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….it is work that fulfills and makes you come into wholeness, and that goes on through a lifetime. Whatever the wounds that have to heal, the moment of creation assures that all is well, that one is still in tune with the universe, that the inner chaos can be probed and distilled into order and beauty.

–May Sarton

This month we focus on creation. Creation, just like completion, is a practice. It is a skill that can be developed over time. Unlike completion, we have a lot of societal expectations about creation: what it is, who can create and what the output looks like.

Many of us believe that only artists such as Michelangelo, George Gershwin, Alvin Ailey, Christo or Toni Morrison are creators. Maybe you believe that only professional painters, musicians, performers or writers hold the space of creation for all of humanity, and the rest of us, including you, are somehow not creative.

We say not so. We are all creators in our own right. How we parent our children, prepare meals or start our entrepreneurial ventures are all examples of creation in action. But many of us are confused about what exactly is creation. We think creation is the same thing as creativity, and if we have decided we are not creative, then it follows that we cannot create. We all have the power to create. Creation is a process that includes imagining a vision of the future, setting intentions for that vision and learning how to communicate with the universe (or God or some other larger force) so you can ask for help in achieving that vision. Once that’s been done, you can let go, be grateful and wait.

I am interested in what fosters creation. What practices are necessary to allow for creation itself to arise? For me, creation on any given day begins with how I completed the day before. Here is my ten- to thirty-minute end-of-day completion practice:

  • Look back at my calendar and ensure all promises from the day are handled or at least captured.
  • Look ahead one to two days to see what is coming and what needs to happen for me to be prepared.
  • Put away all project and client files and make sure my desk is relatively clear—on Friday’s I try to have my desk impeccably cleared.
  • Declare my workday complete.

As we wrote in The 7 Laws of Enough, language has the power to shape our world. I find that in our 24/7 work worlds, declaring my work complete is a powerful creation practice.

Other practices that foster creation and creativity in me are:

  • Sleeping well and waking up on my own with no alarm or rush to get showered and dressed. Again, that starts the night before with my getting to bed by 10:00 p.m.
  • Keeping away from all screens for at least the first thirty minutes of the day.
  • Limiting my input from media to certain times throughout the day. I don’t have notifications from the BBC, etc. pinging my phone every few minutes.
  • Planning my week. I find that structure fosters creativity for me.
  • Receiving information on the latest in my industry from a wide variety of sources.

For those of you who know me well, you know that when I need an immediate creative spark, I make my famous fifteen-minute collage. This practice has served me well over the years. Here is a link for instructions on how to collage.

Last month I offered completion questions to end the year. Here are creation questions to start the year and create your life:

  • Do I know what fosters creation thinking?
    • If yes, am I willing to make this practice a priority?
    • If no, am I willing to explore further? (see below)
  • What do I really enjoy doing?
  • Am I doing enough of what I enjoy?
  • What would it take for me to awaken refreshed and eager for the day?
  • Where am I holding obligation in any domain? If I am, can I drop the obligation?
  • Do I have space to be alone with no input and just be?
  • Do I listen when my inner voice speaks its true desires?

If you are stuck and don’t know where to begin, here are ways to get started:

  • Paint, draw or create a collage or some other visual art creation.
  • Listen to a guided mediation.
  • Start a memoir.
  • Take a bath.
  • Eat dark, rich chocolate and take a half hour to do so. Do nothing else.
  • Drink hot, herbal tea while sitting quietly. Feel the hot liquid fill your body.
  • Wander through a museum.
  • Read poetry.
  • Sing in the shower.
  • Create a book of inspiring photos.

Creation isn’t hard; it just takes practice. We humans were designed with the power to create: to create life itself; create story, which is the framework for all human understanding; create new ideas; create physical structures; create beauty through art, dance and music. We can take what is already given and create something completely new from what is freely offered, including a new mindset.

Try it! And then tell us how you created.