“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
That’s my son’s school project up there. He wanted to recreate the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang. So we ordered a lego mold and bought some clay and he got to work.
One of the most amazing things about the Army is that each soldier is different. And my son wanted to honor that, so he took his time and carved a different face on each one. And different armor. Some went headless. Over 60 tiny soldiers in all! And seeing him deep in the process of creation got me to thinking about what it means to create.
To paraphrase Darwin: Creativity comes in endless forms most beautiful. Life is creative. We are beings that create. Out of the chaos we assemble some humble arrangement from the constant motion and swirl of the multitudinous building blocks of the universe. We tremble at the power that is ours, but when we are brave and we reach out and grab a tiny bit of that universal clay and begin to mold it, something magical happens.
WHAT DO YOU CREATE?
What does that even mean? Create? Does it mean that if you are not actively engaged in the creation of some kind of pure art that this does not apply to you?
Of course not. We all create things everyday. We are the architects of our own reality. If you look deep into the inner workings of the world as both science and religion have tried to do, a picture of the universe arises that is at once very simple and beautiful and yet frightening and chaotic. We create the world that surrounds us through the choices we make. We create each and every day by stepping out into that next moment and spreading our being far across the field of existence where it mingles with all of the other potentiality that lies there.
This is what life is. Creation. This is what life does. Create. This is how life imagines itself. Through creative play.
It takes creativity to learn how to become ourselves. It takes creativity to remember who we are. So what do you create is a question laced with innumerable possibilities and one that I hope touches a place deep inside of you and resonates outward.
WHAT DO YOU CREATE?
A home? A garden? Good people? Photographs? A business? A table? A website? A book? A shirt? A connection? A song? A boat? An engine? A scene? A hybrid? AI? Energy? Love?
I like to think of myself as creating any number of things. Creating is the lens through which I view the world and its workings. Some days I am better at constructing than others. Some days I am focused and true with my aim. Other days I wander without direction and wonder if what I have created has any value at all. Some days I am sure of myself and some days I am not.
What I am sure of is that only in the process of creating will we find purpose and meaning. We do not find meaning in the idleness of consumption. Yes, we all need downtime and rest and there are many ways that we can spend that time and none is better or worse than another but when we find ourselves too comfortable, the motor running idle for too long, we stagnate. We lose that sense of becoming, we either feel as though we already are or we will never be.
But we neither already are or will never be. We simply are. Everything that you need to create is present within you right now. Whatever clay you feel the need to shape can be acquired. But the creative part, that sacred part that lies within your core/center/heart and resonates beyond your own self is there waiting for you right now in this moment. So breathe and exhale. Close your eyes and allow the full expression of your true nature.
It is all too easy to let the external forces of the world that we imagine are holding us back to become a wall that separates us from our creative genius. But that wall is only an illusion. It is only a construct of our unwillingness to do the work that matters.
And no one outside of ourselves can tell us what that work is. Each of us is called to walk our own path and use our own special and unique talents that are a wild mixture of everything we have ever known or experienced all bundled up and waiting to be expressed.
WHAT WILL YOU CREATE?
First, at the very core of your being, you must listen to the voice that already knows what you want to create. One of the things at the top of my list is good people. I want to teach my children to be good people of the world. Kind and giving. Fun and loving. And I try to do that by example. Yet there are days when I do not live up to the creator I wish to be. Creation is a messy business. But I know that each day is another chance to do better and so I reach back out into the void and summon all that I know is within me and jump off the cliff again and develop my wings.
I am creating these words through an amazing array of tools that have been created by others over time and now these creations are allowing me to reach out over any number of miles and create a feeling inside of you. What am I using to create? Language, letters and symbols. My hands, a keyboard and a computer. Zeros and ones. WordPress. Email. Facebook. Twitter. The Internet. Your eyes and our imagination.
We are creating this experience together. There is a commonality to the world that can not be overstated. We are creating this together. This is the eternal dance of creation – that you and I will create together the world that we inhabit. Still, we view ourselves as separate beings living in separate houses. But without each other we would have nothing. Without community there would be no continuation. We all create for any number of reasons, but they all involve a deep and profound realization of our connectedness.
When we share something that we have created with another human being there is a connection that goes beyond the idea or thing that we have shared. There is a connection that reminds us that we are not alone. We are on this journey together and we all have a place. And we all have a purpose.
WHAT WILL YOU CREATE?
Imagine you are someone who makes clothes. What are you creating? Are you only creating a pair of pants? Or are you creating confidence in the person who wears them?
Or maybe your are a teacher. Are you creating tests and quizzes or are you creating wonder and possibilities?
We are not all the same. We all come from different places and have different gifts to offer, but we all share the same building blocks of creation. We all have the same capabilities to create amazing things that have never been witnessed before.
We are always creating something, whether we are aware of it or not. The ripples flow in all directions. But in order to create what is authentically ours, it takes conscious effort and a willing heart. It takes a fearless leap off of a cliff, knowing that we have the power to create wings on the way down.