Friday, February 29, 2008

The Impact of Illness on Creativity

Nothing impacts the creative process like having one's internal CPU ravaged by some form of stressor. Whether one is battling a major illness, stress-induced crucible from work or family issues, or just plain exhaustion; remaining creative in crisis comes down to a few key points. You are either guided by a built-in desire to create, or you are just not that interested. Nothing wrong with either approach, but if creativity means productivity to you, then having an internal push can be a life-giving form of coping.

In my own instance, battling head and neck cancer, the treatment itself, consisting of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation can really suppress the life force. It is all the body can do to maintain a semblance of balance and cognition. The powerful chemical cocktails and invasive treatments can rob the ability to think coherently, get around and interact with the world.

Personally speaking, I find that after going through the treatments, the urge to do something creative (outside of basic survival) is a strong signal of surviving. The urge to go towards life and work on a creative project recirculates energy back in. It helps to think about other things than the treatment and somehow give thanks by being involved in life outside personal discomfort. Here are a few points that have a made a difference in the process:

1.If you can't physically get out your paints and canvas, your laptop or your guitar, meditate on the process of creating on those mediums.This is kind of like envisioning eating the pizza before you make it or order it, kind of gets the juices flowing toward your end result.

2.Don't be harsh on yourself for not putting in an extra effort. After all, you are dealing with something so stressful or life distracting that it has also stopped other activity. Just go easy and dip your toes in the pool, don't flog yourself for not diving in.

3.Be happy at the results you do come up with- you can always come back later and add to it or reshape the result if you feel the need to advance on the project.

4.Try and share what you have created with someone who may benefit from it. Hey, it shows you are thinking about more than just what is ailing you and helps to connect you to the world and to life.

Take any thoughts and encounters you have and write them in a journal for future use. When you are feeling better, you will have a nice repository of ideas that you can expand on and use to benefit the world and yourself. Cheers!

Find out more about head and neck cancer

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

From the Labz

Being in the creative field for a nice chunk of my life, I wanted to pass on some observations. Awareness and consciousness often come from a little vibration met along the way. This post has to do with what makes us stop and what makes us go on the journey. Small vibrations lead to discovery.

The internal/inspiration to outward manifestation is, essentially, the fire that drives us to overcome daily objections. These objections range from personal and family issues, workload, acts of schlock and the whole geopolitcal gomosphere enacted on you on the daily. Through all of these need-your-attention instantly daily mini-crisis blips, you still have to feed your inner alien creativebot. What makes us remotely interesting is how we handle the business of creating.

We try and separate ourselves from droid-driven schlock meisters and corporate overlords and cubicle-induced dreck. By waging an internal revolution, artists can withstand the tsunami of schlock heaped upon them by the usual perpetrators. Getting to your own personal, sacred secret Labz where you are free to create takes an enormous effort. Just quieting the shitstorm is hard enough, but getting to the clean white space of your canvas can be awfully tough some days. You just have to do it.

The act of committing just a few moments a day to your art (even just meditating on it) is food for your creative soul. Nurturing and caring of your inner alien creativebot in the midst of some corporate-induced glack is like getting good nutrients in your system to fight the infection. By investing in your creative self, you get the equivalent of a running/cardio workout for your artistic life before you head into the valley of the shadow each day. Find that little vibration along the way, it makes all the difference.


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