Clearings To Help With Creative Inspiration And Flow

Anyone who has persevered in the arts (or healing, sports, or any such area of devoted interest) acknowledges the need for dedicated learning and intense practice.  We know that we need to master the skills and build the muscle memory and strength at the mind-body level.

Yet, to take things to the next level, repetition alone is not enough.  
Something more is required.  We frequently hear advice along the lines of ‘get into the flow‘, or ‘find the zone‘, or ‘get yourself out of the way‘. For, what is required is for us to become one with the experience; inviting in a grace and inspiration to bring forth the highest possible in the moment.

Regardless of whether our endeavour is a creative pursuit or a mundane, mechanical task – when we pay attention – we notice that the space which we operate from is as critical to the outcome as our actual ability, practised skill and execution.

As Hazrat Inayat Khan hinted:

It is not solid wood that can become a flute, but the empty reed.

Wu Hsin also pointed succinctly with:

Perfect archery has no archer.

Scot Barry Kaufman, in his HBR article, “Why Inspiration Matters” states:
To become personally inspired, the best you can do is set up the optimal circumstances for inspiration. As a society, the best we can do is assist in setting up these important circumstances for everyone.  An easy first step is simply recognizing the sheer potency of inspiration, and its potential impact on everything we do.

However, even if one be convinced of the ‘sheer potency of inspiration‘, we still face a huge challenge:  How does one “set up the optimal circumstances for inspiration“?

Here is where we can turn to a beautiful poem that describes a methodical process to this end. ‘Poem of the Woodcarver’, by Chuang Tzu (from ‘The Way of Chuang Tzu’, by Thomas Merton) is a masterpiece treasured by many artists and teachers. It has been a personal favourite for a long time and I quote it below:

‘The Woodcarver’
by Chuang Tzu

Khing, the master carver, made a bell stand
Of precious wood. When it was finished,
All who saw it were astounded. They said it must be
The work of spirits.
The Prince of Lu said to the master carver:
“What is your secret?”

Khing, replied: “I am only a workman:
I have no secret. There is only this:
When I began to think about the work you commanded
I guarded my spirit, did not expend it
On trifles, that were not to the point.
I fasted in order to set
My heart at rest.
After three days fasting,
I had forgotten gain and success.
After five days
I had forgotten praise or criticism.
After seven days
I had forgotten my body
With all its limbs.

“By this time all thought of your Highness
And of the court had faded away.
All that might distract me from the work
Had vanished.
I was collected in the single thought
Of the bell stand.

“Then I went to the forest
To see the trees in their own natural state.
When the right tree appeared before my eyes,
The bell stand also appeared in it, clearly, beyond doubt.
All I had to do was to put forth my hand
and begin.

“If I had not met this particular tree
There would have been
No bell stand at all.

“What happened?
My own collected thought
Encountered the hidden potential in the wood;
From this live encounter came the work
Which you ascribe to the spirits.”

So now, the next question that usually arises after reading the above is:
How do we incorporate this wisdom into our life? 

Simple rituals can help set a mindful tone and clarify our focus.
For example, habits, such as decluttering, lighting a candle, playing soft background music, meditation or prayer before we begin our work, can all help.

Importantly, like ‘The Woodcarver’, starting with a clear intent to clear our inner space and inviting the highest to come through can significantly change the quality of whatever it is that we are expressing, doing, or making.

Drawing on my extensive experience with healing processes, I felt using NOW Healing with statements inspired by Chuang Tzu’s sage advice could lead to a powerful, useful practice. Used regularly, this meditative piece could aid in facilitating inspired work.

(It lends structure to my own approach to healing and the various creative mediums  I play with. Though, I feel its relevance is not limited to any particular field but extends to all form of authentic expression and offerings.  After all, as Rumi said, Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”)

Sharing the process I came up with below, for those who think along similar lines:

Guiding Instructions:
a) Place your attention at the base of your spine, and then sweep your awareness quickly up the middle of your body(your ‘Center‘), and out from the top of your head, expanding upwards and outwards, in not more than 2 seconds.  Don’t think or concentrate too much, just do it quickly and lightly.
b) As you do the above, “Enter the command”, i.e. mentally say the first statement from the list below. Inhale and release a deep breath as you do this.
c) Do this for each of the 21 statements, going through them slowly and mindfully. You may want to record the statements below in your own voice for regular use.
(To learn about Elma Mayer’s ‘NOW Healing’ and the ‘Center’ in greater detail, click here. Alternatively, use this as a tapping script with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).)

 

  1. Align to Wholeness Now.
  2. Disentangle from all outer temptations and distractions Now.
  3. Disentangle from the need to look or be busy Now.
  4. Align to ease with non-activity Now.
  5. Align to patience Now.
  6. Align to deep listening of inner guidance Now.
  7. Disentangle from all conscious and unconscious vested interests Now.
  8. Disentangle from all conscious and unconscious fear and anticipation of judgement, criticism and rejection Now.
  9. Disentangle from all conscious and unconscious craving and aversion for praise, riches, popularity, and fame Now.
  10. Disentangle from all limitations of body-mind identification Now.
  11. Disentangle from all thoughts, fears, expectations, and projections of audience response Now.
  12. Align to inspiration Now.
  13. Align to emergence Now.
  14. Align to flow Now.
  15. Align to seeing with Wholeness Now.
  16. Align to clarity Now.
  17. Align to inspired, skilful action Now.
  18. Align to best possible effort Now.
  19. Disentangle from all conclusion, judgment, attachment, or investment in the outcome Now.
  20. Align to easeful surrender, peace and fulfilment Now.
  21. Reintegrate Now.
Sit quietly with your eyes closed for a few moments.

I trust that you will experience a wonderful spaciousness, lightness and ease by this point. May this provide you with just the right space and state to proceed as per your own inner guidance now.

If you experiment with this process, I would love to have you share what followed in the comments below.  And if you enjoyed the article, please do pass it on!

Land art by Andy Goldsworthy.jpeg


My
sculpture can last for days or a few seconds –
what is important to me is the experience of making.
I leave all my work outside and often return to watch it decay.
(Land Art and Quote ~ Andy Goldsworthy)

Healing The Feminine and Restoring Yin Yang Balance With Self Awareness.

All around us, we are seeing the unveiling of secrets and the exposure of what has been suppressed or denied for years. How women have been treated was rather obvious, but is perhaps being questioned far more than it has been for decades.

Whether it be the fallout of the American political drama, the rape victims all over the world, the housewife subjugated to domestic violence/more subtle but persistent domination/humiliation, the career woman facing the glass ceiling/sexual harassment, or the sadly common threat/disrespect that every female deals with on a daily basis – it is all boiling out into the open.

While the restoration of balance between the Yang(masculine) and Yin(feminine) energies is clearly needed, how we go about trying to arrive at that also needs some thought.  In the pendulum swinging away from one extreme, we often swing far too much in the opposite direction.

Hurt is best healed when it is acknowledged in our self, and witnessed in the other.  Too often, it lies buried under rage, resignation, indifference or blame. Consequently, attention and aggression is directed outwards while the pain itself may remain unaddressed.

Before we try to direct a change in the outer world, it serves us to first arrive at peace within ourselves.  For then, we are able to engage mindfully and appropriately with the manifest.

Women need the compassionate space to reveal and heal their ancient, individual and collective wounds. They have to learn to love, forgive and accept themselves for all they have endured, and knowingly or unknowingly invited or inflicted – on each other as well as on men.
Similarly, men too, have to be allowed a similar space to introspect, forgive themselves and allow their own gentler aspects of vulnerability, empathy, and compassion to emerge.

Those who agree that owning and addressing our inner turbulence is necessary may be struggling with the how of it.  In support of them, I offer below a selection of articles that can serve in the process. Most of these are directly addressed to women, but for those who are interested, searching the blog will provide you with very many other healing scripts/poems and practices.

Additionally, meditating upon the energetically charged Yin Balancing Art and/or Mandala image below has been found impactful by many women.
The first (a digital painting) was channeled during a powerful lunar eclipse.  It is intended to help with the restoration of balance between male and female energies, within us as also in the world at large.  Use this image to own, strengthen, balance and express the feminine energies.
The second was an Ojo I spun chanting Ho’oponopono after a particularly brutal attack on a woman had rocked our nation. It’s soothing energies bring back a gentle strength.

Lastly, the poem below is intended to help one remember that true freedom – wherein we need not judge/suppress feminine qualities, but own them and be ourselves fearlessly. (Try tapping it in with EFT and see how you feel.)

Relevant Articles(in no particular order):

Once there has been some honest inner clearing, you may feel ready to go beyond the confines of labels, archetypes, and genders.  (I feel that is necessary before we can transcend our identification with a personality(male or female)). At which point, you could use this clearing: What Meaning Having You Given This One Thing?

 

yin-energies_numbered

The genie is out of the bottle.
Do not attempt to fit Her back in.
No more bargaining over favors:

Her freedom no longer dependent on your whims
Or her ability to meet your needs,
Blend, constrict and fit in.

You may be surprised to find
That her generosity now flows unabated
Instead of drying up.

Now that She does not have to pay
Her being as a price
She only becomes what She always was.

Like the elephant tied down by a simple peg
Amnesia and conditioning
Had had Her caged.

But just as once water remembers itself
It remains not confined, nor stagnant, nor afraid:
All limiting forms eventually fade.

Continually transforming,
Finding ways
To revisit Home, the higher skies

Yet She returns from there, again and again,
As does nurturing rain when the earth turns dry…
With the love that had always been hidden within – more clarified.

divine-feminine-mandala

If you find any of this useful, please share the post widely with others. Let us support each other in whatever ways we can.

Poems: Restoration Of Peace

Sometimes,
Even the land and waters forget,
As do the trees.

Soak them in enough blood
Violate mercilessly,
Leaving no time to mend, to heal…

Do it long enough
And you can confuse them.
(Though even then,
Far less than us
Deranged they be.)

Nevertheless,
Not themselves for sure.
Ragged, disconnected, incomplete.

Buying into our sense of separation
Identifying with horrors they have seen
Branded and known forever
As numbing battlefields…

Like us,
These too require a gentle touch.
The kiss of remembrance
The restoration of sanity:

I am sorry, please forgive me.
May we all return
To the love and peace we be.

koh_kher_clearing

(Written at Koh Ker, Cambodia. If you are not familiar with Cambodia’s history, you may want to look it up. )

Footnote – An Extract From Wikipedia

“Hoʻoponopono (ho-oponopono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.”

[…]

“…includes using the mantra, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.[40] It is based on Len’s idea of 100% responsibility,[41] taking responsibility for everyone’s actions, not only for one’s own. If one would take complete responsibility for one’s life, then everything one sees, hears, tastes, touches, or in any way experiences would be one’s responsibility because it is in one’s life.[42] The problem would not be with our external reality, it would be with ourselves. Total Responsibility, according to Hew Len, advocates that everything exists as a projection from inside the human being.”

 

Poems: An Elusive Love

01d453e3-b5e2-4c38-bd78-9267e0b51000

They say, love yourself.
And one wonders why
There is such little genuine affection
For the one we live as.

How is it possible?
When we have never met
Never studied our own reflection
Letting our eyes rest?

Have you ever asked yourself
What truly interests you?
What brings you alive,
Makes you feel, deep, light and bright?

For more often than not,
The heart and mind wander away.
We forget ourselves,
Whilst another’s beauty captivates.

Allow your gaze to turn inwards.
Simply pay attention there first.
For this is not like any adoration
Which we direct outwards…

Where first, love is remembered
And then the details are seen.
(Were things always in that order
We would forgive, everyone, and everything.)

No. This is a different journey.
To start with curiosity is enough.
To touch, to feel, to observe
To empathize with this near-stranger is difficult.

We are not used to it.
We don’t know how.
No importance was given here.
What is eternally present, has been filtered out.

So start afresh.
Begin anew.
Look into your own eyes,
Explore, only as a lover would.

Touch gently the stubborn, curling strand of hair
A sensitive spot behind the knee…
Visit slowly, tenderly, those secret, vulnerable places
Where only soulful lovemaking would reach.

Share in that inner child’s eager wonder
Allow the grief of the tragedy queen
Salute the bravery of the veteran soldier
Thank the grace the healer has seen.

Listen to the victim’s frightened cries
Witness the bully’s anger and blame
Discern how the hurt and defeated
Still hoards pain and shame.

With as much obsession, and compassion
That past objects of your affection inspired
Look within and celebrate
All the character you have acquired.

For before you can love yourself
You, your self must meet:
All the lights and shadows within
With kindness, first, must be seen.

Take your time, but do it well.
Remember, this ain’t no temporary fling
For this is the One, my dear.
This One is for keeps.

 

Sculpture: Pablo Gargallo

Embracing Change (EFT Script)

One of my readers wrote in requesting for an EFT script to cope with change.  So before I share the script I wrote in response to that request, I felt it relevant to share one my recent poems from FB here:

Sometimes we pretend to ourselves
That we are waiting for someone or something
That everlasting joy will be ours then.

But, the truth is our happiness is here.
And we don’t really want anything to change
Neither us, nor our circumstance.

For with all that we want
to run from
There is also much
That which we don’t wish to end.

It is like that in a dualistic world.
Light and darkness
Always go hand in hand.

The truth is that our motivations and interests are often conflicting and or confused.  Hence, this script begins from that internal push and pull, and then move towards a greater ease and coherence that comes from us stepping out of deep identification with the persona and drama of our life.

In keeping with the subject, I have changed the formatting of the script 🙂  It assumes your familiarity with EFT(Emotional Freedom Techniques) – so please tap repetitive cycles through the Short-Cut points (Karate Chop, Eyebrow, Side of the Eye, Under the Eye, Under the Nose, Chin, Collarbone, Under the Arms, Top of the Head) as you read the statements. Repeat a couple of rounds of the script in this manner, and let me know how you feel.

(You can download EFT in one page here if required.  For a more detailed understanding of EFT, you can get my book – Emotional Freedom Techniques.)

land art

Even though I say,
I want things to change
I find myself reluctant to let go
Old habits, emotions, thoughts and patterns
Have me locked in their hold.
However challenging, upsetting or disappointing it may have been
However wonderful, enlightening and energising:
Whatever it was, it was known.
And it is hard to surrender the comfort of familiarity
For a leap into the undefined, unexplored, unseen, unknown.

But a part of me realises
That things have already changed.
I am neither who I was before
Nor is anything or anyone around me exactly the same.
Transience and transformation occur
Whether or not we flow…
It is in our hands to adapt and accelerate
Or argue, lament, struggle, refuse.

Doing the same old things
Reacting in the same old ways:
The time for that is done now
And I am willing to make headway
In being a little less rigid, a little less unsure
A little less fearful, a little more secure
To learn afresh, to experiment anew
To do what I have never done before
To be even more than I imagined I could
One step at a time, is all it takes
To discover new terrains and routes.

So I choose to release the past
Of insisting that it must intact remain
I appreciate and thank what was
As I welcome the new all the same
In this present moment
I surrender all games:
All my conscious and unconscious methods
Of proving or disproving
My cherished beliefs to date.

What if the future looks nothing like the past?
Isn’t it time to make a fresh start?

With a beginner’s mind, I see clearly again.
Without any historical perceptions weighing me down
I am no longer trapped, constricted or contained…
The dream begins to lose its hold
Joy, ease and peace awake.

Who do I choose to be now?
What new adventures will now commence?
I decide to greet their arrival
With a relaxed smile on my face…
For I now remind myself
That who I truly am
Through even the most radical change:
Untouched remains
And on this dramatic stage of life
I simply play out a fresh role
Rewritten,
To suit what I now wish
To experience, express and portray.

There are many more articles and scripts relevant to this subject that can be found by using the search box on the top right of the page. 

Many of us are struggling with radical changes in major aspects of our life right now.  If you feel this useful, please do share with others.  

 

Image: Land Art by Andy Goldsworthy

 

Poems: Don’t Argue With The Pain

Light pillar badami
Don’t argue with the pain.
Don’t pretend away the discomfort.
It is okay to be broken, conflicted,
Today – in need of comfort.
You are not obligated and bound
To be upbeat and strong all the time.
All that life asks of you
Is that you take it as it comes
Just one step at a time.
Welcome the sun and the shadows
They both appear and fade
You have nature’s assurance:
None of this is permanent.
This too shall change.But who you truly are
Unfazed remains.

 

Photo Credit:  Anita Modak

Poems: Break Out

Bronze Sculpture by M.C. Escher

A long, long time ago
There arrived the thought
That love was something dangerous
Mysterious and unreliable:
It led to all kinds of grief, tears,and loss

That there was no way to tame it
Contain what it brought:
The confusion, foolishness
Futility of unending fears
Inconvenient changes
It sometimes wrought

And that day it was decided
By the previously innocent mind
Be careful! Guard yourself.
Impose restrictions
Safety measures, gates and limits,
Not everyone or everything is kind.

There came into place a cage
Of all these imagined fears and plots
Counter-strategies to play safe
Keep out what the heart sought

Confined by these boundaries
Fluid nature became ice
Hard and cold as stone
Brittle and fragile…
That was the heavy price.

So an identity took form
Gradually fleshing out stories
Fixating upon other characters
Making them out to be solid and real too
This is how the idea
Of a separate, vulnerable self grew.

Here, the idea of safety and territory took root.
Before this, in a seamless, flowing world
There was no question of a me or you….
Simply different possible locations
From which to experience life
As a temporary point of view.

But now we have forgotten all that
Forgotten what was felt and known true
That nothing real can be threatened
And all the angels and demons
We run obsessively from or to
They are all but a dream,
An illusion we have bought into.

All because a prison was imposed,
Love was titrated fine:
“Just enough to keep one alive
Too much and one goes blind”.

What would change
If that were not the case?
If love and foolishness
Were no longer confused?
If the pointlessness of damming flow,
Of defending and attacking
Was realized and understood?

What kind of a paradigm
Would this one transform into?

 
 

(Bronze Sculpture by M.C.Escher)