Change is stressful. Times like these can get on your nerves. But it’s during times of disruption and change that you have a chance to really grow, to activate your creative thinking and thrive. Old ways of thinking can bring us nothing but problems. Creative thinking creates the opportunity for breakthrough rather than breakdown.

The next few blog posts will explore the stimulants that energize and awaken creative thinking. Everyone is creative. Everybody has the creative spark within. Sometimes it just lays dormant awaiting activation. J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of “The Lord of the Rings”, believed we are sub-creators, following the lead of the creator God in co-creating the present and future. Quite an honor. It’s a part of being fully human.
Here are some stimulants to energize creative thinking]

Be ready not to be ready. This sounds like something that was conjured up in a pub after too many beers. But our day and age is marked by uncertainty. We need to learn to create in ambiguity. Psychologists have discovered that we live under the illusion of control. We try to control traffic jams, school choice, even the stock market. But the fact of the matter is control is only an illusion. The only thing we do have control over is our response to life and our thinking about it. Creative thinking harnesses our power to direct our thoughts channeled to the uncertainty of the creative act. There lies potentiality with a myriad of possibilities. Think of a painter with a blank canvas. There are countless directions s/he could go. Deciding to paint without knowing exactly what to paint is the first step in the creative process. Just start. Lean into uncertainty and see what wonder emerges.

Let go of what’s going away. We can hang on so dearly to the known that we miss the opportunity inherent in the unknown. Psychologists call this “ambiguity aversion”. It basically asserts that we would rather stick with a known reality than risk going into the unknown and a possible better reality. To activate your creative thinking you need to let go of those things that are keeping you from realizing a better future. Creativity has an immense power to influence the future into a better state. Think of Nelson Mandel who creatively worked in non-violent ways to connect with those who imprisoned him and bring peace to apartheid in South Africa. He let go of hate and revenge to embrace peace.
There are twelve other stimulants I will explore in the next few posts. In the meantime embrace uncertainty and chaos and let go of whatever is holding you down and keeping you from soaring.

How about you? What are some ways you are embracing uncertainty and letting go of what’s going away. Leave you comment below

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If you’re reading this it means my time on earth is done. I’m finished, kaput. There’s no more I can do anymore, for good or for ill. My existence lasted a mere 365 days. Let me tell you it went by fast. My predecessor told me it would, but I didn’t believe him. After all I’m a year. I’m a long time, right?

Now I’m done. My breathing is heavy and belabored. I used to be spry but now I’m tired.

I have to cede control to my successor; another new year.  I wish him the best. So much happens over the years. Mine had its moments. I was a part of war and rumors of war. I saw the economy sputter itself to some semblance of health. I oversaw the opening of movies good and bad. Families lives were altered, some irrevocably. Everyone grew older. I flew by.

So if I had any advice for the upcoming year it would be this (all cliches I’ll admit and obviously not exhaustive):

  • Handcraft each day to your liking, for it is unique
  • Grow deep through pain, since pain deepens us for growth
  • Eat more ice cream, don’t live so healthy all the time
  • Be a kinder person, it’s contagious
  • Love deeply. Is there any other way?
  • Let my days go by without regret, you can’t have them back anyway
  • Don’t plan too many years in advance. They haven’t come to life yet.
  • Re-imagine a hope-filled world, for the world is our home
  • Listen to the Beatles, and discover true craftsmanship.
  • Read more books, they make us more human
  • Take a nap everyday. The stats are out on it’s benefits
  • Don’t settle for mediocre coffee. Make the buzz mean something.
  • Exercise your soul. Meditate daily.
  • Live outside your comfort zone

So, see ya later and treat 2014 with dignity and respect and joy.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I have the gift of eating (don’t we all?) and enjoy hanging out with people I love. It is also a time to take stock of what is really important in life. But if we’re not careful there are some easy ways we can let the whole thing pass us by.

1. We fail to thank the most important people in our lives for being the most important people in our lives. The expression of gratitude doesn’t have to be anything fancy but it must be intentionally done and it must be deeply heartfelt. Make time this holiday to thank those important people and don’t over think your expression- that can often over ride your heart.

2. We make self-indulgence the primary focus. We can approach the holiday as a time I deserve to take care of me. Yes, that’s part of it. But we need to make ourselves available where needed and be altruistic to a fault.

3. We refuse to connect our good blessings to an eternal God. All good gifts come from above and add zest to our life. We so often dwell on the negative parts of life. That is an indication our perspective is earth bound, tethered to the temporal.

So, don’t let Thanksgiving pass you by. The day will come and go quickly but our response to it’s meaning will live on long after it is over. It’s a choice. Engage it fully and deeply or let it be just another day that passes you by.