Cheryl Richardson – The Art & Science of Living a Creative Life.
As Richardson pointed out in the opening of her morning keynote, the person she was almost a year ago submitted the topic for the conference. Now, almost a year later she struggled to connect with who she was then, as do all those on a journey of transformation. To bring herself and the entire audience into present time, Richardson led a short centering exercise. This was a recurring theme during Richardson’s presentation, to be present in the now. Richardson is a successful CEO and author; her site can be found here.
She addressed the inner conflict of having these two types of voices within, the CEO and artist, but explained that we must give each a seat at the table to resolve inner conflicts, to successfully experience life rather than conquer it. Richardson also expanded the understanding of “artist” not just to mean painters, sculptors, poets, etc. but also those who are artists of process and organization, of carrying people in their vehicles safely from one location to another, of service and of healing. No matter the art, when we honor the artist within and let creativity shine we are connected to the Divine, allowing the deep feminine into the world, and touching the collective spirit. Each of us longs for that connection to the Divine but it gets crowded out within us by the ‘noise’ of responsibilities, rules, and other people’s voices.
On the journey to give space to that creative voice we sometimes have to let go, even though we’ve been trained to hold on. She does warn, however, that usually there is a gap between the time when you let go of “good” to make space for “great,” and when the greatness arrives. This is a time for faith and patience as a spiritual practice! However, this belief and space is necessary for the connection with your creativity.
On a practical level, financial instability and insecurity holds us back/ distracts us from expressing the Divine. Even though Richardson enjoys her daily interaction online with other people, she spends little time on social media sites and prefers to focus on being present in her actual life. This resonated for me as, although I appreciate the virtual connection possible through social media, more than once I have thought Facebook is eating my life, and pushed myself back from the screen. Richardson also asks us to examine the overspending and consumerism that keeps us locked in debt and distraction. In addition to finances, Richardson encourages listing other things that distract you from what your soul truly wants to be doing. For things like tasks you are not good at, or interested in completing, there is now technology to support the soul, such as www.taskrabbit.com, and www.freecycle.org.
Finally, Richardson asked us to consider the following three action items:
Be determined to be present. Set a 10 minute alarm and choose a word to focus on for that 10 minutes per day, like ‘peace,’ ‘joy,’ or ‘love.’ These 10 minutes of focused concentration will help you center in yourself and come into the present.
Handle your distractions (per the list you made, mentioned above).