A few people have asked me how I come up with my ideas for the The Caliverse that I write on a regular basis. I haven’t ever tried to lockstep a process and I am cautious of trying to do so. To me it’s like trying to distil the essence of love as if it were some sort of jus to be served up with a good rib eye. No good will come from putting process onto some things. However, I am aware of a stream of creative stimulus that is constantly available to me, which I will try to describe.
I turn to that Pixar classic Finding Nemo for an illustration. There is a scene in that movie where Nemo’s dad, Marlin and Dory encounter the turtles riding the great East Australian Current. They ride the flow of the waters to the next place they need to be. I see creativity in this way – a stream of ideas and creations that is waiting for me to slip into and collide with new connections. And that stream is right there beside me and has always been there. It’s there by you too. The trick is knowing how to slip in and out of this current.
Maria Montessori was the first female doctor in Italy. She also has to her credit the creation of a system of education for children that revolutionised how teachers and children interact in the transfer of information. One of her techniques involves what she called the normalisation of the child. It’s an antiquated term for a phenomenon that occurs for children (and adults) where they become lost in the moment of the task at hand. Time transmutes and they are absorbed in the experience of what they are working upon. Normalisation is a key process that must be inculcated in the child in order for them to successfully integrate themselves into life as an adult. We are normalised when we are mesmerised by the moment, consumed by the task. Loving learning and doing.
I don’t know about you but I have this experience often. At times I am so absorbed in an activity – reading a book, watching a program, enjoying a conversation, colouring, exercising, gardening, cooking, writing, meditating. It matters not, but when it happens time changes its pace, my attention moves its focus and I am pulled into a world that is not of this world. This is my happy place. It’s the current of life and all the possibilities of existence are all present in this space. The longer I allow myself to be in this space-time continuum the more I become surrounded by a multitude of connecting thoughts and patterns.
This is where I think I go to in order to make sense of life and integrate all I experience. I formulate the patterns of my life in this zone. I remember as a child my mother used to call me dozy. I used to mentally space out and visit Planet Cal. Because there was such criticism for this doziness I thought it was ‘just me’ and that it was something that was wrong with me. Let me tell you though Planet Cal is magnificent. And I am convinced we each have our private creative planets and they all are beautiful beyond compare.
The Ancient Greeks referred to genius as a guiding spirit that some people could access and in so doing have expansive lives. They also had the Muses – these nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who preside over the arts and sciences that choose people to inspire. The Muses were elusive and enchanting. I also have Olivia Newton John as the archetypal image for the Muse in my mind thanks to that Xanadu. I think people like to make creativity sound exclusive as if some are chosen and some of us simply can’t be creative. I think not. This is too narrow a definition.
Some of you will be swimming in the creative current of iridescent splendour already. Others might visit occasionally. Some might not yet realise that they tap into it but don’t know they are doing it. Your dreaming takes you there. Other artists hold your hand as they guide you there. Love lifts you there. Laughter transports you there. You can be there in any instant. It is quite simply your next thought if you choose it to be so.
When you jump into that powerful current of genius know that you will be swirled around in all the greatness that has been thought and created before. It all can be re-thought and re-created in a way that is unique to you. You have a duty to give this insight to the world and no one else is capable of doing this like you. You cannot rob the world of this.
I don’t think we all need to be Oprahs and Donald Trumps. Some gifts we have might only be required for a few around us. Some of us may have gifts that must be given to many. But give them you must. The world doesn’t need two Oprahs and God knows we don’t need two Donald Trumps. One of each of us is just perfect. And the world has a need for each of us.
Please find your gifts. Be proud and humble of these treasures and more importantly be generous with them. Scatter yourself upon the world. Let your genius cascade across others like the stars above us. As it is above so let it be below.