POD #3: You are a creator, not a reactor
Whatever you’re here to create, I want to suggest something to you: that you can’t operate in full-blown create mode and reaction mode at the same time. Staying in reaction mode is another way our internal resistance to our own creative destiny shows up.
When we are in “react” mode, we’re focused on what someone else is doing. More accurately, we are focused on what someone else did at some point in the past. There are times in life when we have to do that, for various valid reasons.
But in “create” mode, we’re focused on minding our own business, focusing on our own emotions, our own thoughts, our own actions. In create mode, we’re focusing on our now, which is the only point in time we have influence over our future.
How does all this strike you? Does it resonate? Does it spark anxiety? Curiosity? Does it freak you out?
How do you feel about this suggestion, this idea that you are a creator, not a reactor?
I invite you to write freely about what you might enjoy creating.
I really enjoy Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 day Writing Challenges. As I read the introduction to today’s prompt, the above quote jumped out at me. Perfectionism really slows down my creative process. When I can turn off that reaction, it is much easier for me to get my creative juices flowing regardless of what I am working on.
For example if I am trying to create solutions, my best work is down just brainstorming ideas to the problem. When I start trying to decide what will work and what won’t I immediately begin to shut down my creative process. I want the perfect solution, so I stop thinking about all possible solutions.
When I am writing if I get focused on the perfect words flowing on to the paper, I become more concerned about correct spelling and word usage instead of just allowing myself to get the thoughts out onto the page. It is an editable document, unlike if I handwriting the words on the page. Yet my mind sees the misspellings or the wrong word and I naturally have to correct it. This reaction causes me to lose my train of thought, and I have to refocus.
It takes me so long to quiet my soul to be able to get into create mode. I have to get through the list of to-do’s that run through my head, then the distractions and the random silliness that populates my thoughts at times. If I am not careful, by then I get one sentence out and something else is demanding my attention. I am so reactive to the environment around me that I can go days and weeks without creating.
I believe that I was created to create. I was made in the image of God. He was most definitely a Creator, not a reactor. So how can I react less, and create more? How can I move past the idea that things must be perfect, when I know in reality they never will be?
I am learning to be mindful of the here and now. Focusing on what was in the past is of little help, I can not change the past to make it perfect. The words spoke can not be change. The thoughts formulated have passed. The actions done can not be undone. And the opportunities missed can not be regained. I also can not spend too much time on the future, which I have little control over. I have little ability to orchestrate the people and my surroundings to create a place of perfection where my creativity, and theirs can flow freely. I have only right now.
I have this moment before me, I can either seize the moment or spend my energies reacting to the environment around me – internally, externally or both. I can stop allowing the illusion of perfection to keep me from reaching my full creative potential. Instead, I can pause and center my thoughts when I start facing distractions. I can turn off the editing feature as I write and focus on getting the words out and then taking time later to edit and finish my writing. I can allow the thoughts to formulate and not judge the outcome but just let them flow until they stop, and then pause to evaluate. I can keep pursing creativity in the face of fear and insecurity.
And when I do give in to reacting, I can allow myself grace. When I find myself stumbling over the desire for perfection, I can get back up and try again. Creating has to be allowed freely, and picked back up wherever I have sat it down. Yes, there is a time for rest, but creating is part of my true nature. It may not always look like I think it should. It may take revision and even complete scrapping and starting over, but just like everything else, I can begin again. It starts here.
What do I want to create? A place where I can freely express myself. A place where I belong. A place where others may want to join in also. A place where I can put my thought, my emotions, my dreams and plans into action. A place that challenges me to not settle for where I am, but to strive to reach my full potential. A place where I can encourage others to do the same.
This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.