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Kick-Ass Creativity: An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers, and Creative Professionalsby Mary Beth Maziarz
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There are over 40 million people who work in creative careers. You may be one of them. Or, perhaps, you would like to join their ranks. If either of these statements is true, this book is for you. Maziarz offers a concrete program for helping you tap into and develop your creative potential. In fact, if you incorporate these teachings into your life, you can be not only creative, but kick-ass creative. Maziarz provides a framework full of fun and practical tips for kick-starting the creative process. Included are: ? An examination of energy and what it has to do with art. ? How to connect with your deepest motivations, desires, and feelings. ? Concrete tips about time management. ? How to develop a support group. ? How to get rid of those flimsy excuses that block your creative output.
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An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers, and Creative Professionals
By Mary Beth Maziarz
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Mary Beth Maziarz
All rights reserved.
A Kick-Ass Creator Lives Within You
Every day you have the potential to make contributions to the universe that no one else can possibly provide. You've got something special to offer. You're gifted, even. Creators like you share a gift of trust—in themselves and a higher source. You're one of the brave ones, the bold ones, the ones fearless enough to make huge changes and impacts on the world. You find the time that seems to elude everyone else, you believe in your visions, and you courageously stand beside your works and take the heat or applause, respectively. Let's just say it how it is: you've got it goin' on.
There are other wonderful things about you. You're no stranger to creative energy—how it flows, how it slows, how it occasionally is served by large quantities of caffeine or a new relationship. You generally feel like you get it, even if you haven't always mastered it. You've probably learned to work with (well, tolerate) your inner critic, the occasional fear of failure (or success), and funky productivity rhythms. You may have even done some energy-enhancing work, like positively affirming yourself, jotting into idea journals, and learning the value of daily clearing rituals, all with good results. It's special and rare what you do. You risk! You sacrifice! You take chances, make choices, and give the time, thought, and effort necessary to carve a place for creation into your daily life, whether as a passion, hobby, or full-time career. Day by day, step by step, you discover and embody the life of an artist. You are one who creates. Right? Well, sometimes.
Maybe you're a freewheeling adventurer who hasn't yet found the perfect niche for your creative yearnings.
And now, my creator friend, you're here, looking for something. Maybe you're an emerging or established artist seeking new approaches to finding more clarity and fulfillment in the creative process. Or you might be stuck in a rut, going through the motions but no longer feeling very fired-up about things. Or you've got some aspects of your artistic life flowing like crazy and others that never seem to reach the heights you sense are truly possible. You'll find some methods here—especially some working with focus and mindset—that you might not have seen before in other books about creativity and art. Well, alrighty then. New can be helpful. Your art depends on inspiration and resources; it's my deepest hope that through some fresh techniques, you'll soon find much greater riches of both.
Maybe you're an explorer. Maybe you're a freewheeling adventurer who's enjoyed lots of artistic samplings, but hasn't yet found the perfect niche for your creative yearnings (or you're looking for a new one). Or you might be a "never-ever" who has been preparing to spread your wings for awhile, and you're feeling ready to finally get things rolling. Well, good! There's never been a better moment to nudge your dreams to life! We'll define, plan, and pursue. We'll get you moving and feeling great about it. If you've been hesitating, you'll start wondering what you were waiting for all this time. It's easy to hold our great ideas hostage, or to talk them away until they're only things we might do someday or wanted to do once, but it's so much more thrilling to free them and watch them take flight. Thank you for having the courage to start the path of what's next. I know what it takes to step out of the comfort zone of the familiar and safe, but I also know the rewards. You will too! I'm so excited for what you're about to discover and experience.
Perhaps you work in a creative profession, and the division between your work and art has gotten a little fuzzy lately. Sometimes it's hard to know whether inspiration or commerce is in the driver's seat; this duality can certainly send you on detours of doubt and indecision. When your art becomes subject to specific parameters or business interests, its potency and passion can drain away, leaving you (and it) feeling stale. Commercial artists must deal with pragmatic concerns, sometimes to the detriment of artistic standards. Perhaps these concerns have caused you to question your identity and skills as a "real artist." In tougher moments, you may have even wryly revised your ideas of success, even as others admired your accomplishments or income. In the chapters ahead, we'll visit these paths, too, and see how to usher in fresh vitality and purpose.
Your desire to create puts you into the unique community known as artists: human beings who are willing to put ideas into form.
Or maybe you're just tired. Overwhelmed. Distracted. Disillusioned. Burned out. Maybe somewhere along the line, "real life" took over, and your artistic existence became neglected, withering away into the sorry state it's in now. You remember feeling full of ideas once—crackling with possibility—and you miss that potency. Lately you may have heard a quiet, but insistent, call to create (and perhaps even politely asked it to pipe down, please!), but it's still there, tugging at you during the brief pauses in your busy life.
But wait—maybe you're not so sure. Perhaps you're not at all clear yet on where you are and where you can go with your art. Perhaps while reading the preceding paragraphs you found yourself shaking your head with doubt about your inner kick-ass creator status. Maybe you've never felt quite that powerful (or if you did, that was ages ago and you're feeling artistically shlubby these days). Well, no need to fret. Your desire to create puts you into the unique community known as artists: human beings who are willing to put ideas into form. You may have just a glimmer of the traits described above, but that glimmer gets you in the door. It's not only who you are now, but also who you aspire to be that matters. So come on in. We're all family here. Whatever your level or genre (yep, beret or no beret), you are an artist.
And art, and artists, thrive on energy. We all know that when our mojo is flowing, we're able to create or channel or apply or connect in ways that bring our best work to light.
So let's learn about energy. Let's take a moment to see how it's already at work all over our lives and creative pieces, and how we can learn to recognize it, play with it, reform it, and make it sparkle for our most kick-ass creative process.
This all might feel very serious and classroomlike for a bit, but stay with me. It'll be quick.
In the Beginning ...
What is energy, really? It's a word we hear constantly, in dozens of contexts. We're going to define it here as a powerful, transformative force. This definition asks that we accept its nature as threefold:
1. as a fuel supply (as a source of vitality and vigor),
2. as an aid in converting ideas to form (that which helps us adapt inspiration into a piece of art), and
3. as an entity (as in, "may the force be with you").
Energy is recognized in many forms, and it can be categorized as active or potential, physical or ethereal, or even having specific anthropomorphic qualities (frantic, calm, happy). From our earliest moments of existence, we human beings are animated by the powerful, transformative force of energy.
Energy is at work in our lives from the moment microscopic cells begin dividing into what will become us. There is an intention that guides human stem cells. They hold the potential to become anything in the body (thus their value for medical research), but unobstructed, they somehow—brilliantly—divide over and over until they grow into the organs, tissue, and matter that make up our amazing physical vessels.
Our cells traffic in electricity. Every communication in the body is completed through electric impulse. Information flies across the miles of synapses in our brains and other neural pathways to the billions of cells throughout the body to tell us we're hungry, or we're hurt, or even "Oh yeah, right there!"
Our physical energy is subject to all kinds of elements around us. Circadian rhythms help set our preferred waking and bed times by referencing light and temperature patterns in our environment. Different parts of our brain set our body's idling level to restless, mellow, or anything else, and they adjust as necessary to pump us up when we might need to fly, flee, or give a speech. We purposefully ingest substances in our food, medicines, and beverages to hype us up, calm us down, strengthen our immunity, or release inhibitions. We're told to drink lots of water, and we should—hydration matters more than you might imagine. You know those electric impulses zipping around your cells? They adore the fabulous conductivity of water to keep everything running smoothly. And hydration also keeps about 80 percent of your other organs functioning properly, by the way.
We live with and manage other specific energies, too. Sexual energy and attraction can be one heck of a motivator. (Why, why, else in the world would single people begin their evenings out on the town at 10 p.m.?) Each of us holds a unique, individual mental energy and focus that allows us to concentrate for hours at some activities, and leaves us drifting off and bored (or asleep) within minutes of starting other tasks. We experience natural highs and lows in our physical energy and can schedule workouts, meals, breaks, or even naps for when they'll most effectively impact our energy in the ways we desire.
And then there's the rockin' energy of emotion. As you may have noticed, emotions have a way of providing energetic ups and downs like almost nothing else. I know that for me, at least, a bit of exciting news can get me bouncing off the walls with energy, trumping any kind of physical or mental slump I might be in. Oh yes, we'll be working in depth with our old friend, emotion.
There are more subtle parts of our physical energy anatomy as well, and they've been recognized around the world for ages (since about 2000 B.C.). Chinese medicine centers on channels, or meridians, that act as circuits through the body for qi— the energy flow or breath. Keeping qi flowing in one's body and environment is seen as critical to sustaining health, happiness, and well-being. Hindu Ayurvedic tradition calls the body's energy channels nadis, and links life-force energy with physiological processes called the five pranas, or vital currents, of heart / breath, elimination, vocal sounds, digestion / heat, and the voluntary muscular systems. Those who practice yoga or certain forms of meditation may also be familiar with chakras, energy centers located throughout the body. The word chakra is literally translated as "wheel" or "disk," and chakras are described as brightly colored orbs of spinning energy that correspond to specific body parts and aspects of one's life. Whatever we choose to call these subtle energy channels and lifeforce energies, getting them clear and flowing within us will be part of our energy makeover.
We've clearly got energy all over the place—in our cells, our minds, our social systems, even all these energetic superhighways throughout our bodies (whether we knew about them or not). But beyond the various types of vibrating frequencies that affect one's daily existence, there is something more that animates us at individual and universal levels. We are spirits. We have consciousness. We are aware. We can connect with a greater source that lifts our potential to heights we may have never imagined for ourselves. This greater source shifts us into kick-ass gear way more quickly than we ever could achieve on our own. It also holds all the energy we need to refresh and reform our creative mojo throughout the makeover process and for a full, vibrant lifetime of creating.
Will I Need Crystals?
The moment the word energy gets cozy with words like intention or source or consciousness, I know a few of you will wonder if I'm going to get all cosmic on you. Certainly, some recent works have created a mystique about energy work that shrouds it in "secret ancient texts" or mysticism. If you enjoy that type of thing—as I kind of do, by the way—well, great; it can be fun way to approach things and lend some unique dimension to one's daily rhythms. But you should also know that energy dynamics reach far beyond any supposedly woo-woo secrets: this is physics—quantum physics, actually.
Since the turn of the century, physical science has increasingly supported the relationship among energy, vibration, and the effects of conscious focus. (Strangely, we never discussed manifesting desires in my high school science classes; I imagine I might have perked up if we had.) Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity—probably the only physics theory that most of us can name—describes the relationship between energy and matter, stating that energy and matter are interchangeable. This is big. It asks us to revise our understanding of the physical world and to recognize that everything we know of is energy. Energy is everywhere, comprising every single thing! It makes up our physical selves and everything around us; it's mutable, flowing, always changing—even in the stuff around us that feels so solid, still, and permanent.
Quantum physics also asserts that everything in the universe— everything—vibrates. This is even bigger news. We are engulfed in an all-encompassing interactive matrix of individual energy fields—all day, every day, all around us, vibrations are being absorbed, emitted, shifted, expanded, and merged. (Whew! I know —heavy.)
It's kind of hard to wrap one's brain around the reality of our physical items vibrating, but I think we can find illustrative evidence of it in our lives sometimes. I waited tables in college, and again and again I noticed an interesting seating phenomenon. If patrons were offered their choice of any table in an empty dining room, they usually chose the table that had been most recently occupied. Throughout a shift, a few tables would be occupied by four or five different parties, one after another, while dozens of other tables remained unseated the whole time. Even when hostesses tried to purposefully spread patrons out around the dining room, diners would ask to move to the hotspots! Additionally, I'd find that people with strong emotional states (very lovey-dovey or aggressive toward each other, for instance) would choose tables with the same vibrational imprint as that of earlier patrons. By the end of a busy night, I'd find myself mentally referring to my tables as "chronically angry table" or "bored couple table." There were definitely vibes at work.
Things hold energy.
People Are Plugged In
How do humans fit into the vibrational picture? People generate energy frequencies into a spectrum known as the human electromagnetic field. (This is the same vibrational zone inhabited by communication devices like cell phones, radios, and televisions, by the way.) These fields emanate around us like precisely tuned clouds of energy, and they are affected by and included in everything about us: our thoughts, our things, our bodies, and our artistic instruments.
Each person, place, thing, and idea has an individual variable frequency, almost like our own personal spots on a universal radio dial.
Each person, place, thing, and idea has an individual variable frequency, almost like our own personal spots on a universal radio dial. When we use conscious focus, the clarity and intensity of our thoughts and feelings amplifies our energy field in measurable ways. Energy literally expands around us, vibrationally testing the waters nearby to determine if we'd like to engage with the energy of some other person, place, thing, or experience. Our energy speaks to us.
Finally, there are a dozen other laws of physics that support you on your energetic artistic path. Modern science accepts and avows the following:
1. Nothing in this world is fixed. (We don't need to be stuck or blocked.)
2. There are no limitations. (Our desires are not limited by circumstance, time, or anything else.)
3. There are no separate parts of the universe. (We're not trying to weave this thing together on our own; it's already all connected.)
4. Everything exists in a fluidlike form, always shifting, ever available, flowing one part into the next without boundaries. (Responses can be instantaneous and fuller than we can possibly imagine. Things aren't as linear as they look; the puzzle pieces are already put together in finished form somewhere.)
Excerpted from Kick-Ass Creativity by Mary Beth Maziarz. Copyright © 2010 Mary Beth Maziarz. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
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Meet the Author
Mary Beth Maziarz is a creative fireball. Her book will be embraced by all artists, wannabe artists, and all those interested in personal development and energy work. Mary is a professional songwriter, performer, workshop facilitator, and author..
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