India Retreat

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Monthly Theme: Creativity

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Welcome to July.

Our theme this month is Creativity. What do you think of when you think of the word Creativity?

For me, creativity conjures up a bouquet of words, feeling and images. Images of my daughters and I making crafts on a slow summer day or creating delicious food. The feeling of gratitude and presence flowing to make art. I imagine space and time giving way to inspiration. Creativity is focused and patient. Part of what I’ve noticed inhibits my creativity is my haste. Haste lacks compassion in a very pitta-like, re-active way of doing. Creativity is a sensitive and powerful way of being.

Creativity is the power to see things in a different way. There is a parable from India telling the story of a group of blind men, who have never come across an elephant before, who learn and imagine what an elephant is by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant, describing an elephant by the part they are experiencing. A tusk, a tail, a limb. Each one has a limited experience of the elephant, claiming it is the whole. When we are creative, we can move beyond our limited physical experience into other possibilities.

Creativity is an integral part of healing. It allows us to move in a new way, to make changes, to transform our relationship with dis-ease. Creativity can see our dis-ease as a part of our experience, not the totality of who we are. The yoga sutra 2.33 says that when we are distracted by obstacles, we should contemplate another point of view. When I first read this sutra, I thought of it as “Fake it until you make it.” My teacher, Jnani Champan, taught me this as the most important sutra in yoga therapy. I like to think of this idea as ‘creating a bigger wave.’ If waves of negativity surround you, create a bigger wave of positive emotion. If you are caught in personal trauma or the trauma of the world, rewrite the ending. If we imagine it, we become it. As the opening story points out, our imagination may be closer to the truth than our experience of reality.

Creativity is important to imagine a new way of being, relating, and overcoming obstacles for change.

Here are a few ways to practice Creativity this month, and I’d love to hear what else you do!

Creativity on a Physical level: Play in the garden, make art, cook meals with a lot of color. Color around the image on the paper. What else could exist is the space around it? Move your body in new ways, making spirals and mandalas in your yoga practice.

Creativity on a Mental/Emotional level: Yoga Sutra 2.33. If you have been focused on one perspective, focus on another. What is a bigger positive wave? This is your creative mental power.

Creativity on a Spiritual Level: Feel supported in the blank space of the page. Practice finding support in the space of inspiration. Like the magic markers that we used to paint over blank pages to reveal the colors.

Trust in the support of the unknown, the hidden potential of Love.