Learning something that has been created and creating something are in some ways as different as driving a car and building a car. But since none of us are likely to build a car, that may not be the best metaphor... How about this: developing creativity is like growing a rose. While it is important to focus on the rose - pruning, cleaning, removing an aphid - the real success depends on the things that are not a rose - the soil, sun and water.
In this way, focusing directly on your art (the rose) may sometimes be of no value in terms of creating new material. It is exactly what happens with creative block, no matter how hard you might push, nothing comes.
The soil, sun and water in this analogy are the mind, heart and body. By focusing on these process, and working to improve their fluidity and vitality, the conditions improve for the growth of the rose. That is why when creativity is rolling, it feels so effortless, since the supporting conditions do all the work.
If you want to move ahead, try immersing yourself in one or more of these critical supporting energies: read nothing but cheap novels for a week, learn to write the lyrics to your favorite song in Ogwalla, or as my daughter just did, blindfold yourself for two days and carry on as normal. Do something really strange! Learning in these areas is like increasing the fertility of the soil, the warmth of the sun and the purity of the water. Take the confidence and newness from the experience straight into your art, and watch for indications of spring buds :-)
If you want some hands-on immersion, consider taking my workshop this fall at Royal Roads University in Victoria.
This Fall I will also tour to support my third solo recording - Acoustic Psychedelic Chill. I had been waiting for years to record these pieces, and this Spring it came together and I am happy to be able to offer it. Hope to see you in the music!
All the best,
Video: Nic Vandergugten's great videowork of a piece from the new CD
Video: Laburnum Films documentary 'Playing Music as a Spiritual Practice'