Creativity

The Liberated Life Guide: Creativity as a Practice [guest post]

The Liberated Life Guide: Creativity as a Practice [guest post]

By on Jan 31, 2012 in Creativity | 2 comments

This article is part of a series of “how to” posts on spiritual/contemplative practices. You can read the overview article here. This post was generously contributed by Lisa Renee Wilson, creator of BeingBreath ____________________________ The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. –Henry Miller Have you ever considered why you do what you do? Why you meditate (or don’t)?  Why you keep going to that job?  Why you chose that shirt to wear today?  Why you ate cereal for breakfast?   Have you ever really sat with the why? Have you continued to ask why beyond “I need to make money” or “It was the only thing I had”? Consider this: Our spirituality is our why. Our creativity is how we choose to explore that why.   We are all creative. Many of us stop believing we are because we stop asking why. We start assuming we know the way the world works.  We believe things just ‘are the way they are’.  We go to our job because we have to.  We choose Cheerios for breakfast because that’s just what we eat. I’ve recently been asking “why” a lot.  The “whys” are mostly arising from a mindfulness project I am currently running (and in which I am participating) called The Wild Elephant Project, based on the book How To Train A Wild Elephant and Other Adventures in Mindfulness by Jan Chozen Bays. Each week, over 70 participants and I attempt a simple practice in mindfulness that invites us to examine our habitual patterns. It offers us a way to creatively attempt our mundane tasks. In so doing, we often gain a new perspective…a peek into the mystery of “why.” For example, we started out practice by using our non-dominant hand for everyday tasks. This certainly created a lot of insight and forced many of us to slow down our usually-hurried tasks! This project is the match that lit a fire under years of gathered and stagnant attempts at living mindfully. It lit an awareness that not only do I want to ask why and to creatively explore my life, but that I also want to invite and remind others to do the same. ...

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Time for a Celebration — and a Gift for You!

Time for a Celebration — and a Gift for You!

By on Nov 22, 2011 in Creativity | 4 comments

This is a big week… it’s the one-year anniversary of the Liberated Life Project, and on Sunday it’s my 50th birthday. Truly, I cannot believe that’s the number I’m hitting! I’m guessing those of you who have passed that milestone know what I’m talking about — there’s a strange disconnect between how young my spirit feels and the number of years that have passed on the calendar. As I’ve gotten to know other people in the blogging world, a trend that I love is the practice of giving away things on one’s birthday. Danielle LaPorte, for example, is a master of this. So I’ve decided to follow in this noble tradition, and I’m really happy with what I’ve created to give to you to celebrate both these occasions. My gift to you is a collection of some of my favorite pieces of writing from the past couple of decades. (Honestly, I don’t think I was a very good writer before that time, so I left out all that earlier crap.) I put it all together into an e-book called “Collected Words.” And I threw some of my favorite photos in. It probably won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, and that’s fine. For those of you who enjoy writing about the intersection of the personal, the political, and the spiritual — well, this may be your cup of tea. So here you go, friends — download away: The Birthday Book [aka Collected Words] This is a free offering — at the same time I don’t want to stifle the circle of giving and receiving, should you feel so moved! So here’s a totally optional donation button below should you feel inspired to give something back. In the spirit of paying it forward, I will donate 20% of whatever I receive to two of my favorite social profit organizations — 10% will go to support Partners in Health, and the other 10% to the scholarship fund at Upaya Zen Center. And the rest I’ll use to continue to pay down my student loans, and maybe I’ll do a little something nice for myself as well. Really, though, it’s okay to just download the book without making a donation. I’m very happy...

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On Finding Your Voice

On Finding Your Voice

By on Jun 6, 2011 in Creativity | 8 comments

Sometimes I say to a poem, “I don’t have the strength To wring out another drop Of the sun.” And the poem will often respond By climbing onto a barroom table: Then lifts its skirt, winks, Causing the whole sky to Fall. —Hafiz (14th Century Persian mystic and poet) Years ago, I did something kind of insane that changed my life forever. When I was in my twenties, I was a music therapy intern at a state psychiatric hospital in Connecticut. Why I chose this as a career was a little crazy in and of itself… I wasn’t all that good of a musician, and I was fairly petrified of talking in front of people much less singing in front of them. One day, the lead music therapist at the hospital strongly encouraged all of us interns to go to a workshop at the Omega Institute in New York with a woman named Susan Osborn. The workshop was called “The Seeds of Singing.” I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I signed up. As it turned out, the five-day workshop entailed about 40 of us going through all kinds of exercises to loosen up our vocal cords but more importantly our egos. On the last day, each person was to step forward into the center of the circle to discover and share his or her unique song — a song without words, a primal sound that comes up from the root of our being. The rest of us witnessed that process. When my turn came to offer a song, I was scared as hell. But some foundation of trust had evolved over those days — trust in Susan, trust in the group, and most importantly trust in myself. I closed my eyes, took time to get in touch with my breath, found a way to override the fear that had a grip on me, and finally gave sound to the waves of emotion that were arising inside. I remember Susan coming over to me, looking me in the eyes with complete love, and encouraging me to go deeper, like a midwife helping to bring a baby into the world. All my life I had told...

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Freedom Film Festival: 12 Movies to Watch When You Need a Boost of Liberation

Freedom Film Festival: 12 Movies to Watch When You Need a Boost of Liberation

By on May 17, 2011 in Creativity, Spirit | 6 comments

Some movies touch us deeply and leave an imprint on our lives forever. Here is a list of movies that have touched my own life (along with some input from friends on The Liberated Life Project Facebook page). All of them are connected to themes of freedom, liberation, and transformation. So break out the popcorn and get ready to make a change… _______________   Living Out Loud – The story of one woman’s journey to put her life back together after a divorce, and ultimately to fall in love with herself. It’s all about freeing ourselves from fear and self-loathing, and finding who we really are. This is one of the sweetest movies I’ve ever seen – in the sense that it manages to show that most people really are kind at heart, even if they have a gruff exterior. Stars Holly Hunter, Danny DeVito, and Queen Latifah. _______________ Shawshank Redemption – A classic movie about freeing your mind, even when your body is locked up. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman play two inmates who form a friendship that changes both their lives. This is a long movie (it clocks in at 142 minutes), but there’s a reason for that length… it helps you to have a visceral sense of the patience and fortitude of the lead characters as they go through interminable days, months, and years in prison. And it makes the ending all the more powerful. _______________ Invictus – Morgan Freeman shows up again, this time to portray Nelson Mandela, who was an exemplar of a “liberated life.” Based on a true story, Mandela, who had just been elected president of South Africa, enlists the support of a soccer player (played by Matt Damon) to help that country’s reconciliation process. During his 27 years in prison, Mandela often turned to the poem “Invictus” by English poet William Henley for inspiration. This film does a beautiful job of translating this story onto the big screen. _______________ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – This movie illustrates just how much social and cultural norms function to contain us… and what happens when one man questions ‘the system’ and sparks others to do the same. I used to work in...

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