Lately, I’ve been reading a few posts from friends that flesh out some of the many patterns we humans have with screen time and social media. One example is Chris Corrigan in which he references “stolen focus.” It’s the tendency to get swept away (down rabbit holes, etc), following posts and links to everything from brilliant to ridiculous. It seems to me it’s pretty deliberate strategies to capture our respective attentions. It’s both brilliant, right — the emergence of such a phenomenon in a digitally available world. It’s also maddening, right — feels like creating additictions that take us away from being in more quality with ourselves and with others.
I know that there are many kinds of relationships that any of us can have with social media (including this blog). I find myself in varied modes and varied seasons. Sometimes I want to follow interesting things and be in the sparkiness of it. However, inevitably what works for me, and as a deliberate act of self-care / well-being, I have to “say no to good things.” I have to say no to following the details. I have to press pause on following the inspiration that others are offering. And instead, I have to say yes to my own creative expression. It’s one of the main reasons that I write — be it this blog, my poetry books, or the other ways that I generate and share materials, formats, ideas, etc. My body and spiritual being needs my inner yes.
I want to say that again — my body and spiritual being needs my inner yes, my creative expression. It’s true for me. For many of us I suppose. I need some of my energy coming from my deep listening to what is inner — not just listening to the volume of great things outer.
Lately, I’ve been revisiting Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic. One of the themes that I so appreciate from her is the notion that creative ideas actually are their own life form. They live because of a certain readiness to be expressed or perpetuated into presence and being. It’s means, in a very common way, that for those of us who offer creative expression, it’s not just us creating it. The ideas come to claim us. They come to see if we can host them for a bit. They come to see if we can lend energy to them, to perhaps bring a bit of tangibility or noticeability.
Elizabeth Gilbert writes in her conclusion of the book:
“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a curtain chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make a space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise — you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”
And so, I bow with appreciation for these insights that flow through me now. Heart, brain, and belly to fingers on keyboard. Associating a few of the things that have found their way before me (thanks Chris, thanks Elizabeth Gilbert), but then also shifting from taking in what others have done to sorting them in one of my creative expressions (this post on this blog).
I so yearn for more of this expression in the groups I work with — creative expression, creative energy, creative living with mystery, creative living with beauty.
Yup, this is one of the things that my many years of facilitating and living have brought forward now.
3 Replies to “Creative Expression”
For me the early internet was everything I hoped it would be. As a kid I was greedy for the encyclopedia and the books of knowledge. When I read the Bible I followed all the footnotes. When hypertext was invented it served my brain and curiosity perfectly.
For me it’s about having the agency to discover knowledge and interesting connections. Social media destroys that agency with algorithms that take you off you own trajectory and into the arms of the advertisers. Even using Google to start a search on something relatively obscure is useless. I have to start with ResearchGate or by searching though my ten years of Evernote clippings or search my newsreader Or even look at online syllabi for university courses in the field I’m interested in. That way I get quality stuff to start with. Knowledge, so abundant now, is obscured behind search results that game the system.
I just want my lovely rabbit holes back!
Yes. It’s interesting. I want to be associative. It’s human to do so. To connect. To follow. To learn. I don’t want it to be so gamed as you say. Thus, the spaces of empty that I find I need. To call back a bit of energy to what is associative in me rather than what is gamed in the system. All the gaming ain’t going away. I just wish for remembering of what comes from the empty, or the silence, or the chant, or “my” rabbit holes. Thx for learning, playing Chris.
The empty spaces give us better questions, and in that emptiness, our need for distraction drifts away, and the energy of our curious intention arises.