Tips for parenting a creative child

Creativity is not just a talent for painting, building, dancing, performing et cetera. Creativity is an exercise to expand our minds an into possibility.

Therefore it is important to understand exactly *why* we want to keep access to the arts for our children. Both at home and at school.

* I personally believe it is the responsibility of the parents to properly value the arts in our children…..not only the schools.

By elevating the importance of creativity at home by loving parents we gain far more influence on our kids than if it were done at school. Creativity is critical to develop and nurture the whole mind of a whole child. It is important to help our kids to expand and explore the very best possible version of who they were designed to be.

Mind. Body and Spirit.

Art, therefore, is not about producing a product. Art is about producing thinking. Critical thinking. Fearless thinking. Expansive thinking. Helping our children develop skills to navigate ambiguity and master complexity on their own. To help them learn how to adapt fluidly from challenge to challenge.

It would be an added bonus if our educational institutions properly valued the arts, but we cannot rely simply on schools to grow our children thru their watertight budgets and barely findable arts programs. It can and should be done at home.

How?

Parents and grandparents can become a full-time arts commissioners. Incentivize specific artistic expression at home and then reward the behavior. This exercise will help them expand into imagination and then contract into execution. And, Then they are compensated. Our children migrate toward that which they are affirmed for. Affirm their own unique problem solving, imagination and creativity.

“Sweety, if you write me a special poem about why you love your mother – I will take you out on a special date with me for a treat of your choice”

“Hey buddy, if you paint me a picture of what you want to be when you grow up – I’ll take you to go do an activity of your choice like Racing go-carts or playing putt-putt golf”

Choreograph a dance. Design a logo. Sing a song…..

You decide the idea, the art form, and the reward. Then broker the transaction. (What activities or treats light them up?) Then step back and watch their minds expand into imagination. It is also important to not critique the execution or final outcome. ——-> because it is the actual process of developing their own unique creativity and problem solving that is most valuable. Process over product.

sometimes their product is fun too. 😀

Become a full-time art commissioner and enjoy the adventure.

*artwork on stairwell from rural community in Peru

The art of technology

Information is not knowledge, and knowledge is not wisdom.

Advances in technology have given us unparalleled access to information. However, as the implementation of social, mobil and cloud automation increases – our connectedness to true humanity decreases. Anything that can be automated….will be automated. We need to quickly & collectively realize that access to information is not understanding.

For any information to have understanding, emotional intelligence must be activated to effectively filter meaning out of the data.

We can have “knowledge” – e.g. the logical conclusion from processing information, but it is only thru interaction, and human empathy (the ability to place oneself in another’s experience and have compassion for it) – that we reach “understanding.” Data can tell us the analytics about hunger and poverty, but unless we have had communion with the poor – we don’t understand it.

Technology can be profoundly advantageous & prolong life, and it can also be a dangerous impediment to empathy, compassion and wisdom. We must be cognizant of how we allow automation and technology to interact in our lives.

EQ > IQ

This should be taught in school. Now.

Are we controlling technology or is technology controlling us?

Be connected. But, Be aware. Be compassionate. Be human.

Artwork by EZKstreetart in Paris

Choose Joy

                                    

Our world is filled with horrific violence, senseless injustice, suffering, anger, selfishness and pain. And at the very same time our world is also filled with majestic beauty, humble servants, courage, loyalty, celebration, unity, peace and joy.

But we have a choice.

Pain and suffering is very real. But unless we find a way to transform our pain we are doomed to transmit it. Life is difficult and sometimes tragedy feels like it far outweighs simple joy. And we have a right to be outraged in the presence of injustice. But the recycling of anger and pain only creates more of the same.

Choosing joy is extraordinarily difficult amidst suffering. But choosing joy is not a whimsical bumper sticker…It is a battle cry for the humanity of our soul.

         

                      choose joy linked

The Alpha-Beta of Meditation: A Story of Transformation

The Alpha-Beta of Meditation: Accessing the ‘Third Force’

This is a story of transformation—from chaos to peace, from perceived strength to true strength. It is how a simple shift in my behavior made me more creative and improved my productivity. It is about moving from an “alpha” state of being (high intensity awareness, focus, execution, contraction) to a “beta” one of calm, cool, relaxed, and expanded. And if it sounds like this is a sales pitch, it is, in a way, except you don’t need any money or equipment or even a dogmatic belief system. You just need to open yourself to a new possibility of being.

 

BEFORE, IN THE ALPHA

I’ve always known of meditation, of course, but hadn’t ever given it much thought. I understood it to be some kind of belief system for other more “holistic” people.

 

BEFORE, IN THE ALPHA

As an alpha-male achiever, I thought meditation basically involved sitting cross-legged and humming. I didn’t get the value of that, and instead, focused on organizing my work and slaying the immediate tasks in front of me.

 

BEFORE, IN THE ALPHA

It was far more natural for me to push myself to work harder and go faster than it was for me to slow down and contemplate. Somehow, being busy had become a badge of honor for me as a “man of action.” Acceleration was the answer to every problem. Sensory overload only existed for weaker minds. But simply working harder became a clutter of confusion when my art and other creative output did not go exactly as I had planned. My emotions have always been a powerful source of inspiration, but they could also become a prison of anxiety when they were not controlled, causing me to lose perspective. That, in turn, affected my work, my relationships and my own state of well-being.

 

My own false narratives resulted in anxiety and unattainable idealism. All my personal frustrations were manufactured from the one-dimensional projection of my own cognitive biases.

 

I was addicted to order but my life felt chaotic. Something had to change.

 

THE TRANSFORMATION

 

I have been married to my wife, Tasha, for 20 years. Several years ago, she began to explore her own practice of meditation and contemplation. I admired her, but didn’t have time or space for meditation myself. I operated in a dualistic mindset of being awake and working or being asleep and not working.

 

But as a results-oriented achiever, I noticed that Tasha experiencing something entirely new. She was lapping me when it came to her creative flow, her ease of being, her peace of mind. I wanted some of that.

 

I asked her to lead me on my own journey that would enable me to access the beta state of meditation. It was difficult at first because I was used to conquering what I wanted. That is not what meditation is. Meditation is the art of letting go. I would fidget, get bored, worry if I was doing it right. But over time, I released my self-imposed constraints and began to slowly expand my mind. By methodically building my own disciplined practice of meditation I became aware of a dynamic “third force.”

 

This third force was neither awake nor asleep; i was a transcendent state of both. Eventually, I realized this state allowed me to reframe a problem without a dualistic “black or white” solution. It expanded my consciousness and opened my mind to new ways of thinking.

 

NOW, IN THE BETA

Meditation is the foundation I use to deconstruct my creative process, increase possibilities and explore unexpected solutions. It is a connection of my mind, body and spirit that fuels my creativity. This disciplined practice has become not only my oasis within, but also the single greatest catalyst to amplify my creative output.

 

NOW, IN THE BETA

Before I go on stage, I sit motionless, alone, without distraction. I relax into a space of expanded consciousness. I access my deeper desire to be authentic, raw, vulnerable and transparent. I surrender my ego. I use deep mindful breathing to find the heartbeat of the audience, the energy, the rhythm of the ambience of the molecules in the room.

 

As a result of my meditation discipline in the last two years, my performances have dramatically improved. I didn’t change the discipline of my research, rehearsal or content. I simply changed my state of being before I take the stage.

 

Now I am far more relaxed and connected to my audience in a meaningful way. I let go of the need for my presentation to be an impressive lecture filled with knowledge and actionable content, and latched on to making it a real authentic audience experience. I am tuned in to the crowd and their responses in a way I never was before. My show has become a dynamic process of exploration and adaptation that we share.

 

NOW, IN THE BETA

My thoughts feel more like a beautiful new language that is less rational and more metaphorical.

 

My mind is able to access an alchemistic mental state, in which I can absorb ideas and deflect distractions at the same time. It feels much more like I have unlocked a key to becoming more self aware or emotionally intelligent.

 

I am much more calm under pressure and more resilient to stress. I am able to both expand and contract. Dream, then execute. Imagine, then focus. I am able to see a bigger picture in mind while reducing clutter.

 

Now in my meditation, I am moving forward, yet not toward a finish line. There’s no “winning” or status to attain. It is the disciplined practice of boundless curiosity that opens me up to being willing to fall again and again without ever giving up. And that, ironically, feels like winning.

Alpha-Beta of Meditation

The Art of Goal Setting

The starting point for success is desire. Desire is much stronger than just “want to” it is the inner drive/strength that make your dreams come alive. Set a goal that is exciting to you. That serves as your alarm clock and makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. Allow this goal to be your compass.

A compass is designed to help you find your way again

All goals are achieved twice. First, conceptually in your mind(visualization) & then physically in reality (execution).

Begin with the end in mind. Visualize a painted picture for what you would like to improve about yourself or to accomplish. Imagine something you would be personally proud to have mastered within the next 365 days and vividly envision what that feels like?….what does it look like? With whom are you most excited to share this accomplishment. The more detail you add the more real the goal becomes.2015 wahl website 6

Research shows our resolutions often times fail because we did not anchor our goals into a painted picture that we believe in. Goals are simply a burden of check lists if the bigger picture is not in sight. If a coach simply requires her squad to run 50 sets of stairs, she may face resistance or opposition. But if the coach first paints an inspired picture for what it feels like to win the championship at the end of the season, the team embraces the hard work and enthusiastically bounds up the stairs.

Allow your goals to become your compass, not a map. Your “true north” pointing you to a destination. Life is dynamic. You may drift. You may stumble. You may lose your course. If you use a compass instead of a map you can get bumped off your trail but still auto-correct to find your groove.

Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure and setbacks only serve as motivation.

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