It turned out to be a simple bracelet, by all standards of jewelry-making. It certainly wasn’t art. But just a few weeks ago I picked up an old guitar string, some wire, a bit of leather and a needle-nose plier and made something with my hands for the first time in years.
I was at the Valhalla Movement headquarters outside of Montreal, Canada. For just over 48 hours I was surrounded by people living and breathing their innate creativity as they worked together on Valhalla’s mission: to build a sustainable, off-grid earthship, the prototype for launching a mainstream, global, communal living movement.
Working on the 60 acres of land and the endless turf of the internet, they were building structures for a biodome, planting the seeds for fall’s harvest, and creating masterful online PR campaigns. The Valhalla team of founders and volunteers were literally manifesting their dreams for a more sustainable way of living into the reality of physical space around them.
So when one of the people living at Valhalla handed me a spool of copper wire one afternoon during downtime and said, “Here, you can make whatever you want,” it turned into more than just a simple arts & crafts project.
There was a symbolic vibe behind this short foray into making jewelry. It happened as the well-timed manifestation of something I had been pondering for the previous month or so…
Consumer culture. A social and economic culture encouraging the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts.
A mentality of scarcity. (Fear. Stress.)
Creator culture. A social and economic culture encouraging the inherent creativity of humankind, fulfilled in ever-abundant creative efforts to sustain both the individual and community in reciprocal transactions.
A mentality of abundance. Motivation to innovate. Playful productivity with a fun, beautiful, useful outcome.
I was out of practice in “being creative”. My dancing had become too routine, I was in a rut of task-completion at work, and I was reading too much in my free time. That meant that I had stopped creating things and was pretty much stuck in consumption.
See, the problem was not that I didn’t want to make a bracelet, the problem was that I was out of practice in doing something solely for the sake of play, unattached to the outcome.
I even doubted that I could get back into making an idea turn into physical reality.
So I sat there with my wire and guitar string and pliers for a bit, trying to visualize how on earth I was supposed to make something remotely wearable out of the stuff.
I watched a couple of the others making complicated Celtic coils with their copper and felt extremely incompetent before remembering that IT DIDN’T MATTER what I made.
No one cared what I made or how it looked. It was only my perfectionism/ego that was making me hesitate.
Once I realized that, I shrugged and thought, “What the hell, as long as I’m having fun…”, and got to work.
About an hour later I had made a bracelet whose beauty was slightly more…symbolic…than physical. I had to smile though, as it meant that my creative spark was alive and kicking.
Take a second and think: what percentage of your time do you spend consuming? What eats up your time? Is it “consumption” of articles (like this post!), television or other media?
Or maybe it’s shopping…for the latest trends in fashion, technology, power tools…
More importantly, what are you NOT doing while you’re busy consuming these things?
I’d be willing to bet that, a lot of the time, you’re ignoring your own creative spark…
Or maybe, just maybe you don’t believe you’re creative.
“…the green shoots of a creator culture are only just bursting through the rubble of consumerism. Most of us are still plugged in to a mass media that equates creativity with branding and marketing and ignores its potential for human development. Businesses are still afraid of the ideas of their own employees, missing the fact that this creativity is their only hope of adapting to changing times… Creation is the start, not the end, of the process of growth. We do not escape our tedious jobs, our oppressive social hierarchies, our addictive and self-destructive behaviour, and then become creative. We begin to create; then the process of growth it sets in train helps to free us from the traps that life sets.”
Sparks will fly
This week’s post is a short one, but it contains a challenge that packs a lot of power.
Once the creative momentum gets going, there’s not much that can stop it.
What’s in it for you? Building your creative momentum will give you energy, confidence, and fulfillment.
My 3-step challenge to you:
1. Think: What’s something that you’ve wanted to make or do for a while (that means 6+ months).
2. Answer me this: what has been holding you back? (For real: hit me up! email@example.com – I respond to every email.)
3. Promise yourself one thing: the next time you have the chance to make something of your own — whatever it is that might come to mind — you’ll take a leap of faith and TAKE ACTION.
Just this once.
You’ll tell yourself that yes, you too can make something worthwhile.
You’ll tell your ego, your hesitation, to shut up and just do it — and the outcome won’t matter anymore.
It won’t matter because you’re playing with that creative spark, the spark just waiting to turn into a fiery blaze of light.
I’m looking forward to it when you do…
About the Author
Ginger is a Peak Potentials Coach and the Feel Good Team’s resident nomad. Through her coaching, she helps you navigate major transitions, whether to new locations, new jobs or to new phases in life. Ginger also coordinates with writers for The Feel Good Lifestyle so that you have fresh, inspiring content.