“I like the idea of free college tuition,” argued my practical-minded, dollars-and-cents husband, “but I don’t think it’s possible.”
“Of course you don’t. You’re only looking at ‘what is.’ As long as we create from ‘what is,’ we will never break into ‘what’s possible,'” said I, his idealistic wife.
The political discussion around my house is like morning oatmeal: hot, quick and regular. Most often, my husband and I tread common ground. But there are times, like this one, where we find ourselves in dispute, challenging each other to not just spout our positions, but to uncover their origins: i.e., don’t just tell me what you believe, explain why.
I can explain the roots of my political beliefs: to have a harmonious heart, what I stand for spiritually I must also stand for politically, socially, culturally and any other “ly.” So in life, as in yoga, I stretch higher than I think possible, whether I’m writing, teaching, voting or creating anew.
Creativity is food for the soul; stifled creativity stifles the soul. We are all creators and we must create. But there are two distinct ways to approach it.
First, we can employ careful observation of the world, note what has succeeded in the past, and then mix, match, and innovate from left-behind seed ideas or successful manifestations — a time-tested recipe, a successful business plan, a landmark building. This creator is clever, inspiring and innovative. But they remain limited inside a paradigm of rules, structure, history, and boundaries — not disrupting, not risking mistakes, making room for only success. But while they might make money, they don’t leave a lasting footprint: after all, how many more varieties of social media do we need?
The second kind of creator seeks within and beyond, dreaming and imagining beyond limits and boundaries. They might not have the answer for “how, when, and how much,” but they trust that the bridge they envision will manifest under their feet as they step forward. This person reaches past “hard truths” and “well-that’s-just-lifes” to spin a web never before envisioned. When Martin Luther King Jr. announced, “I have a dream,” he tapped this level of creativity. Like Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, these innovators are not content to rise to the highest floor, they break out of the glass ceiling. This kind of creator is courageous (some say naïve), refreshing (exasperating), and risk-taking (foolish). Like the inventors of the wheel, electricity and flight, this creator can change the world.
It was 12 years ago, 2004, when the movie What the Bleep do We Know!? wove its way through spiritual, and even secular, communities. This was followed by the book and movie The Secret in 2006. The encouragement from these works to “create our own reality” had my spiritual circles setting up movie nights and making vision boards, daring ourselves to name what it was we most wanted. But these movies also drew criticism for their materialistic focus — after all, can our deepest desires be snipped from magazines and glued onto tagboard? Whether this was the original intent or not (and I think not) the concepts these movies presented were unfortunately understood and employed within the context of limited creativity.
Limited creativity: how many more mix-and-match yoga classes can we stand? How many more twists on the same tired mantras? As humans evolve and transform, we require fresh dreams and unlimited creativity to carve our future. We need to push against the invisible bubble and ask “what about” and “have you considered?” The soul gratification we seek does not lie in piecemeal behind us; it waits inside and ahead of us. Anything is possible if we believe in it; nothing is possible if we don’t. To take us there, we need game changers, not merely game players.
Now, about free college tuition. While I cannot provide a final answer, I know this much: not knowing “how” is not reason enough to throw out the idea. Like the question posed in What the Bleep Do We Know!?: How far down the rabbit hole do we want to go?