The practice of creation is not limited to the artist’s studio.
This doesn’t come as a surprise – we’re all aware creativity can strike just about anywhere. And it does. Because its all about perception.
And when you think about how much time we spend at work – all those hours we’re awake (being perceptive)…the workplace suddenly has unexplored potential.
This is the thought process explained in one of the chapters of the book, Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go, by Shaun McNiff. I mentioned this book the other day (in my post, “Reframing”) and this chapter held my attention even more so. I can always tell when something I’m reading gets me excited – I start highlighting like crazy. Its when I read things like this that I’m reminded why I started a blog in the first place. People need to know this stuff!!!
So here is what the author says about creativity and the workplace:
When we find ourselves complaining about being stuck at work instead of being free to play in the studio, we need to realize that the office worker, like the artist, needs repetition as a familiar base that enables something new to spring forth at the right time. If repetition is annoying to you, try to surrender to it and let it carry you to a new place. Give the repetition the same aesthetic value as the repetitive art exercises we do to stay flexible in the studio.
When someone interrupts your concentration, think of the ancient traditions of hospitality and welcome the unexpected guests as ‘visitations of the gods’. Whatever crosses our paths unexpectedly can be viewed as an infusion of the creative spirit in our lives.
Contemplate the workplace in new ways. Use the energy of the environment as fuel for creation. The imagination flourishes through the use of all its faculties and languishes in compartmentalization.
Creating is a circulation of energy – it is always pulling things into new relationships within a continuously interactive process. And the workplace offers yet another paradox of creative expression.
When we are overwhelmed by the demands of the workplace we long for more free time to create. We assume we will be more creative when we are dislodged from the daily regimens that ask so much of our time. But creativity is often viewed through the lens of romantic isolation – we still see creativity as something that exists exclusively within ourselves rather than within the activity of our environment.
Recent trends in retirement show that people choose to return to productive and creative work environments even when they are under no pressure for subsistence.
We need daily structure and purpose, the social interactions with others, the sense of mutual accomplishments and the knowledge that we are contributing to useful activities that are benefiting others. The workplace becomes a very different place when we become the observer in a collective creation that expresses itself like a chorus or a pageant.
Too often we think of work as a job, simply a way to make a living. If we take the economic necessity out of the equation we may discover that we need the workplace for survivial of a different kind.
We need to be inspired and influenced by others on a regular basis.
We need to be part of a collective and creative purpose in order to persist with full vitality.
Elevate the significance and the value of your work environment and you will find yourself and your imagination rising with them.
Trust the Process: The Artist’s Guide to Letting Go, by Shaun McNIff.
Leaky Aquarium, Encaustic Art by me.