Imagination is often misunderstood, defined as a fanciful flight away from reality – and sometimes it is. But there is another kind of imagination, one that is based on deep inner listening with a quality of calm presence, and a curious, open-minded focus. When images arise into that kind of spacious awareness, imagination is tapping into a source of wisdom, a type of intuition, that puts us in touch with more of reality, not less.
With deep listening, we bring our ourselves into relationship with the unknown. This is similar to the creative process, whether we are facing a blank canvas with a handful of paints, jotting notes for a speech on a napkin at the café, or in the scientific crowd, pondering how quantum gravity helps explain the origin of the universe. We step outside what we already know, send our inner critic on vacation, and make room for messy, confusing bits and pieces of insight to swirl and shift before connecting in new and meaningful ways.
Cultivating creative imagination has a powerful role to play at this pivotal time in human history as scientists around the world are reporting that the impacts of climate change on civilization and the natural world are accelerating. We need to cultivate a pragmatic form of hope by discovering clarity followed by empowering actions, resilient individual and systemic support with effective methods that support eco-harmonious change.
Last September Lori Goldberg participated in an Artist Residency in New York city. She created a Public art project titled ‘ONENESS’ Lost Sock Project. It was a collaborative project to celebrate our diversity and to create connections. Check out the video below and learn more about the project on Lori’s blog.
Each of us is born with a unique gift, an authentic voice waiting to be heard. Regardless of the work you do–artist or housewife, bus driver or entrepreneur–this creative power is your genius. Once you learn to tap into this power, and tell the truth about who you are, your life can be transformed. Find your connection between desire, creativity, and spirituality, and how together they can be forces of productivity, self-awareness, and transformation.
Margaret Atwood says in Negotiating with the Dead that writers are like jackdaws (a European crow): “We steal the shiny bits and build them into the structures of our own disorderly nests.”
Collecting these shiny bits is an integral part of the fiction writer’s craft, but most writers, including me, are somewhat shamefaced and ambivalent about the process. What if these bits are woven out of other people’s secrets? Or pieces of skeleton from the family closet? There’s an almost physical urge to use the material that speaks to you, especially once it starts to grow on its own, putting out twitching root hairs, but you don’t want to expose or hurt other people.
Nadine Gordimer’s famous solution was ‘to write as though everyone you know is dead.’ But few writers have the chutzpah to do this, or the moral certainty. For most writers, collecting material has a more secretive, illicit quality. It is gathered in the dark, kept under wraps, then released, with a mixture of pride and guilt, in what one hopes is a sufficiently transmogrified form.