My Creative Process

I never know where the inspiration for my next blog post is going to come from. Every time I sit down to write, I have a brief moment of fleeting panic. A voice I have recognize as my self-animosity chimes in a few defeating words that usually sound like: “You won’t think of anything good to write. Nothing you will write will help anyone. You can’t figure this out. Blah blah blah…”

At this point, I have learned to listen to my inner voices. I recognize that they exist, I identify what they are saying, but I do so from a neutral stance where I am detached from their wants and desires. By acknowledging the voice, I understand what it is I truly want (and what I do not) and can act accordingly.

The next step in creating a meaningful blog post is silence. This is probably my most difficult stage of the creative process. I often try to push through this stage with thunderous brainstorming and cunning wit. I try to force ideas out of my consciousness. I know that they are in there and that I have access to them, but I am entering the wrong key in the correct lock.

Wouldn’t want to live here.

This process is like building a house without a foundation. Whatever ideas I forcibly gather will not stand up to the winds and gravity of my self-criticism. Much like the house pictured above, my ideas will crumble. I may even formulate a topic worth writing an entire anthology over, but it will lack the luster of its origin. It will be separated from the area from which all creativity spawns.

In this creative space, the secrets of the universe are whispered. All information can be heard in this space. Yet much of the time we are talking (or thinking) so loudly that we cannot pick up on this quiet voice. Silence is an essential part of the creation process.

After being silent, I find that ideas begin to grow. It is subtle, palatable feeling, like hanging static electricity just before lightening strikes. The smallest movement occurs and my thought is guided by something other than myself. It is here that the next challenge occurs: letting this motion take its course.

I seem to be obsessed with weather today.

In order to let a creative thought manifest, it must develop on its own. There are certainly stages where I can manipulate, personalize and expand on its creation, but in its first established moments in the physical real estate of my brain, I find that if I tamper with its progress, it never matures to its fullest potential.

In gardening, when sprouting seedlings, it is most beneficial for the new plant to remain in its seedling habitat until it has reached a stage of maturation where it can physically sustain a transfer to a larger pot. If one moves the seedling too soon, the stress of the unnatural process will harm—if not destroy—its growth. This is parallel to the birth of a creative process.

“Let me grow!”

After allowing a firm stability, creativity will hand itself over to its environment. In the case of this blog, I am now harboring the creative potentiality that was given to me from the source of creation. I can now play with it as I like, typing this word or that word. Yet, even in this process, I am subject to creative severance.

The moment I attempt to claim this beautiful creative process as my own, I begin to lose it. As I begin to take stock in the idea that these concepts and words sprang from my thoughts, the flow of their existence begins to clog.

As many spiritual teachers have told their students, the wisdom from their mind is but an extension of the greater mind. Serving as a channel, rather than the “source” is the best way to transmit creativity. A mother is not her child, but the vehicle that brings it into this world.

Be the channel.

The last stage in my creative process is being grateful. I have not always been capable of accessing creativity. There were many times when anger, addiction and fear limited my ability to know creation as I know it today. I also realize that tomorrow never holds any promises. Yet more than all of these things, the actual process of creation keeps me in awe, and for this I am eternally grateful.

Giving thanks brings forth not only more opportunity but also a deeper understanding of my place in this world. It humbles me, carves out a deeper capacity for silence and ushers in a self-less attitude.

Creation is truly sublime.

Thank you.

Evening in Manhattan

We walked through the crowded city streets. Water floated in the air, neither falling nor climbing, merely hanging. I imagined this suspended rain to be the home decor of one whose head lived in the clouds. It would certainly be a dreary way to experience life, constantly running into droplets of water.

As we made our way through the East Village my head swayed on its swivel. 695 was the magic number. We’d been searching for this Japanese place for only a few minutes, but it was unimaginably difficult paying attention to addresses. All we wanted to do was laugh. But alas, we were stuck searching for numbers in a sea of words. Or at least it would seem accordingly so, despite the widespread lack of numerals found on the storefronts and frontdoors of the buildings on 5th Street.

720. Damn. We turned around and laughed some more. We agreed we’d have to pay attention now because we were both beginning to crave supper. We counted down like a dyslexic couple on New Year’s, celebrating loudly at 695. I opened the door for the lady and we took our coats off. The place was small, but obviously upscale. The decor was modern and the lines along the walls stretched symmetrically, further than the eye cared to see. Immediately, the comforting aroma of homemade miso made its way to my nose. I smiled and looked for the waiter.

A taught, strict, and ponytailed Japanese man seated us in our recently assembled “custom” table. No more than a wedge behind the cash register, our seat was a semi-obtrusive, lane-blocking last minute addition to an already skinny restaurant. We didn’t care. In fact, we laughed.

The meal came and it went. Descriptions were unnecessary because really we weren’t paying attention. All we wanted was a plane ticket to anywhere, a trip for an evening, maybe a few days. Just some respite from the city. The lonely city filled with millions. We could relax. Joke. Even banter. We gawked and criticized, poked and profiled. We took in all the sights. By the time our check came we were one foot out the door, money tossed on the table.

I held out my arm and she threaded it like a needled. We swayed up and down the avenue. Hideout to hideout.

It wasn’t ever about the destination. It was always about the ride.

Guru

Meet Guru.  Eight weeks young and full of life.  We have only had him for two days now and I have completely fallen in love.  I am so consumed by his amazing energy that I cannot even fathom another topic to write about.  He is a Shih Tzu and is very adventurous.  He is bold, playful, very smart, and loves milk.  He makes the entire apartment come to life and does the same to everyone he meets.

It is incredible the power a young puppy has over the emotions of random people. My girl friend and I took Guru for a short walk around the neighborhood — it was as if Guru was strolling down the red carpet of a Hollywood premier — and everyone had something to say.  For the first time in a while, I remembered the uncanny ability animals had for evoking purely genuine responses.  The reactions to Guru told me so much about the people we met.  Their emotions ranged from sheer happiness to bitter jealousy to even being threatened.  I was in awe at the cathartic abilities a 3 and a half pound being had over the minds of random people.  This pure, innocent puppy was eliciting unfiltered responses from an otherwise layered and protected world.  It was as if his identity of absolute truthfulness made it impossible for others to act insincerely.

It made me think.  Does absolute truth always summon absolute truth?  If so, how can we as humans create a world where everyone is held accountable based on the principles of truth and authenticity?  My answer starts within.  As I purify my identity, I will encourage others to do the same.  Leading by example will always trump preaching.  I hope that when you read any of my blogs, the candor of my words reigns more powerful than the content.  Writing is of course the art of sincerity and its power lies in the writer’s ability to genuinely transfer his or her thoughts into vocabulary.  The more I write from my heart, the more content I am with my writings.  I also see it fit that the truer I am with my self, the more integral the people in my life become.  Creating a community of integrity and love – which is the same as absolute truth – starts with the self and will spread to others.  Changing the world has never had such grass-root beginnings.

And just for the record, the happiest person Guru and I met was a man who made his living collecting other people’s recyclables.  His smile was as big as guru.

Food and Consciousness

Two subjects that completely engulf my life.  The majority of my time is spent between the two, if not both simultaneously.  I have long since been a spiritual student searching for higher states of consciousness.  I am also a culinary professional learning the art of food.  It seems only destined to find the balance that lays between my passions.

I am perfectly certain the relationship between the way we think and the way we eat can create a better world.  Even more so, it is absurdly ignorant to deny that this relationship affects world as it is today.  Food has lost its origins, not just its pastoral origins or its nutritional origins, but rather its ethereal origins.  The meaning of food today has become sustenance at worst and sensuous at best.  It is almost forgotten that through food lies the connection between our bodies and the energies that sustain us; the world we live in.  Food is a reminder of our simultaneous connected existence with the earth and everything around us.

As with most conceptual disconnections in today’s world, the foundational story has been lost.  Food has been conquered and its bygone divinity forgotten.  I remember the practice of monotonously repeating grace as a child before family dinner, never understanding its meaning.  The stories of grace reach back into Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and many more.  Each equate food as a means to connecting with God.  These stories hold a very important message.  Food is heavenly; food is consciousness.  Treating food as a divine gift would create magnanimous reverberations throughout all societies.

The way food is processed, commoditized, consumed, and wasted all indicate the harsh manner in which it is perceived.  Think about how much would change if our perception of food was one of respect and grace.  Monocultures, pesticides, GMOs, farm suicide rates, food miles, hypoxic dead zones, modern agrobusiness, famine, food-borne illnesses, obesity, “fat diseases”, pharmaceutics, and the list goes on, would cease to exist.  If food was created, used, and perceived through a higher level of consciousness – one that recognizes it supernal quintessence – then everything that dealt with food would inherently spawn from that state of consciousness. Each of the negative, aforementioned areas would replaced with a higher alternative.

This subject is my life’s work.  Much work is to be done, but I am grateful I have found my calling.  I believe that I can change the world by changing the way we understand food.