December 19,2015
Creativity is Complicated

I was sitting at one of my favorite coffee shops this morning sipping on a café latte with my journal open, pen laying on the table … but, nothing was happening. I realized that I was waiting for inspiration.

I am often so busy “doing’ – trying to stroke items of the never ending “to do” list that when I approach those items that require thought, inspiration and creativity, I must stop, connect to whatever the creative source is, and take time to be inspired. Sometimes, I have to set aside those items until the routine items are completed and there is more time for thought and mindfulness.

This forces the question – when I am tackling those other things on my “to do” list, the routine items, am I doing them creatively? I think that we can approach everything that we do with creativity and inspiration. We should do things mindfully giving them our full attention, staying in the moment, and doing them lovingly. However, we are not always allowed the time and process to do that.

Employers, project managers, clients impose constraints on our creative processes. We are told that we’ll be allowed 12 hours or paid $1000 for a project or job. We are measured and evaluated on our ability and consistency in meeting goals, deadlines and budgets. So creativity really involves being able to work creatively within the constraints of the project. In a business environment, these constraints involve missions, goals, project schedules, budgets, etc. It is perhaps no different for the independent artist or poet. We must create our work within the time constraints imposed by “day jobs,” or purchase our art materials within a limited budget, or paint what galleries expect us to paint and think that they can sell, or price the paintings so that people will buy them even though our time and skill are not fairly compensated.

Creativity and innovation are complicated. Just like anything, it requires a certain amount of discipline, experience and balance to create, innovate and live within certain constraints. It is all about making decisions and trade-offs to balance the creative work with the imposed constraints.  Creativity involves critical thinking and problem solving….it is not a frivolous process.

© Dr. Carla Weaver 2015


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December 14,2015
Learning When to Move On

Being around some people isn’t good for us. That’s true. Some people are not supportive of us. They may not want to see us grow, develop and change because they fear losing us; they may be jealous of our progress or success; they may just be mean spirited and not wish to see anyone succeed; they may be well meaning but needy or clingy; they may be mentally ill. There could be a million possibilities about why some people are unsupportive. The bottom line, though, is that it is not them that hold us back. It is us – we may fail to recognize unhealthy relationships or not know how to or wish to get out of them. It is part of our own growth processes to learn to recognize distractions and obstacles in our paths and learn how to overcome them.

I am not saying that it is okay for another to abuse or bully us or to hold us back knowingly or unknowingly. Those are their paths. Our job is to recognize obstacles and move past them lovingly. At first, we may not have the skills to move past them lovingly; we may move on with anger and resentment, but later, we may learn to forgive and later yet, we may learn to move on with love, kindness and forgiveness. Later yet, we may learn to recognize the signs in the first place and sidestep unhealthy relationships totally. It is like the saying about repeatedly walking down the same street and stepping in the same hole and then eventually learning to walk down a different street.

© Dr. Carla Weaver 2015


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December 06,2015
The Dark Night of the Soul

In the past few days, I have been doing some research on the concept of “the dark night of the soul” for a work project. It has been a very interesting and enlightening learning experience for me.

Sometimes in life, we pass through dark periods when we feel utterly lost and alone, and I am reminded of the poem, Footprints in the Sand, written by Mary Stevenson in 1936, which I have printed below.

Call these periods what we will ... dark night of the soul, the void, some type of astrological transit … there is probably some truth in all of these disciplines and interpretations.

The particular literature that I have been reading relates to the concept of spiritual formation or spiritual awakening, and the various stages through which one passes. In particular, I have been reading about spiritual maturity and that in order to develop to spiritual maturity, we must face our shadow sides and see ourselves as we truly are with egos set aside. Some literature states that when we are ready, God gives us experiences through which we can learn and accept the true nature of ourselves and learn to love unconditionally. Perhaps this is true, since I have seen many examples of others who have seemed to have countless traumatic or difficult experiences one after the other causing one to wonder how life can be so unfair.

At times, in my own life, it seemed that no matter what I did, things just didn’t work out the way I hoped or intended … times when I just felt that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time … times when there seemed to be no caring God to help.

The readings I have looked at in the last few days suggest that these periods and experiences teach us to accept ourselves and help us to grow toward unconditional love and surrendering to God’s will for us.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
 Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Mary Stevenson, 1936

 

References:

Chandler, C., Holden, J., Kolander, C. (1992). Counseling for Spiritual Wellness: Theory and Practice, Journal of Counseling & Development, November/December 1992, Vol. 71, pp. 168-175.

Coe, J. (2003). Musings on the Dark Night of the Soul: Insights from St. John of the Cross on a Developmental Spirituality, in Hall, T. and McMinn, M. (eds.) (2003). Spiritual Formation, Counseling, and Psychotherapy, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., pp. 69-88.

Vaughan, F. (1991). Spiritual Issues in Psychotherapy, The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1991, Vo. 23, No. 2, pp. 105-119.

 

© Dr. Carla Weaver 2015         


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