Creativity is nurtured through new experiences.
The Australian Aborigines has a rite of passage where the young Aborigine undertakes a spiritual journey of six months in the wilderness called a Walkabout. If you intend to nurture creativity you also have to step outside of your reality and head off on an unknown path, to undertake your own Walkabout.
I mentioned in my blog post yesterday titled “What is creativity?” that creativity is the ability to make connections. Those connections won’t be easy to make in a controlled regulated environment; you have to let go, hit the road into the unknown, experience new realities that challenge your existing paradigms. What fun to be the knight riding out into the unknown forest, rescuing maidens, fighting evil dark knights, slaying dragons and finding enchanted objects. My Celtic ancestors knew how to have fun, even if it was only in their storytelling.
Going Walkabout is a strategy that is useful to develop your creativity. If you are on holiday, rather than head off towards the predictable tourist traps, you could head off to the places tourists rarely go. There is a type of tourist called a Dark Tourist who visits dangerous places marked by death and tragedy. If you are researching a project, go Walkabout with no fixed ideas around the subject of research, go off at tangents and keep an open mind.
I spent two hours today going on Walkabout through WordPress. I started with my latest blog follower Sean D.Daily. Having already visited his blog earlier in the day, I went off again to read his latest post, a quote from Bruce Lee. I happen to like Bruce Lee, and his ideas are worth consideration, he said:
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Which challenged a paradigm I have that it is good to copy a successful person. Thus I had my first example of creativity, a challenge to my existing paradigms. Now for next couple of months I will be considering which is the right paradigm.
From the blog of Sean I clicked onto one of his listed blogroll links, I found myself seeing a half-naked photograph of Einstein, Winston Churchill in his bathing costume, and Dr Stephen Hawking walking and partying before being reduced to his iconic state he now exists in. As this was not a blog, I returned back to Sean, then off I visited one of those who “liked” a post of Sean’s. Like any adventure you hit a dead-end and retrace your footsteps, so I was back to Sean a few times. I then travelled from blog through to blog following blogroll links, likes, or comments, randomly, leaving my own trail of likes and comments behind me.
One blog I came across was a blogger who in his “About” page informed the world he hated himself and how everyone he knew seemed to backstab him. I made a constructive comment as follows:
“I leave two pieces of advice for you:
1. How you treat yourself is how you will treat others. Try and find that part of you to love.
2. You have the choice of what and who you connect with in life. Cut the toxic connections and build the positive ones.”
He responded in an angry bitter way that surprised me:
“Your advice is both naive, and unsolicited. I do not seek advice from anyone on my blog, although I welcome sophisticated philosophical and existential conversations. (By sophisticated, I mean discussions with people familiar with formal logic, or at least a modicum of formal philosophical training.) Your first suggestion is just silly; self-loathing does not provide a necessary or sufficient condition for treating others badly. One sees the self in fundamentally different ways than others, so I have no idea upon what legitimate basis you made your statement. The second suggestion bears some plausibility, but attachment is a very real emotional, and perhaps spiritual, phenomenon. People often say that when they lose someone that they love dearly, they feel like a part of them goes missing. I concur with the appraisal, and as such, I not only mourn the loss of my lover, but I mourn the loss of a part of myself. Toxic or not, I cannot simply throw away the love, emotions, or memories that I build with the people I really love. Only a sociopath would suggest it’s possible to discard such profound attachments.”
Here then is an example of an individual who is trapped in his own self-defeating paradigms, his creativity shut off from considering new possibilities, even if it comes uninvited under his nose. Such attitudes slam the door on possibilities for change, for new connections to be made, it becomes a mind trap keeping an individual locked into an unhappy state as that blogger currently exists in.
Not all experiences on a Walkabout are magical, inspirational or challenging, often it is dull, but nonetheless the self has been allowed off the leash to explore the unknown, and this is a good way to nurture creativity.