Posts tagged #genius

How to Be Creative

There's two of you and only one really knows how to be creative Learning how to be creative readily, consistently, and easily comes from understanding something a little shocking: there's two of you.

Under the general umbrella of "you" there's two personalities, each with their own perceptions and super-powers.  When one is in control, you feel awful.  When the other is at the fore-front, you feel highly delightable and incredibly fun.

The Doubting Self

One of you is your doubting self.  Also known (by me) as "the foul miasma of vast self-rejection" and by enlightened folks like Eckhart Tolle as "the pain body."  You know you're in your doubting self when you feel worried, pre-occupied, rather miserable, hopeless, and disconnected from the people around you.

 

Your doubting self perceives the world as a hostile, competitive, alienating place and talks to you in a voice that's like a cross between Judge Judy and Rush Limbaugh.  She resists everything that happens in your life and the world that isn't up to her standards and walks around feeling rotten and self-righteous.

She's mean, loud, belligerent, judgmental and afraid.  Your doubting self has super-powers of paranoia and despair.  She's widely regarded by much of our society as completely reasonable and normal, even though she's just kind of a jerk.

The Magic Self

The other one of you is your magic self, also known as your genius or your soul or your heart (it's a tricky business, sorting out the difference between "heart" and "soul" although I sure have tried- they're essentially terms for the same energy, with slightly different connotations).

Your magic self sees the world as a loving den of possibility, a place where miracles can happen and where tons of love can be effortlessly given and received.  To her, the world is basically friendly and supportive.   She doesn't feel the need to resist or argue with anything that is.

She intuitively knows what to do to guide you to the best outcomes in your life.  She knows how to solve problems and invent wondrous works of art and practical usefulness.

Your magic self, in other words, has the super-power of creativity in its highest sense - what the Transcendentalist philosophers used to call Imagination (with a capital "I"!) - it's the kind of genius inventiveness that brings stuff into the world which is full of love  and beauty - not just clever nonsense or utility.

The Whole Trick of Creativity

The whole trick of being able to bring forth art that's richly meaningful or practical solutions that work in a deep, holistic way is to learn how to occupy your magic self much more than your doubting self.

That's it.  Your magic self knows what to do. It's just a matter of letting her live through you.

Yet this is a process that can take some time.  I'm perpetually learning it myself.  The thing is, I've gotten way better at it than I used to be.  How much way better? Well, in a year I wrote a novel, a dissertation, a book of poetry, a book on creativity that's soon-to-be-published, launched a business, helped organize a national conference and threw some really rad parties.

I don't say that to brag. I want to emphasize that I used to spend all of my time chain-smoking and watching Battlestar Galactica and crying (I have multiple witnesses to attest to this, also known as my former room mates). I'm wanting to emphasize that it's possible to becoming astoundingly productive when you start living more in your magic self.

A Sneaky Way to Embody Your Magic Self: Drinking Elixirs

Try this when you're feeling sorely miserable and need to switch gears:

1. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee.  Make sure it's nice and hot!

2. Hold the mug in your hands.  Watch the steam rise from the cup.

3. Quietly dub the liquid in your cup with a highly improbable, poetical name: "You, coffee, are now the molten lava at the center of the earth." Or, "You, chamomile tea, are now the amber blood of angels."

4.  Sip your highly improbable beverage, all the while imagining it taking its poetical effect on your system.  The angel's blood perhaps makes you feel elevated, the molten lava maybe makes you feel hot and invincible.

5. Proceed with what you've got to work on, now buoyed by some strange magic.

Why this works

Look, it's hard to stay miserable while drinking the blood of angels.  This little exercise moves you out of your rut of ugly "reality" and into the realm where your power lays: in play and metaphor and wonder.  We all too often forfeit our inventiveness because the world seems to have been invented already.  But that's just how things stay boring.

Want more?

We'll be doing a lot more to get into our magic selves and get seriously creative and productive at the Honeybutter House for Wayward Geniuses happening in Pittsburgh in November 2012.  If you're a wayward genius and you want to find out more, you should email me about it now: sweetsongofjoy@gmail.com.

 

Love,

Carolyn

 

Posted on September 23, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

Your deepest gifts aren't unique (and why that's great)

There's probably a finite number of ways that the divine expresses through us human beings.  I can think of maybe a dozen distinct types of gifts of spirit that I've received in my life from hundreds of people. Flavors of Spiritual Gifts I've Received in My Life

  1. Rich recognition and acceptance of my true self, with no judgment.
  2. Absurd, delightful humor that dissolves all self-seriousness and self-righteousness.
  3. A stunning glimpse of the magic underlying the "ordinary" world.
  4. Healing and soothing of unbalanced, unhappy energy or physical injury.
  5. Absorption into narrative or drama that creates a heightened sense of significance.
  6. Playfulness so free and riotous that it breaks through the curmudgeon in me and gets me to play, too.
  7. A deep, compassionate acknowledgement of my past struggles combined with a persuasive optimism for my future.
  8. Relaxing hospitality that makes me feel warmly welcomed and nourished.
  9. Visions of completely bizarre and fantastic other-worlds.
  10. A profound faith in my gifts plus a willingness to support me.
  11. Leadership that guides me to a great destination without ever underestimating or falsifying the challenge of the journey.
  12. A clear-sighted perception of truth blended with an air of being totally non-impressed by my bullshit.

Multiple expressions of fundamental tastes

These spiritual gifts are what people have given to me through their presence and through their art.  Give or take some.

These are the basic flavors of spiritual gifts - like chocolate, mint, coffee, cumin, vanilla, green tea, red bean, strawberry, cinnamon.  There's a finite number of very distinct flavors.

Of course, each flavor has its own unique manifestations.  There's Madagascar vanilla and Mexican vanilla.  Those subtle differences are lovely.  But when you taste either one, you know you're tasting vanilla.

And of course, you can combine flavors.  Mix cinnamon into your coffee and strawberry into your chocolate.  And that's fun.  But it's still the same basic flavors.

The point

I'm making a point of this because sometimes I get really bummed when I notice that someone else is beautifully manifesting a spiritual gift flavor that I like to think of as my spiritual gift.

What the crazy says

This line of crazy goes something like this: "Look at that hussy over there, wantonly accepting and honoring people's true selves and helping them to express their love in the world! How dare she! Who does she think she is?! Doesn't she know that's my gig?"

This line of crazy is exacerbated by folks who like to emphasize the uniqueness of our individual gifts.  If I catch someone else doing what I most delight in doing - then I don't feel so unique and I tend to devalue myself.

Just for today...

Today I'm practicing being cool with the fact that I'm not the only manifestation of cinnamon to walk on this earth.  Er, you know what I mean.  I'm not the only person in the world who radiates the spiritual gift of upliftment and inspiration.  And thank fucking god, because that would be exhausting.

Today I'd like to just focus on being the most delicious bite of cinnamon that I can be, while being totally cool with the cinnamon-power of others.

How about you?

What's the basic flavor of spiritual gift that you tend to radiate?  What do you taste like? How do you feel when you notice other people dishing out a similar tastiness? I'd love for you to tell me in the comments.

 

 

 

Posted on September 20, 2012 and filed under Creativity.

Living in the Gift Interview Series: Matthew Stillman - Part 1

  httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFvhzwApoPc

This is the first part of me (Carolyn Elliott) interviewing problem-solver extraordinaire Matthew Stillman of stillmansays.com about creativity and living in our genius with grace.

I asked Matt to tell us about his radically generous experiment wherein he sits in Union Square and helps folks solve problems.

I also asked him an ever-thorny question: how do we make a living while living in the gift?

We touched upon Jesus' far-out injunctions, Charles Eisenstein's gift business model and the importance of getting in touch with our own inner greedy stock broker.

An illuminating and wonderful time. Part 2 coming soon.

Please excuse any awkward cuts. I kind of suck at iMovie right now.

 

Love!

Carolyn

The frightening secret about why you don't remember your dreams

 

"I try to remember my dreams but I can't."

The alarm rings. You fumble to shut it off as fast as possible. Do you really have to get up and leave right now, or could you afford a few more minutes in bed? You try to estimate the risks of sleeping longer. You decide you really do, indeed, have to wake up now.

Then you remember-- you're trying to keep a dream journal. "What was I just dreaming?" you ask yourself.

But it's too late; there are no savory licks of dream-stuff left. It's all gone away, into the aether from whence it came.

Your heart sinks with a little disappointment.  You're really trying to remember your dreams; you really want to connect more deeply with your creative unconscious; it's just that the dreams slip away so fast before you can grab them.  Now you can remember nothing from your night's adventures and you feel a little soul-less, a little empty.  What, after all, is a person without dreams?

A person without dreams is someone who succeeds at fitting in and not shaking the airplane. (I could have said "and not rocking the boat"-- but what thought scares you more-- a rocking boat or a shaking airplane?)

A person who doesn't remember what he dreams is someone who is more easily roped into the counterfeit dream of the culture-at-large: the manufactured dream of constant high status, hot sex, and total security.

Have you noticed that the dream of the culture-at-large is not only unattainable, but boring? It's not enough to fire the full range of the human imagination; it's just enough to stoke our base cravings.

Costly, poisoned milk

 

A person who doesn't remember what he dreams is someone cut off from the marrow of his own being, from the sustenance of his own life.  He's like a desperate farmer who has sold his cow and now has to buy the milk back at a steep price. And not only is the milk costly; it's also been poisoned; it's actually dangerous to consume.

As we settle for the mass-produced dreams of television, commercials and popular film we're drinking poison milk.  That stuff, taken as our only nourishment, makes us weaker and weaker.  We notice the symptoms of what's happening to us: we're depressed and anxious, unfocused and miserable. But lie to ourselves about the root cause.  We think that we suffer just because we don't yet have enough status, sex, security.

We can't even begin to imagine that our pain and our boredom and our sense of meaninglessness might have something to do with the fact that we routinely ignore the vast and beautiful productions that our soul offers us each night while we sleep; the secrets of the universe which are hand-tailored to us; the magnificent gifts that come fully-made.

Your dreams are your dreams.  They are communications that have the power to awaken you. The more you ignore them, the more you ignore your own spiritual growth.

"But I'm trying to remember my dreams-- I just can't!"

This is never true.

You don't remember your dreams because you don't truly want to remember.

You can't remember your dreams because you want other things much more.  Why? Because you're too heavily plugged in to the pseudo-dream: the first thing on your mind when you wake up in the morning is your security, your status.  Do you need to get up and run? What do you need to do before you leave the house? What should you eat for breakfast? What should you wear?

You can't remember your dreams because those thoughts are more urgent to you, more vivid and more intense than your desire to be in conscious contact with your own soul.  Just admit that it's true.  You would like to remember your dreams, but frankly you're more worried about being on time for wherever you've got to go.

If you want to know your soul, you have to make that knowing your priority

If you truly want to remember your dream-time escapades, you have to be willing to care more about what's going on within you than what's going on without you.  You have to be more focussed on the world of your spiritual and emotional terrain than on the world of your oh-so-urgent duties.

This is an intense reversal.  This is a taboo reversal.  No one in our culture is allowed to do this-- do this and you'll become weak, lazy, worthless-- or so the notion goes.  I say do it and you'll become truly awake to the weird wonder that you are.  And out of this weird wonder you'll make full, vast, and sculptured treasures.  You'll bring back incredible gifts.  You'll enrich our day-time world immensely.  You'll be a hero and you'll have our gratitude-- for you were the brave one who made the journey where we were too scared to go.

To remember your dreams, you have to decide that your dreams are more important than what anyone else thinks of you

Your first thought when you wake must be: "I am dreaming a dream. What is happening in my dream? What am I doing?" And then you offer a kind of very soft, gentle attention.  You attend for some moments, laying still in the dark (so as not to disturb the swirling aether where your dream licks are laying in wait) and then once you've collected as much as you can, you pick up pen and paper and write what's gone on.

You make this more important than "being where I have to be." You make your dreams the most important thing.

Gradually, as you treat your dreams with this kind of respect, they begin to speak to you more loudly and more clearly.  They begin to realize that you're one who listens; you're one who attends.  They begin to offer the deep initiation to you, the initiation into your own transcendent power as the interdimensional creature you really are.

So make the decision right now.

Decide to dream at any cost.

It won't hurt as much as you think, my darling.

 

Love!

Carolyn

 

An Open Love Letter to Creative and Brilliant Men

Dear Creative and Brilliant Men, I'm lucky to hang out with you all the time-- at parties, at meetings, at home (that's you, my wondrous partner).  I see you doing your thing out in the world-- researching, performing, building, teaching-- and I notice the skepticism and shaming you endure from society in general, from family, and from the women in your life (sometimes even me).

We tell you to stop playing around, do something serious, bring in the cold hard cash. ("Why don't you do right, like some other men do?")

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2f40eQcYXk

("Why don't you get outta here and bring me some money too?")

Please don't listen.  Please be you.  Please make and do insane stuff that dazzles me.

I look around and I notice that a lot of the creative recovery material out there is geared toward women and focussed on fostering the divine feminine.  Of course that's incredibly important-- but I just want to say that my divine femininity needs your divine masculinity in its full force-- whether you're my friend, my lover, or just some guy whose show I go see.

I need you to be out there and in here with me relentlessly playing, pushing the edges, stalking strange prey.  I need you to be cheeky, cocky, and totally out of my control.

Whenever you do this-- whenever you inhabit the glory of your playful masculine nature with no apologies and no shame (something that's very hard to do in an age where masculinity is constantly caricatured as base violence and lust) you invite me into a dance and give me freedom to deeply embody my femininity. I can relax. I can surrender.  I don't have to be managing everything.  Your strength and verve can make me forget myself-- and in doing this, put me in touch with the well of pleasure at the core of my being.

But this isn't always clear in the moment. Sometimes I resist. I might give you a tight-lipped smile and shake my head in disapproval.  I might nag you about making more money. I might not look like I'm totally thrilled when you spend the weekend on an esoteric research project instead of taking me out.  I could act like I don't care that you've got mad skills when it comes to painting, rapping, laying labyrinths or making robots.  Like I'm not impressed. Like I'm not delighted.

But the thing is-- I am, totally.  And whenever I don't show it it's only because I'm stuck in my own nonsense fear and grumpy neuter adultness.  Be patient; keep burning; keep flashing.  Your strength and commitment to your purpose is irresistible, intoxicating, liberating.  It opens me, melts me, kills the dead parts of me.  And leaves me so glad that you're my friend, my lover, or the dude who's show I'm seeing. Because fuck knows I need to be opened, melted, killed-- again and again. (The ladies of Heart know what I'm talkin' about).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXOO7QVHgXs

("He's a magic man, mama!")

So if you're feeling tired or discouraged or bedraggled today please don't give up. Don't give in to the pressure to be normal. Don't stop. Keep on. Please push harder and venture more wildly-- for my sake and for that of all the women you love, dear magic man.

Love,

Carolyn

 

What, you want more? -- Well, sweet friend-- you should sign up for my mailing list by clicking right here.

You'll get a free ebook on plumping your creativity by caring for your morphic field and updates and offers from yours truly.

 

 

 

 

Genius Interview #1: DJ Nice Nate

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkZQs4CR4Fk  

Nice Nate is my favorite DJ / electronic musician and also a really rad guy.

 

In this interview Nate relates a death experience he had which gave him first-hand penetrating insights on the nature of the soul and the importance of doing your art, even if it kills you.

 

Check out a few of his transporting tracks:

Tremors

Asura

Samsara

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on September 5, 2011 and filed under Creativity.

The Love Healer Manifesto (a long read that's worth it)

<3Creative Commons License photo credit: Daquella manera

I Know Why

 

I know why you’re depressed. I know why you’re struggling.  I know why your feel angry, unseen, unknown, unvalued, unwanted.  I know why you feel like you have to fight every day to make a living and stay above water.  I know why some days you feel like you’re drowning.

 

I know why you get into relationships with people who touch you so deeply with their wonder and then burn you so badly with their selfishness.  I know why you can’t reach sexual ecstasy and why you find it so hard to relax.

 

I know why the whole thing isn’t working.

 

What gives me this prescient knowledge? Am I psychic? Well, yes, a bit—but really I’ve just realized the truth of the matter for myself and I’ve seen clearly that what is true in my own deepest heart is true for you, too.

 

So I also know that none of the mess is your fault.  None of it is because you’re deficient or you’re not wise or smart enough.  None of it is because you’re not energetic or clever or sexy enough.  It’s not because you’ve failed or gone wrong in any way.

 

Yet though none of it is your fault, you are the only one who can make it better.  And you can do that—make it wildly, incredibly, soul-swellingly better.

 

So if none of the mess is your fault, what’s going on? Why does this stuff suck so much? Why is life so unbelievably hard in so many ways? Where is all this stuckness and suffering coming from?

 

Before I tell you my answer, I need you to slow down.  I need you to take some really deep breaths—and not pansy deep breaths, either.  Take giant, hearty, full-bodied deep breaths.  I need you to really let this sink in for awhile: none of it is your fault.

 

You are innocent, completely and totally.  Breathe in that truth for a moment: just be with it  It’s not you. Not your fault.  You are 100% absolved. You are 100% perfect.

 

Okay. So what’s the problem? What’s going on?

 

It’s this: you’re a love healer and you haven’t been shown how to own and take full responsibility for your talents because our culture doesn’t understand or respect love healing (although it needs it desperately).

 

When you know how to take full possession of your genius for love healing, when you know how to see and revere yourself for your amazing power, when you know how to deploy that power in your own life and in the lives of everyone around you, you will:

  •             No longer be depressed
  •             —you’ll be joyous.
  •             No longer struggle to make ends meet
  •             – you’ll be fully supported.
  •             No longer be unseen or unknown
  •             – you’ll shine like a beacon.
  •             No longer have painful relationships
  •             – you’ll experience rich harmony.

 

How Do I Know This?

I gained these insights by working through a 7-week course which I designed to be a kind of next generation of The Artist’s Way– it's called Awesome Your Life: The Antidote to Suffering Genius. the course put me and many others in touch with our innate genius and lifted us out of creative misery.  You can find its first few chapters here. That course contains some of the same wisdom I teach here and also a series of experiments that lead you through 7 steps of the mythic journey.

 

Working through the Antidote to Suffering Genius course put me in touch with my own genius for love healing (which had long caused me suffering because I repressed and denied it) and gave me the intuitive power to see and foster the same genius in others.  In the series of posts you're reading now, I share with you directly the knowledge that came to me about the genius for love healing—what it means, and how it works.   I offer this to you now as a kind of concentrated dose of wisdom which can use to stimulate your own inherent power to awesome your life.

 

You may find that working through The Antidote to Suffering Genius course for yourself is a wonderful way to supplement, process, and expand the truth I'm explaining here.  You also might find that the present work is all you need for your awesoming to commence.

 

Your History as an Oppressed Love Healer

Do you feel some doubt about the notion that you’re a love healer? Does that sound too good to be true or too fluffy and weird to be true? Or both? And “love healer”—what does that even mean, anyway?

 

I can answer these doubts and questions only by inviting you to think back to your very earliest memories.  Think back to when you were a very little child playing with other little kids, being with your family.  When did you feel the most alive, the most powerful, the most free and glorious and delighted?

 

I bet it was while you were loving someone or something (a person, a plant, an animal, a doll, a building, a group of friends, a patch of nature) and that someone or something responded to your love by becoming more beautiful, more strong, more whole, more vibrant, more wise.   In other words, it wasn’t just the act of loving that brought you joy (although that is wondrous in itself), it was witnessing the miraculous power of your love to positively affect and uplift what you directed it toward.

 

Put simply, I bet you felt best when you were healing with the power of your love.  Healing in the sense that I use it in this book doesn’t just mean fixing something that’s sick or broken.  It means raising something up to a higher level of order, beauty, and wholeness.  In other words, “healing” means “evolving” not just “fixing.”

 

Now think about all your time in school.  Were you ever offered a time and a place to practice this art of healing with love that brought you so much joy and aliveness? Were you ever encouraged and applauded, given an A+ for the magnificence your love brought forth? Were you ever given compassionate guidance and help in amplifying and focusing the power of your love healing?  Were you ever taught techniques for using it on yourself to heal your own wounds?

 

If you are like most of us who grew up in Western culture, the answer to these questions is “no.”  So what happened instead?  Your skill for love healing, which brought you so much happiness was completely ignored by your teachers.  It was something that you were only free to do at play time—something that you were taught didn’t “count” towards your success in life.

 

Did this happen to you? Was your love healing gift taken for granted, treated as unimportant and unlikely to bring you reward?  Was it glossed over with condescension and never taken seriously?

 

If yes, then your deepest source of power and joy was not nurtured.  Something sacred and stunning and core to your being was gravely insulted by your education.  To put it starkly, you were robbed.

 

 

How Our Present System of Education Generates Self-Destruction

 

At school they taught you to read and write, do science and math, understand history and maybe some other skills.  But they took away (ignored, smothered, insulted) the core talent which all these other skills are only meant to serve: your ability to heal with love.

This is why you’re suffering.  This is why you had or have an eating disorder.  This is why you cut yourself.  This is why you made suicide attempts and why you’ve done drugs.

 

You self-destructed in these ways because our society (represented in your childhood by the school system) did not in the least bit value, nurture, acknowledge or celebrate your magnificent, essential gift for healing with love.

 

Your mother and father didn’t adequately protect you from the assault and devaluing that happened to you at school.  They may have ever perpetuated it at home.  Why? Because the same violence had been done to them.  They had lost touch with their own power of love healing.

 

Think: how joyful and free were your mother and father? How centered and grounded and calm were they? Did they impress you as people with full sovereignty and strength, or were they individuals scarred by shame and self-doubt, by insecurity and misery which they handed down to you?

 

So why did your teachers do this to you? Again, the same answer: it was done to them.  They had suffered the same insulting, ignoring and devaluing and didn’t know how to offer you anything other than what they had received.   Our society has been skewed and violent and messed up in this way (and maybe 1000 other ways) for a long, long time.  There may have only been a handful of cultures on the face of the earth that ever properly valued and nurtured love power.

 

So what am I saying? In brief, I’m saying that your life is so difficult and you find it so hard to be happy because at your depths you are a love healer.  Whatever it is that you prefer to love and whatever medium you use to express your love (we’ll talk more about this later), you are a love healer.  You are a love healer in a society that completely devalues, mistreats, and fails to understand love healing.

 

Everyone Asks for Everything Other than the Love They Want

Let’s talk for a moment about what this means for you today.  We already talked about how very tough stuff became when you were a little child.  So what’s happening right now?

 

You’re in some institution of higher education. Or maybe you’re working now. Or maybe you’re out of work.  What are you doing with your time? It could be just about anything: designing movie sets, waiting tables, teaching yoga, doing research, caring for children.  Whatever it is you’re doing, people pretend that they don’t want your love healing, they want you to do a specific service:

 

Get the food to the table

Make the movie set

Teach me a back bend

Keep the kids safe and fed

Produce new academic knowledge

 

Or any other thing.  There’s a rule in our society: you’re allowed to ask for, expect, and buy tangible goods and services.

 

But you know what? Beyond the very basics, most people don’t really want goods or services at all.  What they really want is to be loved, to be healed and evolved by love.  And that’s what they really want from you—love healing.  But in our society (I like to call it the mad world) there’s a profound taboo: you are never allowed to ask for, receive, or benefit from love healing.

 

So people never ask you for your love healing, even though that’s what they’re really craving from you (the taboo against asking or receiving love healing is so deep that the vast majority of people don’t even know that that’s what they really want and are looking for).

 

So because no one knows how to ask for or receive your love healing, they ask you for other things.  Actually, they don’t just ask, they demand.  And these demands can get very loud and very mean.  You hear messages all the time (spoken or unspoken) like:

 

  •                         This set design isn’t good enough
  •                         This dissertation isn’t up to standard
  •                         You’re not a brilliant yoga teacher
  •                         You’re not doing a good enough job with the kids

 

On and on.  People find things to criticize you about or demand from you endlessly.  You get fired, or let go.  Or you push yourself really hard to meet all their demands and you end up on the floor in a ball, heaving and crying because nothing you do is ever good enough for them.

 

What’s happening?

 

This is what’s happening: everyone who comes into contact with you senses subconsciously that you are a profoundly amazing love healer.  But you don’t know that consciously and neither do they.  So they ask you for a zillion other things, whatever they can think of.  And since you’re broke and trying to make ends meet you run around going nuts trying to jump through the hoops, meet the specifications, be up to snuff, win the race—get the pay check, the job, the fellowship, stay afloat.  This makes you feel frayed, frantic, miserable.  You don’t feel loved or loving—so you’re not offering love with your work.  You’re just trying to get by and hoping that they don’t completely devour you.

 

You don’t feel you have much motivation for doing anything, even things you at one time really liked doing.  Why? When the people you trusted devalued you as a love healer, they cut out your fundamental motivation for doing anything, for relating or for creating  They struck a very deep blow against the core of your self.

 

So you feel miserable.  The people demanding stuff of you feel miserable.  The taboo against ask for, receiving, or celebrating love healing persists.

 

Sounds grim, right? Look around and you see this everywhere in your own life and among your friends.  This is abuse.  This is wrong.  This needs to change. But how?

 

The Deep Change

 

Well, it starts with one person. You.

 

One person who is willing to completely own, value, cultivate, celebrate and revere her own talent as a love healer.  One person who is willing to revere and celebrate the same talent in other people.  One person who is willing to offer her real gifts with no apologies.  Who is willing to stop trying to jump through hoops of false demands and instead stand in her strength and give people just what they are really asking for from her: love, radiant love.

 

The more you do this—offer your love gift freely and support others in offering theirs—the faster the fire of love will spread and the quicker our culture will heal.  You will free others from the taboo.  You will free them to appreciate and value you at your depths.  Gradually, you feel much less confused and threatened when people seem to be making demands of you or criticizing you because you know what they’re really trying to do: ask you for love healing.

 

I want you now to imagine a world where every child’s talent for love healing is nurtured to the utmost—where it is cherished and cultivated and applauded.

 

And I want you to realize that you’re not miserable because you’re not good enough at what you do. You’re miserable because you’re not grounded and centered in the deep knowledge of who you are.

 

Think about it—if you felt totally seen, known, cherished, valued as a love healer, wouldn’t you….

 

  •                         Feel relaxed?
  •                         Enjoy whatever you’re doing more?
  •                         Feel brimming with inspiration for grand ways
  •                                     that you could offer your love to the
  •                                     world?
  •                         Love making stuff?
  •                         Love everyone around you, and yourself a whole
  •                                     lot more?

 

A Big Vision

 

So here’s my vision for you:  you are fully seen, known, celebrated and valued as a love healer—first by yourself and gradually by others who are inspired by your knowledge.  You express your love healing in the world in a way that perfectly delights and strengthens you.  You are richly rewarded for your love healing in wealth and honor.  You see the world evolve, within your lifetime, into something radically different and radically better—thanks in part to the love you shared.

 

I want you to know this:

 

  •                         You are a love healer.
  •                         Just you being in the world makes everything
  •                                     way better.
  •                         Your value is immeasurable and crucial to the
  •                                     survival of our world.
  •                         You deserve to be richly supported just for being.
  •                         You deserve all respect and all beauty and
  •                                     comfort.
  •                         In a just society, you would be richly supported
  •                                     just for your very being.

 

We can make this happen.  Stay tuned for ideas on just how.

Revering the Daimon

What follows is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Awesome Your Life.  

Paradoxically, in order to wake up from our sleep-walking, we need to go deeper into dreaming.  The stuff of our night-time dreams, our poetry, our fancy, the various bits of psychic sparkly stuff that we habitually ignore and dismiss—this is the stuff we need to collect and interact with in deep reverence.  By doing this, we honor our poet spirits, our daimons.  The daimon is our highest potential, our most powerful self.  It’s a spiritual image of possibility which hovers in our morphic field of energy around us and calls us to grow into it, just as the spiritual image of a resplendent oak hovers in the energy field surrounding an acorn.  The daimon (also called the soul, genius or heart) knows who we are and who we can be.  It has a vivid connection to the daimon of the world, too, and connects us not only to our personal journey but to that of the planets.

Canada Vac 2011-36 Creative Commons License photo credit: weslowik

Our egos resist attending with tender reverence and seriousness to our dreams and fantasies.  “I have more important things to do,” is its ever-present claim.

 

It takes sincere humility and rich honesty to embark on this project of uniting the conscious and the unconscious, order and energy.  Honor your struggles and your frustrations as you move forward with this process, because nothing about it is easy.

 

The play we’re undertaking requires reverence and devotion—reverence for our own daimons, for all the poets around us (sleeping or waking), for every element of our environment, natural or human-made.  Our present culture derides reverence and devotion as foolish attitudes which make one vulnerable to manipulation and control. Criticism and mocking are much more cool than earnest appreciation.  But reverence is to the soul what the most nutritious food is to the body.  The soul can live on irreverence and criticism, fault-finding and cynicism—but these are poor nurturance.  Our genius can come into its full vitality when we practice offering wonder and deep attention to the life around us.  What we offer to the world is actually what we offer to our own soul, and our soul thrives or falls weak accordingly.

To have a weak soul is to have a hungry ghost within, a monster who is never satisfied and will devour beauty and joy out of your life like the terrible Minotaur beneath the ancient city of Crete, who demanded sacrifices of youths and maidens.  The Minotaur came into existence because King Mino of Crete refused to offer the great gift that had been bestowed to him. When out of fear and greed we refuse to offer our deepest gifts, we create a terror that eats us alive.

 

Reverence and devotion don’t have to be heavy and dry.  They can be light, erotic, liberating and playful.  All of the creative Experiments in this course call upon your reverence and devotion  in concrete practices.

 

It’s a good idea, as you travel this path, to practice offering your reverence and respect to every person you meet and your devotion to the spirit of love in them.

 

Try this: when in conversation, allow your own mind to grow very quiet as you listen to another person.  Don’t internally argue with or amend what the other person says.  Offer your listening presence as a whole gift.  Be the presence of love for the one speaking.  Don’t concern yourself with approving or rejecting the content of what the person says or even who she is.  Simply be present, open, and nonjudging. Be the space in which the other can unfold.  When it’s your turn to talk, your reply may come more slowly since you haven’t been busily formulating it as the other person spoke.  Embrace and allow that slowness.  See how it alters the quality of your communication and the enjoyment you have in conversation.

 

This is a gentle and practical form of meditation which strengthens your daimon and fuels your ecstatic awakening.

 

As you cultivate the silence within you through this kind of listening and through daily deep meditation, you will become much more sensitive to the spiritual nuances at work in your life and relationships. We all have spiritual senses, just as we have bodily senses.  These spiritual senses go uncultivated in most of us; it’s not something that’s taught in most schools.

 

Once you’ve cultivated the ability to list to others with inner quiet, reverence and love, you’ll find that you hear them in a whole other way.  You hear them through your heart— you’ll receive and partake of their heart’s energy as you listen to them speak.  Through this reception, you’ll learn much more about the person you’re listening to than you would through merely cognitive listening.  You’ll intuit their whole history of sorrows and joy, connections and solitudes.  Sentences that formerly would have struck you as wrong-headed, which you would have previously dismissed, will now touch you differently.  You’ll feel the heart in those sentences, the energy within the form of the words—and you’ll discern that you’re able to receive rich and profound gifts from people you otherwise would ignore.

 

This practice is richly liberating, because through it you can learn how to love and sincerely enjoy a much greater range of people.  By letting your judging mind recede, your daimon is free to be strengthened by the exchange of love and reverence with others.

 

Posted on August 3, 2011 and filed under Creativity.

The Sleep-walking Poet

The following essay is from my forthcoming book, Awesome Your Life: A Journey to Ecstatic Joy through Soul-making

After a human being has glimpsed the outer orbits of heavenly possibility through any means- whether through falling in love, taking an entheogenic drug, dreaming an astounding dream, or being illuminated in a moment during meditation – that person can no longer peacefully snooze through life. If you’re reading this book, I know you’ve had such a glimpse and that you’ve been moved to restlessness.  You may have buried or repressed your season of insight, but it happened, and now you are irrevocably changed.  The period of fleeting transcendence that we’ve Experimented is a wake-up alarm, a call to adventure.  The tremendous beauty of the call is usually followed by a viciously challenging low— the break up of a romance, the come down off the drug, the having to get up and go to work after the gorgeous dream, the doldrums of ordinary existence after a flash or stretch of huge realization.

 

tictac Creative Commons License photo credit: pj_vanf

 

This low and the hopelessness that can come with it can destroy a poet and keep her stuck in an unpleasant state between being fully asleep and fully awake.  Following the awakening, it’s therefore imperative that the poet find a means of integrating the heaven she’s glimpsed with the warp and weft of daily life.  In other words, it’s imperative that she make her soul.

 

There are many forces that conspire against the successful completion of this integration, this making.  Poets are often told that it flat-out isn’t possible to bring heaven to earth.  After a poet talks to therapists and teachers, parents and even friends about his brushes with the infinite and his desire to enter into a lasting and grounded experience of that bliss he will likely be told that what he’s asking for is far too grand.  “No one lives in ecstasy,” a friend once told me. “Your problem is that you want to.” On the contrary, I would say that my problem was at the time, I didn’t know how to. My friend was making the strange and unfounded assumption that I was a being incapable of transcendence and magical transformation.  She likely made the same sad and unjustified assumption about herself.

 

The role of the poet is to essentially heal, transform, and evolve consciousness.  At this fraught time in our planet’s history this role is all the more necessary—consciousness must evolve so that from it we can create what the cultural philosopher Charles Eisenstein has accurately and romantically called “the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible.” Too often, however, poets are encouraged to use their abilities to fulfill pre-defined roles in existing institutions: artist, teacher, minister, professor.  These functions serve the maintenance of the existing society, the existing order of things.  Yet the existing order of things is itself greatly disturbed and out of harmony, the product of a level of consciousness that needs raising and healing.  So the poet who works to maintain the present order and to succeed within it becomes out of harmony with herself.  In this condition, she’s a sleepwalker.

 

A sleepwalker is not quite awake and neither is she asleep in her bed. She’s a being maneuvering simultaneously in dreams and in actuality, in danger of destroying herself and those that surround her as she moves here and there without conscious volition or awareness. This is the pain of knowing that there’s a more gorgeous world and yet believing that its manifestation is impossible.  This pain causes a restlessness which is sufficient to make its sufferer stir and wander but not great enough to entirely wake her.

 

To wakeup, the sleepwalker first needs to honestly admit that she’s still asleep—sleeping is all she knows—and a part of her doubts that anything else lies beyond.

 

If you feel trapped or limited in life, admit it.  Admit that the present way of things does not correspond to the deeper truth present within you.  Admit what sleepwalking feels like, the dull pain of it.

 

The burden of a poet is to make consistently manifest for herself and for others the profound love and beauty she’s Experimented.  As long as she denies her duty and her ability to bring forth this manifestation, she stays asleep in denial.

 

Denial of our extraordinary potential as healers and agents of deep change is a huge and pervasive danger to our souls.  It causes us to do taxing and destructive things in order to stay asleep.  In many cases, poets maintain their sleepwalking through acute addictions to drugs, sex, and food.  These addictions are so engrossing and seductive that they consume the spiritual energy the poet could otherwise use to awaken.  In addiction, we become unendingly thirsty for things that are material substitutes for immaterial power.  We try to fill a spiritual hunger with material substances and we end up more thirsty and sick than ever—like drinking seawater and dying of thirst.

 

Less acutely, but ultimately no less destructively, a sleepwalking poet may numb herself with intellectual rationalizations, doubts, and self-criticisms.  She convinces herself that the sleeping world is the only real one and insulates herself from full waking by concentrating intently on the practical details of achieving success and recognition in the sleeping world.  She still participates in an addiction, but on a more general scale—she’s an addict in the societal sphere, through consumption.

 

The frustrations of sleepwalking are so great that the poet may wish for ignorance—to be able to play the game of ordinary life without any suspicion of something more.  But this is impossible. The call has happened.  The restlessness has set in and must be fully dealt with.

 

Posted on August 1, 2011 and filed under Life Adventure.

Become a Visionary

Dear Reader, Do you demure from expressing yourself creatively? Do you insist that you don't have the time or money to acquire the necessary training, skills, and materials requisite to being an artist?

Do you bemoan that whatever kind of work you do isn't fashionable, isn't desired, isn't wanted by the world? Is your name Carolyn Elliott? Because I do all that stuff, every day.

Ever since I was old enough to realize I could get attention with my artistic stylings I've been hobbled by chains of perfectionism and caring-what-others-think tempered in the hands of demonic smithys under the mighty mountain forgery of Self-Doubt.  It's a painful condition. But I'm getting over myself, in large part thanks to inspiration from visionary art.

The Art that Forgets Its Name

What's visionary art? According to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, the term

refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself." In short, visionary art begins by listening to the inner voices of the soul, and often may not even be thought of as 'art' by its creator.

So visionary art, much of which is so freakin' cool it makes me quiver (check out that mosaic mirrored egg!), is made by people who lack formal artistic training.  Indeed, it's very often made by people who are in some way marginalized by society and who lack financial resources. Hmmm.  As I consider the vast wonder of things made by self-taught and under-advantaged creators, I begin to seriously lose my excuses for not making more stuff myself.

The thing which really fascinates me about visionary art though, is that its creators often don't even consider it to be art. They just think of it as a necessary expression of their intuition. The section on the American Visionary Art Museum's website which describes the difference between traditional folk art and visionary art goes into more detail on this matter, and I find it so compelling that I have to share it with you:

The essential difference between the two [folk artists and visionary artists], though both may at times use similar materials and methods, is that visionary artists don't listen to anyone else's traditions. They invent their own. They hear their own inner voice so resoundingly that they may not even think of what they do as 'art.' Dubuffet's beloved Art Brut Collections, formed exclusively from the "raw art" creations of non-artists, such as street people, hermits, factory workers, housewives and psychic mediums, motivated him to say: "Art is at its best when it forgets its very name." It is this listening to one's inner voice with such focused attention that contributes to the unusually large number of visionary art works -many of which took decades to create. Yet there are still common threads. The most common theme of visionary artists worldwide is the backyard recreation of the Garden of Eden and other utopian visions -quite literally building heaven on earth.

On reflection, I think I have to agree with Mr. Dubuffet that "Art is at its best when it forgets its very name." I've spent many hours in fine art museums in America and Europe. I volunteered for years at the Carnegie Art Museum and the Andy Warhol Museum. And yet nothing that I've seen in the fine art category grips me as much as art brut.

And isn't it wild that the most common theme of this work is the recreation of the Garden of Eden? Knowing this reminds me of the trippy aboriginal greatness of Womb With Three Births, a work produced by two of my favorite (largely self-taught) geniuses, Sigh Meltingstar and Eliza Bishop, for a show I curated this past summer at the International Children's Gallery on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh.

When I ponder the truth that art is best when it forgets its name, I get a little sad.  I remember all the times I forced myself to do something serious with words or paint or clay because I was indeed aiming to make "art." In my self-imposed seriousness, I've drained most all of the fun out of creating and often ended up with stuff that induced yawns rather than yelps of joy.

A few weeks ago I decided to surrender my conditioned desire to make "art" and instead relax into my authentic preference to produce cool stuff in accordance with the dictates of my inner voice and share it with others by whatever means necessary.

So far, the results have been really fun-- I've started making songs with my friend Jane for our freak folk project and I wrote and performed my first few minutes of stand up comedy.

In the coming days I'll be sharing thoughts and prompts on making the transition from stifled-by-seriousness to trembling-visionary-glitter-bombness.

Love,

Carolyn

 

Image Credit: Picture by LollyKnit of a sculpture in the American Visionary Art Museum, borrowed from Flickr under Creative Commons licensing.