Newsletter 0.0: April 18, 2020

Finding your voice through creativity, connecting, play, untravel, nano-adventure, humor and resilience.  

I spend a ridiculous amount of time researching, teaching and writing about the intersection of these subjects, and doing so is my happy place. So I’m starting a newsletter! I’ll send one out 3-4x/year and they’ll include five useful tips on creativity, play, and finding your voice. Let me know if you’d like to opt in.

1. Finding vs Gaining Meaning After losing my house in a fire in 2012, I learned quite a bit about the influence of creativity on resilience. I was interviewed in a Q&A recently about *gaining* resiliency through creativity in times of trauma (hint: it’s a lot less work than ‘productivity porn’ posts on Instagram would have you believe):

“There are no “shoulds” at the intersection of creativity and crisis. Is your productivity coming from a fairly stable place or is it stemming from a well of pure terror? It doesn’t matter either way. Just ask yourself: “what creative or playful pursuit might move the needle one number for me now?” That’s it, full stop. You can’t force yourself to magically churn out  +8 or +9 creative work, but try knocking on the door to the next level up (i.e., even from a -5 to a -4), and enjoying what happens next.

2. Online Workshop to Find Your Voice and Build a Creative Foundation Know anyone who could use a creativity boost right now? I’m leading a four-week group teaching/coaching session about finding your voice and building your creative foundation starting Tues, April 21, online over Zoom at 4.30pm PST, 7.30pm EST. Three two spots left! Email the school to add your name to the waiting list for the next session.

 3. We Are All Untravel Rebels Right Now A few months ago, I was interviewed about my book, Explore Every Day, by The Statesider, about how to elicit your braver, bolder, more creative travel-self when you’re at home. Seems we could all use a refresher right now:

Q: You say in the introduction that you think of this book as an act of rebellion — how so?

A: When you travel, you make 10,000 new decisions every day that you’d never make at home. Society says … when you stay home, you don’t do that, you don’t get out of your comfort zone. 

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the psychologist who studies flow states, says our brain has two states: conservative and expansive. We’re mostly in conservative at home: routines, safety, work, daily activity. I see it as an act of rebellion to push ourselves into that expansive mode — exploration, novelty, curiosity, risk — without having to go somewhere.”

4. Creativity Shouldn’t *Add* to Our Stress Levels Right Now As I said in the Q&A interview above, I strongly believe we don’t need to find meaning right now. We’re too busy gaining meaning which is, thankfully, far, far easier. Throughout history, our creativity got spurred mostly after coming out of triage. Here’s a fascinating pre-pandemic National Geographic article from 2017, How Creativity Drives Human Evolution, about how humanity gained meaning — slowly! — through creativity:

“Another thing is to just reflect. Look back at your week at how many times you and others around you helped each other out, collaborated, or coordinated in some way.”

5. What Do You Want to Read About? Let me know if there’s a creativity-meets-resilience topic you’d like to know more about. And feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone interested in delving 2.2% more into their creativity or finding their unique voice.