Season 1 Ep 3: Creative Virtues Part 1: Commitment

Host Orna Ross delves into the first of four Cardinal Creative Virtues: Commitment. Discover the pivotal role creative commitment plays in the process as Orna unpacks how selection, intention, and creative conditions fuel creative success. Learn how to harness the power of commitment to transform your creative desires into reality and understand the role true wants and their fulfillment play in achieving your fullest potential to make a difference.

Read the Transcript to Go Creative! Podcast #3: Cardinal Creative Virtues Part 1: Commitment

Orna Ross: Hello, creatives and creativists. Today, what I'd like to talk about is what I call the cardinal creative virtues.

Now, I don't mean virtue in the sense of what's morally good or anything like that. I mean it in the sense of what is good and useful qualities. The characteristics, the behaviours, the qualities that are actually good for a creative or a creativist to develop. The parts of our character and the parts of our behaviours that actually show we are developing in a creative way, becoming more creative, applying creativity more often.

These are signs that is happening, but also conversely, by actively encouraging and fostering these qualities in ourselves, and taking the steps and actions that do that, we are automatically going creative. We're automatically entering the create state more often. We're automatically creating more of what we want to create in our lives.

We're understanding more how important these particular qualities, virtues, are in our lives, and we're actively engaging with them and developing them in ourselves.

There are a few of them, and they all begin with the letter C by coincidence. So, I'm going to talk about some of them today.

There are four at least that I feel are super, super important.

The first one is commitment, and there are two different aspects to that. The second one is compassion, and the third one is celebration. So, each of these are really important and they interlink and work together. Then the fourth one is all encompassing. It is essential for the other three to be activated and to be part of your world and your life, and that is courage, creative courage.

I'm going to focus particularly today on commitment, creative commitment. The importance of commitment in the creative process.

As I said, there are two different aspects to this. On the one hand, I'm talking about selection. So, actually choosing what it is you're going to create, how to do that wisely, and we'll go into that in some detail today, but then also commitment is about commitment to creating the conditions that allow you to do what you set out to do.

So, there is the selecting of what you want to do, which is a matter of creative intention, understanding and so on, and then there's creating the creative conditions that allow you to do it.

So, every year we have people who make New Year's resolutions and they're going to do this, that and the other. I'm not even going to list them; you know what they are. You've done it. I've done it. We've all done it. And within a week, they're gone by the wayside.

Very often, that's because they're vaguely expressed in some cases, their yearnings are not creative intentions, they don't have much weight behind them. But also, when they do, and they're sincerely felt, but still don't succeed in happening, it's usually because we haven't got the creative conditions that allow it to happen.

So, that's a whole dimension of your creative commitment that needs attention as well. So, let's dig a little deeper into that.

Looking first of all at the first one, which is the actual selection. So, creativity is actually about selection. It's really key because, yes, the same process that creates one thing creates everything, and yes, that process can be activated to create anything you truly want. I really honestly do believe that. Anything, yes, anything, but the point is not everything.

So, the key word here is truly, what we truly want. It's about selecting that, and creativity is a process, first of all, of selection, of taking out those true wants and understanding a little bit about what lies underneath them, a little bit about why they're the things that we are actually choosing, or in a lot of cases, they are the things that are choosing us.

So, as babies and children, we follow those wants, we want what we want. We howl if we don't get it. We've just come into this world with a fierce almost, but certainly a determined enthusiasm to naturally follow our heart's desires, and as we do that, we grow and we develop and we move from being an infant, to toddler, to child and beyond.

Then we hit adolescence, and at that point the world begins to retract the indulgence that it allows to younger children, and it begins to tell us that we can't have everything we want. Often it feels like it's telling us we can't have anything we want. We're coming under a lot of pressure to fit in, to be normal, to want what everyone else wants, or what our elders or betters think we should want.

Along with that, sort of expectation of conformity and what it does to the human spirit, along with that comes the props that we need in order to conform with what we're being told we should want. So, this is where alcohol, drugs, sport, maybe, creative outpourings into your diary. Whatever it is that helps you to cope, and cope with the expectations of the world that it's putting on us.

By young adulthood, depending on what is around us, and depending on our experiences as children as well, because not all kids are given free reign, and we know we're only beginning to grasp the extent of the abuse of children and young people in our worlds. So, much of that has been swept under the carpet, and in one way, you could say that nobody ever has a trauma free life. Life is imperfect. People are imperfect, and we can experience that to various degrees, and some of us to the most horrific degrees.

So, all of that is going on and by young adulthood, even if we're not talking about those sorts of extremes, many of us will still have lost touch with that simple following what we want, getting what we want, wanting the next thing, and growing through that process. We've lost touch with it. We don't even know what we truly want anymore, or we're suppressing what we want because we're ashamed of it.

All of that leads us into whirlpools of anxiety and denial, doubt, fear, guilt and worse, mental illness, obsessive compulsive disorders, self-neglect, self-harm, sexual obsession, the list goes on.

We continue the pattern that we've been, again, even if we're not into those types of things that are happening at one end of the spectrum, even if we're in the “middle range, normal life”, very few people are actually in touch with their own wanting and feel at ease with that.

So, work hours are traded for money and then, with the best of our energy expended for the day, in our leisure hours we're consuming entertainment, TV or movies or games or social media or extreme escapism or porn or getting out of it on drink or drugs or acquisitive sex with other people or whatever. Anything that numbs and soothes the creative longings that we no longer dare to acknowledge in ourselves.

You see our societies where people are actually, their bodies are clearly displaying this consumerist sort of approach which has replaced the creative approach. We flick channels, fall for ads and scams. We eat foods that has no nutrition. We feed our minds with the junk that has no mental or intellectual or emotional nutrition either, and all the time we're yearning for what I call the faraways, our imagined ideas of what we need to free us, to set us free.

So, it could be winning the lottery, or it could be marrying the right person, or telling our boss what we think of him or her, or looking like a Kardashian or whatever, insert your favourite fantasy. It's a fantasy. It's something that replaces a true want. We're yearning still, but we're just not acknowledging that yearning. We don't know how to give it to ourselves, and in a sense, our wanting, our natural human wanting is going to waste.

So, it's pretty sad, really, and there are many forces that are telling us to smother and suppress our true wants. Religion and spirituality is definitely one of those. It tells us we should be better than we are, not want what we really do want. But we live in a material world, and we are all born as children of longing. We're all born from want, an egg and a seed which engaged together in the darkness of the womb, all of us were conceived in that way. No matter how your parents met or merged, even if you were conceived in a test tube, the moment of creation comes out of the desire of other human beings, and we don't know, and we don't really want to think about what desires fired our being in that way. They might have been physical or emotional, could even be a longing for transcendence, but even in the least auspicious circumstances, conception comes out of a need that underlies other needs, perhaps. It's always got the need for love and to be loved at heart, at base.

Since that moment of your conception, you have been led by your longings and by your own wants, and life unfolds through what we want. We see it very physically early in life, the pull of birth, the first breath, the snuffling for the mother's breast, all of these the early wants, they're there, we come into life with them.

You could say that wanting is the great universal force that pulls you into being, drives your development. It leads you onwards, and has done through your first solid food, your first steps in the world, your toys, your teething, your growing pains, and again as we spoke about earlier, the raw ardour of adolescence where wanting becomes almost too big for us to handle, all the way into these more contained needs of adulthood now.

So, I suppose the point I'm trying to make is we all want all the time, and we always will, and we need to recognize that. We need to acknowledge that, and I argue strongly that we need to lose all shame and guilt for wanting what we actually want. Wherever we are is where we are.

What is different when we go creative is we know how to do that. We accept our own wanting. We know how to mindfully observe it, and observe not just the want itself, but also the underlying creative energy that underlies the want.

So, we know enough to be able to distinguish a true want from a craving or an addiction. We can carry all of those simultaneously, but when we go creative, we bring our awareness to that.

So, as well as knowing what's there, what's actually truly there, the true wants that are within us, we know how to connect with our own creative capacity and to ignite the create state that we were talking about last time, how to immerse ourselves in that, and how our own creative process works.

So, it's the three of those together. The acknowledging the true want and knowing it and seeing it for what it is in all its dimensions and the ability to connect with our own innate creativity, our own creative energies, our own creative capacities, immerse ourselves in our own creative flow and the conditions that create that, and thirdly, understanding how our own process works, its tendencies, its strengths, its particular way of experiencing resistance. You bring all of those together, you become almost like an unstoppable force.

So, going creative is riding that want through the seven stages of the creative process, through the barriers of resistance, over the hurdles of challenge, and all the way to completion.

When we do that, when we get there, we have that moment, that wonderful, beautiful moment when what we have, what we wanted, becomes real, materializes, manifests, appears, whatever word you want to use for it. But we will still want, a new want will come up to replace that.

So, it's not just about that moment, when it is achieved, when we have it and we hold it, though that moment is always worthy of celebration, it's also very much about all the other moments. The actual process of wanting and activating our creative process, activating our creative state.

Those moments are every bit as significant and every bit as important when you go creative because it's the process itself.

So, the question is never about wanting less. That's a step towards shrinking, a step towards death, you could say. The question really, is this a true want? Is it a creative or a consumerist want?

Consumerist wanting wants everything, but creative wanting is selective. Consumerist wanting tends to bemoan what you don't have. It tends to notice lack. It tends to be focused on what's not there. Whereas, creative wanting focuses on making what you don't have, and thinks of it as, I don't have it yet, and enjoys the process of the actual making.

Consumerist wanting can ignite feelings of lack and scarcity, as I said, but also when it is experienced at intense levels, we go from just that, sort of, I don't have feeling into a feeling of separation from the rest of the world, maybe jealousy of people who you feel you have what you haven't got, on happiness because you're not in touch with your own creative abilities, and so that turns into despair, depression, sometimes addiction, physical and mental illness, as we said earlier, sometimes self-harm and sometimes even suicide because the sense of lack and separation is so much bigger than the sense of what is present and the ability to create.

Creative wanting is the exact opposite of that. Creative wanting will give you feelings of fullness and abundance and connection, and presence in yourself, happiness and flow. All of this feels good. You experience physical and mental well-being and sometimes, again, at the other end of the extreme, it can be a blaze of bliss and enlightenment, and the most wonderful feeling of self-actualization.

So, it's a spectrum, but the point is, at the creative end of the spectrum, things feel good. There is a selection of what is you shaped, shaped like you; reflective of you and your values and who you are. Whereas, at the consumerist end of the spectrum, we're seeing the death of the spirit; the death of the soul does not feel good.

It's little wonder really, it's leading to the death of the planet or at least the human race on this planet, and that's not surprising. So, consumerist wanting leads us towards death and destruction, and creative wanting leads us towards life and construction, creation.

So, we're all, as we've said a number of times already on the podcast, as I've said many times before, and will say many times again, we're all always creating, whether we know we are or not. Sometimes we're creating consciously, sometimes we're creating unconsciously. We all have those dimensions going on in us all the time. There's no such thing as the unconscious or the subconscious. These are just dimensions of mentality, dimensions of awareness.

Some of the things that we want and desire leads us to conscious creation or unconscious creation. Some of them are cyclical. The desire to, let's just say, have a drink of water. Just because you drank water yesterday doesn't mean you won't get thirsty today; it's a cyclical want. It comes round and round.

Others are one offs. Once they're satisfied, that's the box ticked and then they're replaced by a new desire and a different want. So, we finish a degree, and we never want to see the inside of a lecture hall again. Now we want a job that uses the degree, as an example.

So, that's how it happens when the process is flowing and unfolding as it should. But as we know, this process, we can get stuck. We can want things and fail to make it happen. We can push one desire over and over again, and not even recognize sometimes that it's become compulsive or obsessive consumerist. We can play small where we don't actually admit the full range and expansion of our desires, or we can refuse to play at all. We can deny that we do want what we do want.

We can be deflected by other people's desires or what they want of us, or we can be so removed, and this is not unusual unfortunately, we can be so removed from our own dreams and desires that we don't even know what we want. We don't know what they are. We've forgotten how to dream. We've forgotten how to want.

All of this comes from one source, ultimately. We don't know how to consciously create. We've lost our ability to do that. So, we had it as children, we don't have it anymore.

The important thing, I think the most important thing, if we find ourselves in that situation is to understand that we can reclaim that ability, that we did have it and it's innate within us. It's still there for us, we're getting in our own way.

I really truly believe that embedded in every desire that we have is the power to make itself happen. In other words, we wouldn't want it if we weren't supposed to, and embedded within the desire, however unlikely it might feel, however huge or overwhelming, it might feel, embedded in it is the power to do it.

If we go with that, if we don't get in our own way, if we allow ourselves to tap into the energy that it generates and let it carry us through, and don't bring the mental and emotional blocks that we talked about last time, the con state where we're in conflict with our own selves.

So much about learning to go creative is first unlearning. Unlearning the things that we have been taught to do in a consumerist and conventional society.

That is about intentionality, about recognizing those desires and then creating an actual creative intention around it, and that is what I mean by commitment.

Then I mentioned that the second aspect of commitment is the creative conditions.

At the time where we realize what our creative intention is, and I will do an episode specifically around creative intention because intention itself is the igniter. It's the first stage of the seven stages of the creative process and it is the one that sets up the energy for all the rest. So, it's a really important part of conscious creation, a really important part of going creative.

Once we understand what our creative intention is, then we also, at the same time as we're focusing on its creation, we are also focusing on the conditions that will allow us to encourage it and nurture it along. That comes down to things like time and space, and also our own level of awareness.

Indeed, the thing that I spoke about, the quality I spoke about, that pertains to all the other virtues, the courage to create, the courage to choose what we actually want, and then the courage to take the time, spend the money, claim the space, tell other people, be who we are, own our desires. All of that takes courage.

So, I'll talk more about that the next time and also the other creative conditions, the other creative virtues of compassion and celebration. Again, each of these has two different components. Compassion is about compassion for yourself; self-care, self-love within the creative process, but then also for others, and others being whoever it is you want to receive whatever it is you are creating because it's never just you, it's always about some other people.

Then celebration, the importance of celebrating every step of the creative process, as well as the outcomes, which is all wrapped up with appreciating the journey and the learnings as you go, and then the emotional and spiritual courage to take all that on board.

All of that for next time, but for now, I hope this conversation about the importance of true wants and how they underwrite our creative intentions has been useful to you. Till next time, have a great week, and don't forget to go creative.

Bye, bye.