Thank you Liz Heichelbech for another enlightening guest post.
That’s why so many of us teach meditation. Because when you stop thought, you stop resistant thought. When you stop resistant thought, then you let it in. That’s why we teach appreciation, because when you’re in appreciation, you are not in the mode of resistance, and you are letting it in. ~ Abraham
In all creative traditions, there are “warm-up” activities designed to get the creator out of one’s normal mind activity and into a more receptive, creative space. You pick up your art materials—brush, pen, clay, violin—and begin to manipulate them, appreciating their reality, affirming what they can do, what YOU can do. In comedy improv, you play warm-up games designed to get you present and listening, so you stop thinking too much about how to be funny—an egoic strategy that works against you every time. Dancers begin to stretch their muscles, singers do scales. In my creativity classes, we always start with warm up activities that affirm what we can already do.
“But…I’m not creative,” you might say. Perhaps you mean you are not artistic, not a non-conformist, not a weirdo, or one of the many other pejorative terms that our culture has ascribed to the creative person. Congratulations! You have just become an artist, and your medium is bull pucky.
You may not be an artist per se, but we are all playing in the world of form, whether we know it or not. Your current life situation is a result of your creative mind at work over billions of seconds, thoughts, and choices. But there’s good news: working with the “Appreciation” category of the OOTW journal is like a warm-up for the creative work of changing one’s life situation, and as an added bonus, you are enlarging your creative spiritual repertoire in the process.
Gratitude feels good, and invites the Muses to play in our lives. We are learning to use our mind instead of the mind using us. Appreciation gets the pump primed for the kind of deep change that is the result of connecting to Being, instead of our usual egoic strategies. We don’t have to be a master composer; we can let our appreciation grow and raise our vibration. This will attract the notes we desire into our lives much more easily.
The ego likes to think in black and white terms—a situation is all good or all bad. We have identified a topic in our lives that we wish to change, and our monologue of complaints is well rehearsed. When we feel stuck, we are, in effect, suffering from “writer’s block” in the blank pages of our lives. But appreciation reminds us that even within the most challenging life topic, there are benefits and gifts. If we can tap into this mindset, we can write, compose, sculpt our life in a new way.
Gratitude is a magic medium. You can have everything you want instantly, simply by wanting what you have. Like creativity, it’s a life skill upon which anyone can improve with practice. Gratitude is good medicine, and there’s no miracle like a change of heart.
But “Appreciation” isn’t just about gratitude. To appreciate can also mean to increase the value of, as well as to see a situation from many different angles. When you take a life problem and work with it in a positive light, you are increasing the value of your reality as it currently is, as well as practicing seeing your topic from a more holistic, “big-picture,” right-brained sort of way. So don’t deny your creativity. Appreciate it—the most powerful kind of art.
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