I’m not sure exactly when my awakening came, but after a certain point, I knew I was unable to live a strictly conventional life. My true self would no longer be ignored or compromised. That makes this month’s topic tricky, because the alliterated concepts of “co-creation” and “collaboration” connote “teamwork” — and I haven’t always been the best “team player.”

The challenge, as I see it, is to be able to work effectively with others without surrendering my individual connection to guides and Holy Ones, or my own authenticity. One way to view it is that co-creation exists on the ethereal plane; collaboration is its mirror on the human plane. As above, so below.

Co-creation
Several years ago, the phrase began surfacing like a mantra that we are all “co-creators” with God, the Creator. I loved the spirit of it. Its intention was to acknowledge that inspiration arises from a divine, intuitive connection; by contrast, work sprung of ego mind alone tends to be intriguing but soul-less. Problems arose when writers and coaches appropriated the phrase and tried to “organize” it. They began promulgating rules and procedures for how to co-create effectively. As Cedric wisely reminds me, “You cannot organize spirituality.”

Channeling is the co-creative vehicle for spiritual and creative endeavors. The process entails a unique and private connection between individuals and their guides. No one can circumscribe it, or dictate the right way to perform it. Co-creation is not always about reaping monetary rewards, although that may be a side benefit. Not everyone is busy “manifesting wealth.”

Lao Tzu wisely observed, “Chase after money, and your heart will never unclench.” Ideally, co-creation opens the heart, strengthening our connection with the higher self, allowing us to admit into the world a profusion of intricate, beautiful ideas and energies.

Collaboration
Effective collaboration begins spontaneously. From the get-go, prospective collaborators seem harmoniously linked in some ethereal way. Old souls are instinctively familiar with that vibration: they’ve been around, and they just don’t give a hoot. They’ll voice a clear, direct and honest opinion. Those around them of the same ilk instantly appreciate their forthrightness. Clashes of opinions, lively debates, interjections of multiple perspectives and angles — these drive all vital collaborations.

Author, editor, publisher and empath Sue Stein and I collaborated to produce my book, Creative Writing for Geniuses. We are both HSPs (Highly Sensitive People) who have largely retreated into hermitic existences: Sue has her hobby farm and critters, and I’m safely ensconced in my writer’s turret. Still, as we re-enter the final phase of revisions, the venture remains joyful. There is freedom on both sides to hurl off-the-wall observations and alternative suggestions — sprinkled with liberal doses of amusing epithets and exclamations. Sue’s running commentary — bursting forth in contrasting “ink” on the computer screen — always makes my day!

No man or woman is an island. At some point, my editor and I feel directed to bring our talents out into the world. Sue works both online and in person with authors and editors, assisting them with direction, skilled editing and publication support; she hosts writers’ festivals. I teach composition and literature at a community college and love trading ideas with my “hallway colleagues” in the English Department. Even with the occasional public foray, we strive to keep our channels open and clear while maintaining our own, individual styles. We allow ourselves plenty of downtime to process and decompress so that, when we do collaborate, our spirits are intact, inspiring others with fresh, original insights.

When I think of the essence of co-creation and collaboration, I try not to linearize them. Opportunists hear the term “co-create” and declare, “I get it: partner with God and ‘manifest’ anything I wish!” They hear the word “collaborate” and think, “Compromise!” There’s truth in these associations, but wish fulfillment is not the end point of spiritual growth. Compromise goes better with business and politics than spiritual and creative endeavors. Co-creation and collaboration involve stepping into a greater light, one that radiates brilliantly for all. Human work is thereby transformed into the joyful, purposeful indulgence of our strengths and talents for the simultaneous benefit of self and others.

Janet Michele Red Feather
Janet Michele Red Feather, J.D., M.A., is a ceremonial singer who has learned over 60 traditional songs in Mandan and Lakota and sings in nine different languages. Janet was a full-time defense litigator in California for nearly eight years. Her life changed significantly after she traveled to North Dakota in 1993 to fast and pray for a way of life. A regular columnist for The Edge, she has also appeared in Psychic Guidepost, FATE Magazine and Species Link. Her book, Song of the Wind (2014, Galde Press), dealt with her experiences as an empath, and her journey through Mandan spiritual culture. She is currently a full-time, tenured English faculty member at Normandale Community College, having taught Composition and Literature for a span of 20 years.

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