The Courage Found in Creativity

open_box

Our imagination can take our minds to places we never thought possible. We all have this beautifully engineered component which gives us the capability to, safely and securely, explore alternate realities and ideate to our hearts content.

It’s through exercising this ability we’ve been able to progress and evolve as a civilization. Many of the things we take for granted today, are the result of someone courageous enough to pluck an idea from an obscure reality and make it real.

One of my favorite pieces of advice to share with people who lack courage – is to create. Creativity is the key to unlocking our minds and understanding our own identities. It’s the opportunity and freedom to be ourselves as we explore the world within.

Being creative; that first brush stroke or note, that first idea or theory,  that first movement or moment…it’s like switching on an engine, shifting into first gear and beginning that journey towards courage.

Engaging in our creative abilities allows us to confidently explore the truth within and explore the depth of our potential. As we shift into higher gears and really begin to indulge our identities, as we navigate through the limitless multiverse that is our imagination, we’ll begin to see sense in our creations and stimulate a unique purpose for our own lives.

We all start our lives living on instinct and raw emotion. As children we have that confidence and courage to explore and be open and expressive. As children we yearn to be understood and accepted, yet as we grow older, the paradigm shifts as we climb into a box and try to fit in; in fear of being different.

As we nestle into these boxes, a dilemma soon arises when we become increasingly aware, of how lonely it is living life boxed in by perception and the classification of normality. They limit creativity and curb our opportunities to innovate and express ourselves, because we continue to play within a space which we naively consider to be harmless. Yet it weakens courage and dwindles confidence.

They also limit our connection to others. They restrict how much we are willing to share and how much others have available to explore. Eventually, stepping outside of our proverbial boxes becomes a nonsensical notion, as we deem those living blissfully free from these restraints: brave, inspiring and/or foolish.

So if you’re sitting there reading this with hopeful desires, wishing and waiting for that one day, that one opportunity to lead your life into greatness. Then let your imagination soar and express your creativity and as you continue to create, you’ll find the courage to step outside of your box and showcase your identity.

VanCity

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The Importance of Maintaining Intention

Tofino

I’d recently took a trip away to Tofino, British Columbia, to complete some work and escape the distractions of everyday life. When I arrived I was ready to churn out pure productivity, I could already feel my ego withering away as my inner-desires activated, engaged by thoughts of freedom, fun and accomplishment.

It was late, dark and very quiet. I immediately felt a slight anxiety as I entered this small town as lone outsider. I pulled up and greeted my AirBnB host with very quick hello and was given a 2 minute tour of the property, not even 10 minutes had passed by and beers were already being poured. I could already tell that this town had adopted a ‘live-in-the-moment’ mentality and any thoughts of anxiety were soon forgotten.

My host was an energetic character originally from Alberta, Canada. He’d given up his lucrative career working on an oil rig, to pursue his passions. He became an artist and had moved to Tofino to seek liberation and to freely create. I had told him about my initial anxiety and how quickly it was dispelled, I mentioned my work and my writing and my reason for visiting. He talked about how many of the people living in Tofino weren’t really from there, many of the people he had met and many of the people I had interacted with, seemed to have similar reasons for being there.

My first day though was pretty amazing, normally when I wake up my first thoughts are to check my Blackberry for any new emails from potential clients, and to check my blog-stats. The internet connectivity was awful so right way I was forced into mindfulness. I got up early, caught the sun rise, meditated, went for a run and had my first Vegan breakfast (it was delicious) all before 7am.

After I had showered and changed, I took my laptop down to a waterfront restaurant and within minutes I was tranced into a flow state. Usually I would check all sorts of social media platforms and spend the first hour catching up with the rest of the world. This time was very different.

Later that day, I explored the neighbourhood and struck up conversations with random people. It became apparent that many people who come along to Tofino, although initially motivated by escape, were really there to just be themselves. To engage the capabilities of their identities in order to discover bliss. Nobody seemed too focused on status, money, popularity or anything else that bound people to lives that lacked fulfillment.

Nobody really cared about anything else other than making the most of every moment and that didn’t really mean partying and having fun in the traditional sense. It meant making the most of one’s passions, perfecting skills and becoming the best individual one can be. Investing every spare moment engaging an inner spirit and tapping into a self-confidence that came with true independence. Many people had visited from bigger towns and cities, only to remain there after experiencing some sort of detachment. Towards the end of my trip, even I was contemplating the thought of calling it home.

I couldn’t help feeling empathy for those that sought freedom and liberation there. Many people seemed to have detached from their old lives, only to attach themselves to Tofino. I wondered how many will learn to carry this experience with them as they re-enter the lives they’d left behind.

My mum had incidentally given me a book called “why —– mind matters.” It explored Buddhist philosophies concerning the mind. It was an easy book and within the first ten minutes I came across this quote:

“Man is essentially the manifestation of his thought forces.”

I thought I went to Tofino to work, to finish some writing as I embark on yet another goal. I thought I had to be there to bring back the inspiration and motivation I sought, to complete my book. Truth is, Tofino just allowed me to calm my mind and had given me time to think. It reminded me of the importance of focusing internally.

Prior to this trip, my mind seemed to be in several different places at once, I couldn’t focus on writing and output seemed to lack passion. I had all the same ideas, but at home I couldn’t bring them alive because I kept trying to focus with an external intention.

In other words, I was focusing on an outcome of a task rather than the purpose of carrying the task out. So when I would attempt to write at home, I was driven more by thoughts of getting my book published and the possibility of new opportunities and travelling more. When writing in Tofino, I reconnected with the internal intention; I wrote because I enjoyed it and because I’m passionate about what I want to share.

Now that I’m back on the ferry heading back home to familiarity, I’m returning with my intentions intact. I feel I understand what it means to put my mind to something now. We can be anywhere in the world physically, but what truly matters as we embark on ambitious goals, is where we allow our minds to travel and where we can take the world.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How Music Can Help Awaken Your Passion

I watched this documentary [Alive Inside] and it reminded me of a message I drafted a few weeks ago. It inspired me to post it today.

To feel and experience raw passion, to discover and then nurture it, you must first tune into emotion.

Emotions pretty much control your being, they dictate your life and how you live it. Your emotions, if you can face them, could be the very key you’re looking for to unlock your potential. Great people are emotionally invested, driven by their own desires to make an impact on the world; they’re passionate.

Music helps.

Music has a funny way of guiding you into a flow state. It activates a spirit which allows your imagination to fly free. When you play your favourite track and you’re transported to a moment, whether that moment existed or not, that moment allows you to feel.

When you feel, your heart syncs with your mind and they both work in unison to guide you closer to where you want to be in life. The aspirations you hold onto are activated and you’ll feel like every nerve ending in your body, has connected you to your destiny.

A fantasy overwhelms your reality and all you want to do is engage; this is your opportunity to be creative, innovative and inspired…and whatever else you need to feel to encourage work towards your goals.

When your emotions awake, you also shed many layers of thought that may have kept you from attaining a certain individual quality with your work.

A focus on emotion can stimulate a rare vision that normally you wouldn’t have been able to access. I think back to some of my best accomplishments, most, if not all of them we’re emotionally driven. Some moments gave me the courage to act on impulse, and others allowed me to truly understand what I really wanted for my life, allowing me to drop expectation and live life on my own terms.

This includes negative emotions too, for instance, hurt can motivate you to break negative behavioral patterns and encourage change in your life. Suffering can inspire you to change the world and anger can be channeled into productivity.

So next time you’re looking to stimulate your passions, try putting on some of your favorite music, allow yourself to be transported to a moment and let the emotions you feel ignite a flow state.

For more information on the ‘Music and Memory’ organization and ways to donate, please visit: http://musicandmemory.org/. Check out the trailer for ‘Alive Inside’ here.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Why Holding on to a Fantasy isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing

Fantasy

My journey from living with insecurities to living with confidence and esteem has been long. It’s taken leaps and bounds overcoming challenges and threats to my identity but I made it through, partly because I held on to what once seemed like a fantasy.

7 years ago, if anyone had told me that I’d be living the life that I am today, and that I’d be living it happily, I’d liken such wisdom to fantasy. Although I yearned for it, no part of my being believed it. However entertaining the idea of how life could be offered me moments of escape where I could live out my ultimate dreams. The mere thought would stimulate emotion, enough emotion to encourage the spirit to act.

We grow up to be adults with plans and realistic tendencies that repress any thought deemed too fantastical. When living inside the ideologies of society we fail to see sense in exercising this natural ability.

The way I see it, what we have as human beings is meant to be embraced. Our imagination has no bounds, has no limits and has no restrictions. Our minds have the ability to give us whatever we want. Whether it’s that great love we desire to experience someday or the success we wish to encounter, we all have it in us to live it in the form of fantasy.

So what good is this fantasy? It’s not real, what use do we have for it? My answer is hope, and not that hope associated with religion. It’s the hope that inspires courage and determination and gives us the right to our identities free. It gives us the ability to dream and inspires us to locate opportunities to pull that dream into the realm of reality.

Life is fu*king tough, it’s not easy, but we do have something to turn to if we do need some comfort to cope. Our fantasies can be something we fuel our minds with to move forward and push through our struggles.

One thing about fantasy, and it’s sort of warping my mind even thinking about it, is that the imagination; the idea; this omnipresent force that exists within our minds allows us to feel. Feelings we cannot and must not deny.

The empathy we experience as we read a book or watch a movie. The connection we make with others that cannot be explained, and the raw expression of our own identities when there is no fear nor judgment to face. Our fantasies contribute so much to who we are and they give us so much to live for, yet we dismiss them because we’re taught to be realistic.

Today, I want to advise you that it’s OK to let your mind travel, it’s OK to enjoy the bliss and comfort that comes with being free to think and feel without the burden of reality. Hold on to your fantasies, let them fill your spirit with all the goodness that empowers you to become the best that you can be in your reality.

You have to be so much already; you may have so many hats to wear and roles to play in your everyday life. So long as you’re not harming anyone, explore your fantasy. Be free, be happy and don’t let the struggles of reality bring you down. This life I’m living now was once deemed a fantasy. Generations once enslaved also had a fantasy; lovers once deemed mentally ill also had a fantasy, and although there may be quite a bit of distance between the two realms, never let go of the possibility that one day that distance will decrease.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How To Control Creativity: Enter Into Chaos

writing

Control is paramount to success; scheduling, timing, thinking strategically, ensuring responsibilities are maintained and so on. You need to be in full control of your life to live it without fear and to become the success you want to be.

You need to control the journey, manage the steps you take and the directions you go if you want to shape destiny your own way. With control over it, you won’t fear it, you won’t fear losing it and you’ll limit any doubts you have of not achieving it – hence why maintaining control is crucial.

Unfortunately life for anyone shaping their dreams is going to be chaotic. Take my life for instance, between working full-time and consulting, maintaining daily responsibilities and running a home, on top of keeping up to date with my responsibilities back in the UK. Maintaining this blog and writing my book i.e fulfilling my passions. is what makes life full.

However it’s not these duties that make life chaotic, good time keeping and scheduling ensures that the above gets taken care of.

What makes my life chaotic is when a wave of inspiration comes out of nowhere and it isn’t the time allocated to be creative. For example, having amazing ideas when washing the dishes or during a busy shift at work and in the middle of the night, even though I have to be up at 5am.

Creativity rarely seems to hit when I’m actually sitting in front of the computer ready to write…How am I to stop everything I’m doing and just surf the inspirational wave? How does one control creativity?

Here is why I consider myself lucky to be building my dream in the digital age; my trusted tablet becomes my journal, it’s how I get to embrace the chaos of creativity when my muse decides to visit.

On my cloud storage, I have a folder called ‘Chaos’ it’s where I store all my ideas.

Chaos

‘Chaos’ has become a folder full of random voice notes, pictures, jotted down words, partially written blog posts, music tracks, links and all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff. It’s a stupendous mess but it is so igniting when I’m ready to write. Everything is time stamped so I can recall the very moment an idea struck (a simple time-stamp and description of what you were doing goes a long way).

When creativity hits it just hits, it’s up to you to either let it flow into your preferred outlet there and then or let it fizzle away until the next wave of genius comes along at a more convenient time. Never let that happen, embrace the chaos when it arrives but control it by storing it – just ensure you access it at your earliest convenience.

Like many of us, life is often too demanding to put aside for a creative outburst, so this is how I control creativity and make creativity work for me. I still maintain control and when I am ready to write, all I need to do is delve into chaos.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How a New Environment Can Stimulate Creativity and Trigger Motivation

Tired

 

Most of my writing is done at home, surrounded by the comfort of familiarity and the subtle joy of solitude. However today I write from a nearby city, I’ve been here but 5 minutes and already I’m feeling a surge of new ideas.

Later on I’ll be meeting friends which gives me the next few hours to keep my mind on what I came here to accomplish. I was reading one of my old blog posts, about ways to stimulate creativity and I decided to take my own advice and explore a new environment and stimulate my mind. So I booked into a hotel and decided to turn a quick trip down the road to see friends into a weekend long getaway.

Sometimes, when I’m in the same place for too long my mind feels like it’s stuck in a cycle, the same idea will circulate round and round and the pace of progression gets slower and slower. Next thing I know I’m in the kitchen about to grab another snack, or down to the local cafe to grab my 3rd cup of coffee.

For the most part I manage to get things done, but when I evaluate I feel like I should have reached my objectives sooner. The moment I walked into my hotel room, I threw  my bag in the closet and immediately started to jot down notes. Notes about my book, ideas for new blog posts and miscellaneous items relating to my goals.

The excitement of exploring a new environment and being away from home has spurred on fresh thought. There are so many things that are unfamiliar around here, that my mind feels like it’s getting a workout and I’m feeling that nervous spirit that I had when I started my first blog post, which is good because I had missed that.

It’s like everything is new to me again, although my process for writing is the same and my goals are still the same, the challenge seems somewhat different. It’s odd; I’m also starting to feel more like myself the more time I spend here and it has nothing to do with where I am, but more so, where I am not.

On the other hand, I get to look at home objectively and it’s absolutely wonderful to know what I have. It’s making me appreciate what I have back home, knowing and understanding what I have to go back to and I’ve never felt more grateful…my motivation is triggered and I’m seizing this opportunity very naturally.

Being away from home truly allows me to be focused solely on my own aspirations. I don’t have to play the part of brother, uncle, home owner, mentor, friend or whatever many other roles I have to fulfill as part of my duties back home.

I encourage everyone to give it a go and stimulate your perhaps tired mind because everyone deserves their “me time.” This dog has been let off the leash and is free to explore; my identity has been fully restored and my vision is clear, I feel more focused and more at home than ever.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

A Simple Way to Stimulate Creativity and Inspiration

We sometimes struggle when developing new ideas and in that struggle we feel faulted by our own creativity. Pressure and stress begin to fill our minds because we feel we cannot successfully deploy or complete a project and soon enough, a looming deadline is all we seem to focus on. Whatever creative thought we had, is being blocked by a wall of doubt and uncertainty.

The first mistake we often make is forcing creativity, we feel so pressured by getting something done that the end result turns out to be poor and of a lower standard to what we’re actually capable of. In the end, we’re left with the satisfaction of a completed project rather than the fulfillment of an accomplished one.

An ‘original break’ is something I started doing when I lacked focus, when I feel I have lost my muse and procrastination becomes a meaningful pastime. Generally if whatever project I’m working on isn’t flowing naturally and my train of thought is only just chugging along, then that’s my indicator to do something to get back on track.

An original break is about fueling the mind and trailing into fresh thought. An original break is not going out to grab a coffee and some fresh air. It’s first stepping away from what you’re working on and closing the entire project down and leaving it alone for some time. Just like your mind needs a break from the project, the project needs a break from your tired mind and poor input. Like the engine performance of a car running on standard gas versus premium fuel.

Your original break could be heading out to lunch in a different restaurant to break routine, like how you were when you first tried sushi.  It’s talking to a complete stranger to adopt a different point of view or even talking to people who disagree with your ideas. It’s going for a drive to that part of town you’ve always heard about but never visited; exploring new environments is always a good way to stimulate creativity. It’s reading a type of book that you wouldn’t normally read. It’s simply taking the time to discover something new, placing new thoughts and ideas into your mind to stimulate creativity when returning to an existing project.

It seems a little strange at first, but this simple formula helps break down walls that block creative thought. These small adjustments in your breaks could result in a wonder of opportunities for your work. You may not necessarily be inspired by anything you experience but you will leave with new thought(s).

Naturally we’re curious creatures and unlike robots we have a natural desire to learn and explore its how we’ve managed to advance as a species. Remember creativity and inspiration aren’t timed to surge between the hours of 9 and 5 but if your need it then you have to find ways to stimulate it.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach