I can only somewhat recall my life before Creative Ground’s most recent retreat held on the island of Moloka’i. Looking back, the woman I feel myself to be right now is not the same woman I saw in the mirror the day I left for Hawaii. That woman, the one in the mirror, still held to a decrepit and tired idea that she should not take up too much space, that she should perhaps withhold all of who she is for fear of making others uncomfortable, that she must always prove to others why she gets to be here on the planet in the first place.
The new woman, the one sitting inside me at this moment, feels all the ground under her feet, has relinquished her regrets, all of them, and is fearless about being as full, real and expansive as she feels. This is transformation fueled by creativity, leading to an idea, just one of them, for what is “authentic feminine leadership.”
Six courageous women joined us for this week-long “creativity intensive,” Creative Ground’s first. When you combine a group of women ready to fly, a potent curriculum, and the intense healing vibrations of Moloka’i, magical things happen. We were witness to a startling resurgence of power and energy, a deep longing to come home to self, dynamic visions for how we blend our shadow and light to become more alive, and a growing belief that we have everything we need to dream in the new world, with all the beauty we can imagine.
A few days after our return, one of these brave warriors said she was feeling, “an unshakable seam of contentment” that she had never felt before.
Our focus was indeed “creativity,” a word much maligned and misunderstood. Creativity is often dismissed as something only some of us should do, or that only some of us can do. How many hundreds of times have I heard someone tell me they are not creative? And yet, it’s who we are. Everything about our bodies and minds are designed to create, and somewhere along the way we stopped seeing that innate power of our unique creative DNA.
Abraham Maslow wrote, “The key question is not “What fosters creativity?” It is “Why in God’s name isn’t everyone creative?” Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? Therefore, the real question is “why do people not create or innovate?” We have to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything at all.”
The most exciting thing of all is that the rest of the world may just finally be coming back to life on the subject of creativity. Newsweek just ran a complete edition dedicated to the subject. One article in particular (http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/10/the-creativity-crisis.html) made a decent attempt at unpacking creativity, and reviewing the compelling research about America’s creative demise, thanks to unyielding activity, excessive adult-facilitated play and a massive dose of screen time. One of the pulls-outs read:
“The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ….yet American creativity scores are falling. It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is “most serious.”….And it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children…..Some scholars go further, arguing that lack of creativity—not having loads of it—is the real risk factor.”
Indeed, without a sense of our creative capacities, we live without a sense of our greatest asset, the one that guides us to our unique calling in the world, the one that helps us navigate the world with confidence and clarity, and the one that will empower each of us to dream a new paradigm into existence, as the current one is unsustainable and on the verge of collapse.
How does Creative Ground understand creativity? Creativity is the artful expression of the dynamic tensions inside us. It is fueled by a belief in an infinite field of possibility, and it depends on our ability to perceive the fullest range of possibilities, the courage to choose from among them, and the persistence to shape them into reality. To become more creative simply requires a practice of intentional self-inquiry.
Creative Ground is launching a team of people into the world to facilitate creative practice, in each of us as individuals, and for groups and organizations. Our body of work includes retreats, staff renewals, strategic visioning sessions, professional development workshops, one-on-one coaching and mentoring, and leadership intensives like the one we hosted in Moloka’i. A schedule for three-day retreats in and around Washington State is coming soon.
We believe releasing this creativity is the only way forward to support the massive transformation taking place in every sector of the economy. Nurturing our creativity is a lifelong journey, so we design a practice that takes you only as far down the rabbit hole as you’re ready to go, always guiding you to a clear objective. I sense for more and more of us it’s time to take the leap.