Creating on the Edge

18 Feb

In yoga, teachers often tell students to push themselves in a stretch only to the point where it is just starting to hurt. One is NEVER to push to the point of true pain for that defeats the whole purpose. Instead, one is told to go just to the edge of where the muscles aren’t used to being stretched and to use one’s breath to ease into new territory. In essence, this is a balance between surrender and will.

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In therapy there is a similar concept referred to as “titrating the anxiety”. This describes when an individual’s anxiety begins to increase because he or she is on the brink of a breakthrough and growth. It is a process of adding an unknown element to a known one and seeing how the two ingredients settle. Yet the resulting degree of anxiety shouldn’t be so intense that it creates terror or paralysis for that serves no one.

These concepts have vital correspondents with the creative process, for in creativity, we want to have a degree of freedom and ease, yet take the necessary risks to excel and grow. Creativity demands that we walk along the edge of the unknown. It takes us into new places, which can scare and inhibit us, as well as delight us. We become like Dorothy, at first terrified by stepping out of one’s comfort zone. Then we start to see life in technicolor as we journey through Oz.

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We live in a society with a common mindset that success results from pushing ourselves to the point of collapse. This of course is the death of creativity. Instead, we want to strike that beautiful balance between rest and motion, and stability and chaos. We also want to recognize when it’s time to slow down and refuel, so that we have the energy, courage and conviction to take new risks in the future.

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