By Dr. Celia Im
Lighting the Creative Spark
American chemist Linus Pauling was once asked at a public lecture how he creates scientific theories. He replied that one must endeavor to come up with many ideas — then discard the useless ones.
Ditto for Michelangelo, who said: “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
Scientifically speaking, creativity has been defined as a mental process. Of course, creativity is also an incredibly personal endeavor.
What comes to mind when you think of being creative?
In my business, one of the things people hire me to do is to help them move through the emotional blocks that are keeping them from attaining their goals. Creativity — theirs and mine — is the most powerful tool in my tool kit, for when harnessed it can unlock and unblock whatever is limiting them.
As a classical pianist and teacher with a doctorate in musical arts, creativity has obviously been essential to my success. But I think back to the days when I was teaching at a prestigious music conservatory. I watched talented students get stuck in wanting to have a perfect technique. Certainly, that aspect of their performance was important — and usually flawless — but when they played, I always felt something was missing.
It wasn’t until much later that I discovered that what was missing was freedom — freedom to take music from being a series of perfectly played notes to something that grabbed the listener’s heart and soul. They longed for the ability to transform an audience, and that’s where the magic of creativity comes in. It means tapping into the most interior part of yourself and setting it free.
It’s not as difficult to access as you might think.
Moving from limitation to freedom
Based on my experience, I know that when your emotions, thoughts and body are flowing harmoniously, you are creative. And you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
The key is giving yourself permission to let go of the idea that you need to be perfect in whatever you do — be it playing a piece by Bach or managing a hedge fund. [Lisa McLeod’s book Forget Perfect, which is reviewed in this month’s issue of “Be Inkandescent magazine,” points that out beautifully.]
Case in point: When a commodities exchange broker raises his hands and shouts and gestures where time almost ceases to exist, he is in a creative flow. When a ballerina loses herself in the rapture of the story and music, and her body expresses the music, she is in the creative flow. When a high school kid makes a jump shot and wins a game for the team — he’s tapped into the power of his creativity, too.
How do you know if your creativity is blocked?
One clue that you need to clear out some old beliefs or memories is when you notice there are recurring issues or tangles. If you find yourself wondering, “Why does this always happen to me?” that is a clue there is a bottleneck in the system.
The beauty of working with music is that it helps you focus your attention and become aware of everything your thinking mind has pushed aside. After all, it’s really no fun to think about all the things that are bugging you. But if you don’t, odds are good they will continue to plague your life — and keep you from having the happiness you desire.
How to access your own creativity in your daily life
It’s not difficult. It just takes a little time, courage, and willingness to dig deep into your own psyche to see what’s holding you back.
1. When I work with a client, we begin by being quiet. You can lie down or sit in a comfortable chair and close your eyes.
2. Gently silence the noise and voices in your head that may be telling you that you aren’t good enough or perfect enough. Just be still. Take a deep breath and sit for a few moments.
3. Slowly, begin to feel what is happening inside your body. Does your back hurt? Your knees? Your neck. If so, give those places a little rub, but continue to relax and simply notice what you are feeling.
4. Turn on some music. For my clients, I use a CD that I’ve recorded, which is tailored to helping them push from limitation to freedom.
5. As you sit listening to the music, let images pop up. It’s somewhat like being awake while you are dreaming — but it will happen. What do you see? What do you feel? If an uncomfortable image arises, think about where you feel it in your body. What color is the sensation?
6. Let the music resonate with what you find in these blocked places. The images you are seeing will shift and change — and before you know it something will shift, free up, and allow you to be open and flow again.
As you work with this process over time, you will begin to realize you are moving through life differently. You will begin to approach it from the genius of your creative sense instead of the chatter in your mind. Based on experience, I’m willing to bet that you will surprise yourself with new solutions you never thought possible.
When you do, you will have officially moved from limitation to freedom — and that’s a bigger place to live from.
Tell me your story! I would love to hear what you find in your heart after trying this exercise. Please email me at email@example.com.
Dr. Celia Im is the founder of the unique personal development program “Lighting the Creative Spark,” which is a transformational tool that uses music to awaken, enlighten and empower clients so they can release old, negative patterns that are keeping them from being happy, healthy and effective.
She has developed a seven-stage process called Harmonic Resonance Integration. Learn more about that here.
For more information, visit Celia’s website www.celiaim.com.