“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” -Thomas Edison
People who don’t use their inventive abilities spend their lives tripping over various forms of junk that are aspects of their lives. Maybe the junk is a job whose moving parts have begun to rust. It might be a relationship that’s coming to a creaking halt. It could be the feeling that each day is going to be like the one that preceded it.
To be inventive means looking at that pile of junk and imagining a different way to arrange its parts. Maybe some parts have to be thrown away, and others need to be polished or filed.
For example, your primary relationship might not be running well. Imagine its elements: you, the other person, the various ways in which you communicate and work together (or against each other). Maybe the junk is resentments or anger held over from the past that are gumming up the moving parts. Maybe you’ve given up on the hope that anything can change. You might think you need a new relationship, but maybe you need a new vision.
What would happen to the pile of junk in your life if you looked at it as a potential masterpiece? You might not invent a light bulb, but you could light up your world.
Last night before I went to bed I heard an owl hooting. Since my house is surrounded by forest, this is a normal occurrence. The difference was that I listened.
This owl reminded me of an improvising musician. Its basic theme went like this:
It experimented with several variations, and with each it seemed more and more pleased with itself. The hooting got increasingly enthusiastic. I was reminded of Walt Whitman’s, “Song of Myself”:
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
That’s the beauty of creativity. When we connect to the pure knowing of our inner beings, what we express has the potential to transform the world.
Recently I listened to an interview with Carol Look, who teaches EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and who has created some very useful teaching tools in audio and DVD form.
In the interview she described how, if you’re in a negative mood, you can shift your focus. Some of the methods she listed were petting your cat or dog, taking a walk in nature (which can include a city park), and listening to music you love.
This may sound simplistic, and I’d rather say it’s simple, by which I mean easy. Because of its ease, simple methods for changing one’s mood get overlooked. We are so trained to believe that only the complicated and difficult methods can help us change our lives. That’s another way of saying we must struggle and suffer so that we appreciate the achievement of our goals.
The trouble is, after a long journey of struggle and suffering, we are often too exhausted to be appreciative. We’d rather take a nap.
When we, instead keep it simple, we’re able to enjoy the journey. The purring cat or tail-wagging dog, the pleasure of watching birds fly, or the pure enjoyment of music you love are their own rewards. When we change our focus, we aren’t waiting to be happy. We are happy and ready for more.
What could be more creative?