Creative Control: Two Big Lies

iStock_000023270428XSmallSometimes in the course of the day, I observe my tendency to take hold of my life and try to control my way through it. Whether I’m trying to make something happen that I really believe in or to keep something from happening that I think is bad or wrong, I close my fists around life and try to have my way with it.

Have you ever noticed that the more you try to force your will on life, the more your desired outcome avoids you? This approach breeds a sense of urgency and desperation that drives you farther and farther from your own true place in the creative process of living. It’s a feeling that if you don’t make it happen, nothing will happen. Big lie. And one I tell myself way too many days of my life.

There are two fundamental principles in creating the life you want. One is receptive and the other is active. Yin and yang. One is about being open and receiving the unforeseen gifts there in every day. The other is about taking hold and making the most of what comes. One without the other is an incomplete system, like a hand that closes but won’t open or opens but won’t close. It doesn’t work.

You are not in control of the creative process. You have a responsibility for how you engage with it, but you’re not in control. The more you close your fists, the less you allow life’s creative energy to flow through you. At the same time, if you only open to receive without structure, and nothing remains. Does this mean you don’t have to work at it? Oh, no. That’s the other big lie.

Life flows like water, seeking the openings to give it direction. How would you hold a sip of water in your hand? Squeeze too tight and you squeeze the life out of it. Open too wide and it will all slip away.

To hold what flows, stay open and give it structure. Show up every day. Set your targets. Then set them aside and focus on what’s in front of you. Don’t think about the past or the future. Just do the work. And then go out with your friends in the evening.

To learn more about the active and receptive principles in creating your life, check out The Wheel of Creativity on Amazon or sign up to get my monthly Creative Adventure Journal over there on the right.