Creativity allows people to thrive. Our ability to make new things and think of new ideas fueled thousands of years of technological and social advances leading us to where we are today. With the rise of machines and medical breakthroughs, we stand to witness the dawn of a new Golden Age of human potential.
Fear, stress, burnout and social isolation obstruct our access to creativity and achieving our potential. Instability throughout the world creates an impression that we’re treading on thin ice, one phone call from our knees, and one step removed from a major worldwide disaster. Struggling to “hold on” to what we have with scarcity looming in the air ignites our survival instincts. We narrow our focus and become entrenched in surviving day to day.
We live in a time of many conveniences, far more than previous generations. Ironically, it seems we have less free time. The notion of fitting one more thing into our overburdened schedule may seem inconceivable.
Creativity isn’t solely dependent on the luxury of time. Facing the present, even when it includes dysfunction, can bring a burst of ideas. With the weight of routine demands on our back, we can dare to imagine possibilities, see problems as opportunities, and be willing to engage in experimenting with ideas and perceptions amid ongoing turmoil or an uncertain future.
Like generations before us, we apply years of steady hard work to design a life of predictable safety and comfort, often at the expense of our creativity. Focusing on goals and productivity inadvertently represses us. We tuck away our ideas for safekeeping, and they become frozen inside us. Youthful blazes of brilliance can fizzle and burn out. This feeling of being “stuck” is a common affliction. It’s not a healthy norm; it’s an invitation to reassess priorities and reconnect with our bodies, imagination and the broader world.
Modern cultural norms can get in the way of tapping into our creativity. We’re spending increasing amounts of time staring at screens rather than into the eyes of people. Our minds are on information overload. We have more knowledge at our fingertips than any generation before us, and yet we often seem to be missing common sense. We’re so engrossed in the little worlds within our devices that we often miss opportunities to interact with the people around us.
Personal guiding fictions create internal limits that get in the way of accessing our creativity too. On the one hand, unpredictability can lead to stress, clouding our minds with daily demands, fears, and worries. On the other hand, the safety of predictability can become stifling. It can be challenging to find the motivation or inspiration to break out of old patterns and experiment in the unknown.
Life’s ups and downs can lead to creativity plateaus. With age comes awareness, experience, and wisdom — tools to spark our imagination, reignite our passions, thawing the ice and allowing ideas to flow. Creativity can win hearts and minds, attract love and loyalty, and cultivate success and prosperity. The act of being creative can guide us past obstacles and free us from many forms of oppression.
In the spring of 1776, a group of enlightenment luminaries in Paris organized a society called La Loge des Neuf Sœurs; The Nine Sisters, known in Greek Mythology as the daughters of Memory, best known as The Nine Muses. Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire were members of the group along with diplomats, influential thinkers, artists, inventors, and scientists. They were instrumental in organizing French support for the American Revolution.
Symbols and metaphors found in Greek Myths create mental pictures, excitement, and an immersion into a world of wonder. Mythology’s metaphorical vocabulary activates our imagination and insights. As we let go of the present, we relax and our mind connects the dots. We begin to see the forest for the trees. We’re inspired to remember what we already know, but quickly forget when we’re living through the daily grind.
As an example, the word “museum,” is derived from the Greek, “mouseion” or “seat of muses.” The word flows from its origin. Muses personify the arts and sciences, paired with social connection, and a forum to exchange ideas. Today, museums are places where people come together to enjoy a public display of knowledge.
Ready to get your creativity flowing?
9 Ways to Access Creativity Inspired by The Nine Muses
1) Calliope — Journal and write.
2) Cilo — Study an aspect of history. Become an expert on the topic.
3) Euterpe — Submerge yourself in music.
4) Erato — Create opportunities to surround yourself in desirable settings; from architecture to nature. Spend time with people you love, and those who inspire warm feelings.
5) Melpomene — Open your heart to human tragedy. Let it move you and offer perspective.
6) Polyhymnia — Meditate or Pray.
7) Terpsichore — Dance or move in a choreographed way.
8) Thalia — Indulge in something that makes you laugh.
9) Urania — Stare up at the stars and ponder your place in the universe.
Enlightenment thinkers and revolutionaries understood the value of creativity. They deliberately surrounded themselves with others who shared this value. They didn’t wear blindfolds to protect their eyes from injustices, and they weren’t afraid to cut ties with the status quo.
The more comfortable we are with exercising our creativity and talking to others about our ideas and vision, the more likely we are to discover like-minded allies with a shared sense of purpose. One connection leads to another until we reach a circle of people who are both capable and willing to transform ideas into reality, creating a personal wave of peace, prosperity, and happiness.
Originally published at medium.com