mars 27, 2014

Create more, react less


I’m wondering: do you really know what you want? What you’re trying to create?

What matters the most to you? What you want to devote your might and energy to, while there is still time?

If yes, fantastic. You can fully benefit from the turbocharge such clarity provides. You can take advantage of the radical simplification that such a clear vision establishes in a life that otherwise looks like a mess (or like a Facebook page).

In my own case, such clarity has almost always been elusive, as whimsical and difficult to pin down as the Muse.

And it seems I must periodically re-clarify my vision, or soon I find myself lost in a strange forest called “my life.”

These past weeks, I’ve tried to see and formulate succinctly that which seems to be the cornerstone of my present existence. What I want for you and for other readers of this letter. What I want for the world. And for myself.

What I want to be the promoter of, the catalyst for, the instigator of. What, at bottom, I want to be in service of.

(And then in the back of my mind this thought: if I’m not “in service”, am I “out of service”?)

Why do I ask myself these questions? Because I feel the need to know the direction in which I am pointing my feet, even if my ultimate direction is arbitrary. Because I have often seen, in myself and in those with whom I work, the immediate impact of renewed clarity.

What is important?

My first answer, the one that comes immediately to mind: love.

Everything flows from that, nothing makes sense without it. Nothing else really matters, does it?

Love, and the indestructible wholeness with which, from the background, it saturates every moment, every breath, every morsel of life.


But it’s a bit too vague, too general to serve as a really useful creative orientation. Of course love, but what do I do with it, for it? In what ways does love express itself through me, through this bizarre and unique vehicle that bears my name? How does it point my feet?

In other words, what do I want to create?

Your mess is your mission

The universe has a sense of humor.

The proof: this strange but potentially lifesaving fact that what makes up our “mess” — that with which we have debated, that which posed us the most trouble over the years — is the soil from which our “mission” may eventually grow.

This is what is happening to me.

That with which I struggled the most during my 46 years of existence — the capacity to create without unecessary tension, without engaging in pointless combat with others and reality — became the most precious thing I had to share. Not that I never struggle anymore with it. But I’ve gained in freedom, ease, understanding.

I’m better (and more often) “aligned”, which lets me focus more on what I want to create, and less on what seems to be a problem.

I summed it up in these words:

Create more, react less

Reaction: The force acting on a body produces an equal action in that body. And also: Responding to an action by an equal and opposite action.

The very opposite of freedom. An external phenomenon occurs, and presto! I react mechanically in an attempt to regain my balance or my well-being.

Creation: The action of giving existence to something, out of nothing. And also: The action of organizing something that does not exist yet.


Two modes of operation

When faced with any circumstance, there are two main ways of situating ourselves, two “modes of operation”:

  • Problem Solving
  • Creative Self-Expression

In other words, we can react to what we perceive as a problem or a threat, and try with our response to “solve” it…

Or we can place our attention on what we want to create that doesn’t exist yet or exists only as a seed inside of us, and that seeks to be accomplished.

This letter, Wonder, is first and foremost a plea for creation, an exhortation against becoming hypnotized by everything that leads us to reaction.

But problems have a tough skin

I work with enterprising artists, entrepreneurs who wear their hearts on their shoulders. When they come to me they are almost always obsessed with some problem. Or two. Or three. Big problems, and very thorny ones, juicy, the kind that do not go away, that persist year after year.


Inside… Depression. Procrastination. Inability to finish what was started. Guilt. Lack of self-confidence. Anxiety. Isolation. Lack of meaning. Blockage.

Or outside… Relationship conflicts. Lack of money. A professional dead end. Work overload. A stressful or alienating environment.

And they carry in their hearts the secret shame and despair of never managing to win the fight against the problem(s).

They may well be creators at heart, but they are mesmerized by the problem and its big, glowering face.

Wholeness and creativity

Ultimately, that is what I want — for myself, for you, for others.

More creation, less reaction.

Wholeness, and the capacity to create.

It seems to me that a world populated by people thus equipped would be a really good world to live in.

And it’s a world I want humbly to help build.

May you create what you love,


photos: Bill Shupp, DerrickT, Steve took it

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