plan for me. I am also comforted by the fact that I do not have to carry the weight of the Universe on my shoulders. I can flow with the Universe and the Universe is in charge.

"Spiritual healing occurs as we begin to consciously reconnect with our essential being … the wise, loving, powerful, creative entity that we are at the core. Through this connection with our spiritual essence … we experience a sense of safety, trust and fulfillment, a feeling of belonging in the Universe (Gawain, 1993, p. 76)."

References:

Line from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie, Director: John Madden.
Gawain, S. (1993). The Path of Transformation, Nataraj, Mill Valley, CA.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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June 09,2012
Divine Inspiration

Two weekends ago, my friend and I visited a painting exhibit called "Learn the Flowers" by artist Gabryel Harrison. I have been trying to write about my response to her work ever since, but have not been able to find the words. It is as if my response was directly with my soul, and there are no words to convey how I experienced the work. I guess that is the highest compliment anyone can give to art. When I encountered "Shine your Light," a huge 40" x 50" oil, I felt enwrapped in the luscious red velvet petals of the rose … drawn to the centre that was pure light. This painting was surely divinely inspired to be able to speak directly to my soul. In fact, the Winsor Gallery write up about the show and Gabryel's work states, "Her expressions are less about representation than illuminations of inner states of consciousness." I felt that illumination when I viewed her paintings. To be divinely inspired, we must practice our craft and also connect to the divine through spiritual practice.

"Every creative genius has been a channel. Every masterwork has been created through the channeling process. Great works are not created by the ego. They arise from a deep inspiration on the universal level, and are then expressed and brought into form through the individual ego and personality.
A person may have great technical skill, but without the ability to channel, his work will be uninspiring. The difference between a technician and a channel was clearly demonstrated in the movie "Amadeus." Salieri knew how to write music, but he didn't know how to tap into the creative source. Mozart … one of the most amazing channels who ever lived … wrote music that was both technically perfect and wonderfully inspired, and he did so easily, spontaneously, without thought or effort. From his early childhood on, music just seemed to bubble up and overflow from within him (Gawain, 1986, p. 17)."

References:

Gawain, S. (1987). Living in the Light, New World Library, San Rafael, CA.

You can view Gabryel Harrison's work at http://www.gabryel.com/ or http://www.winsorgallery.com/artists.php?artwork=harrison_1

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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June 09,2012
Express the Pain

People who have been abused, criticized, bullied or restricted are filled with anger, resentment, hurt and restraint. They have been unable to express themselves freely and safely. They are deeply wounded and damaged by being victimized in the world. These people are far from being able to express their creativity until they have been able to deal with the stored anger, resentment and hurt. It is said that hurt people hurt people. This may not be their intent and it is not their true nature as children of the Universe, but it is what they know. If you beat a dog, it will be vicious, but it isn't the dog's fault. Cruelty begets cruelty. Those who have been hurt want to hurt back. One way for hurt people to resolve the anger, hurt and resentment is to express it through writing, drawing, painting, music, dance, sculpture, acting…. These are safe healthy ways to unload this negativity. So, while the first attempts may not be successful as art, they are a good start to unblocking the love and beauty that is inside and moving toward the start of a creative life. Buy a journal, a canvas, a guitar, some dancing shoes… and express your pain. It may not be pretty, but it will eventually lead you to a positive place.

"If everybody feels fear when approaching something totally new in life, yet so many are out there "doing it" despite the fear, then we must conclude that fear is not the problem. Obviously, the real issue has nothing to do with the fear itself, but, rather, how we hold the fear. For some, the fear is totally irrelevant. For others, it creates a state of paralysis. The former hold their fear from a position of power (choice, energy and action), and the latter hold it from a position of pain (helplessness, depression and paralysis).
"From this it can be seen that the secret in handling fear is to move yourself from a position of pain to a position of power. The fact that you have the fear then becomes irrelevant… I am talking about power within the self. This means power over your perceptions of the world, power over how you react to situations in your life, power to do what is necessary for your own self-growth, power to create joy and satisfaction in your life, power to act and power to love (Jeffers, 1987, p. 34)."

"It's very important to realize that you may not be able to change your old patterns overnight. Sometimes things seem to change rapidly, once you've recognized the message, but sometimes it seems like you keep doing the same old thing and getting the same unpleasant results long after you feel you know better. It takes time for the ego to change its habits, so you have to watch the same lousy movie repeat itself a few times.
If you feel your progress is too slow, ask the universe for help, and remind yourself that it will change soon. Change happens not by trying to make yourself change, but by becoming conscious of what's not working. You can then ask your higher self for help in releasing the old and bringing in the new pattern. Remember, the darkest hour is just before the dawn … change often occurs just when you've given up, or when you least expect it (Gawain, 1986, p. 30)."

References:
Gawain, S. (1986). Living in the Light, New World Library, San Rafael, CA

Jeffers, S. (1987). Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, Fawcett Columbine, New York, NY.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 09,2012
Get Out A Fresh Canvas

Sometimes, we are discouraged. Either our efforts produce disappointing results or they are not well received. We can only do our best and then leave it to the Universe. If we know that we have done our best, then we must simply learn what we can from disappointing results. Let it go and do better next time by applying what we've learned. We are all here to learn lessons. So, if you are discouraged about a work project, a painting or a relationship … look at what you've learned and apply it to the next. Get out a fresh canvas and start again. Do another project, start a new relationship, or work on the old. Paint a series.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 07,2012
Stop Bullies

Recently, there has been much press about bullying of young people at school. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. But, you don't have to be a child at school to experience bullying. It can happen when you least expect it at your work or other community activities, and it is devastating. It shatters confidence making one doubt themselves, threatens faith, causes untold emotional and mental stress, interferes with our creative flow. Bullies choose their targets wisely; they pick people who may be isolated and have nowhere to turn, or people that they perceive will not tell anyone or defend themselves. They choose competent people who make them feel insecure. They undermine you so that your credibility is questioned and they usually don't do anything wrong when others are watching. It makes you worried that you're imagining it because everyone else sees them as charming. It takes great strength and courage to protect yourself, but you can stop it. Most work places have some human resources policies to help deal with harassment, abuse or bullying. Find a trusted co-worker, friend, doctor, therapist or support group to tell. Check out www.bullynomore.com or www.bullyfreeatwork.com. You are not alone. Surprisingly, many bullies are women who bully other women. They probably have less courage and confidence than you do, so have courage. Bullies come in all sizes and shapes, and it could be someone you least suspect would be one. They may not be full time bullies. If you observe someone being bullied, offer support and love.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 06,2012
Let Go of Control

Trying to be in control is a coping mechanism for people who feel out of control or people whose egos are dominating them. In reality, none of us is in control of anything but ourselves. We can do nothing about any external people, place or thing. It is a waste of our energy to try. When groups of these people who want to control all get together, the energy is strong, tense and uncomfortable. This is the energy that causes conflict and war. To make great accomplishments, the energy of collaboration, love, harmony and peace is required. When we observe our politicians, boards, companies, communities and organizations, what does the energy feel like? Is it collaborative and supportive, or is it competitive and controlling? Each of us can do our part to contribute to the energy of the groups to which we belong. Is your energy competitive, controlling and driven by your ego, or is it harmonious, collaborative and loving? If it is the latter, expect to contribute to great accomplishments.

How can you make your energy harmonious, collaborative and loving? Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, recognize a power greater than yourself, know that the only direct impact that you have is on yourself, ask for help, and love your neighbour as yourself.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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June 03,2012
Having a CREDO

A few years ago, I was asked to teach a business course based on the book, Built to Last. The book is about visionary companies. One of the things that I came across in the book was the CREDO of Johnson & Johnson. A CREDO is defined as a "formula of belief." I decided to write my own personal CREDO using Johnson & Johnson's as a model. My CREDO basically set out my own moral and ethical code. Once I had written my CREDO and posted it on my office wall, I no longer had any moral or ethical dilemmas about how to handle situations. It was clear. If I was faced with a decision, I could glance at my CREDO and know my decision. Some people are guided by the Golden Rule, to "treat others as you would have them treat you." Others are guided by a personal or company vision or mission statement, or an ethical code prescribed by their profession. Some use their gut feel or an inner knowing or perceived direction from God. Whatever our guideline, it should be based on goodness, kindness, honesty, legality, truth and love. If it is not, we are misguided and the Universe will teach us how to align ourselves with these virtues.

If more people operated in the world according to a good and loving and honest code, the world would be a better place.

© Carla Weaver 2012

Reference: You can find Johnson & Johnson's CREDO at http://www.jnj.com/wps/wcm/connect/c7933f004f5563df9e22be1bb31559c7/jnj_ourcredo_english_us_8.5x11_cmyk.pdf?MOD=AJPERES


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June 02,2012
Be Kind To One Another

The other night, I was unable to sleep, so I turned on the light and reached for the Good Housekeeping magazine on my bedside table. God knows why I'd be reading Good Housekeeping, but my Mom must have brought it. There was an interview with Ellen Degeneres, so I read it. I have often heard that she is an extremely nice person and she certainly appears to be nice on her TV show. In the interview, she was describing her approach to comedy. She said, "I'm really proud I'm not adding to the negativity. I'm proud that for the hour my show is on television I'm not being mean, and I'm hopefully helping one other person go, I'm going to be kind. Because then it all just kind of spreads, and the world is a little nicer out there (Good Housekeeping, October 2011, p. 219)."

Wayne Dyer asks the question, "Is it better to be right or to be kind?" This is a short and easy reminder to ask ourselves when we are being right or arrogant.

What does being kind have to do with living a creative life? We get back what we put out. If I am kind, I will create an atmosphere of kindness in my life. So, as Ellen DeGeneres says at the end of every show, "Be kind to one another."

Reference: Good Housekeeping (October 2011)."Nice Girls Finish First" an interview by David Hochman with Ellen DeGeneres.

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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June 01,2012
Reconnecting to the Creative Force

When I fly on an airplane and it rises above the clouds, I am reminded that the sun is always shining somewhere, even though I may not see it. It is a comforting feeling to know that the light is always there. The Love of the Universe, the God of our understanding, the Light within us, the energy of nature … they are always there. We can connect to these energies any time to feel our connection to the Great Creator. So, when you are missing the sun and the light or the feeling of connectedness to the Universe, meditate on it to regain your connection. This will help to put you back on track and then your creative energy will begin to flow again.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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