On Grief and Creativity

Last July my father passed away. It was very sudden, and not expected. Until that time, the only other deaths that I had experienced were that of my grandparents. Not the same thing. The grief that came, and still comes, from my father passing away was and is profound.

Since that time I’ve been exploring my grief. All grief, past and present. And, it is the past grief that is buried deep within that is just now coming to the surface.

Exploring grief this way is not negative, or bad. Actually, the opposite is true. Though painful, it is a very positive experience, and therapeutic.

Just a short three years ago, however, I would not have, could not have understood the words just now written. I was disconnected from that part of myself, so my grief laid in wait.

Exploring my grief as I have this past year, has also opened up a new space within me for more creativity, which is a byproduct of increased clarity. With more clarity, you see the world in a new way, realizing that much more is possible than you previously thought.

Though grief is heavy to carry around, when you dig into it, explore it, and come to terms with it, you have an opportunity to create more possibilities out of such grief. This site and blog post are a perfect example of such possibilities

A light bulb, so to speak, goes on when you confront, examine, come to terms with, and eventually let go of your grief. Though a novice at “grief work” I do know through experience how it feels to work through your grief.

As I’ve written in other posts, the only way to really understand something, is to experience it. Talking and thinking about it is not doing it. You must go into your grief, feel it with all of your senses, and examine the underlying causes of such grief. It is then that you can experience increased clarity and creativity. At least, in my case that is how it has worked this past year.

It seems to me that there is a whole world full of grief due to the current COVID-19 health crisis. Grief that is present for some, becoming present for others, and will be future present for the rest. Either way, to experience sadness and grief during such a time, is necessary and needed.

Before shelter-in-place was put into effect, I was experiencing my grief in the solitude of my drive to work. Probably not the best context for such release, yet it worked for me. Now that I’ve been working from home these past two months, a new pattern, or habit has developed. Prior to the development of this new pattern, however, I recognized that I was ignoring my grief, both past and present, which caused more frustration and anger.

Noticing such anger and frustration was the first indicator that I was denying a part of myself. With some guidance, I then intentionally created a context where I could go into my grief and stay there for longer periods of time. What was once a 20 or 30 minute exploration during my drive to work, has become two-hour explorations on the weekends.

These explorations have yielded many insights, some about past experiences where grief is still present, and some about present experiences where greif is very new. Working on the grief is the same, regardless of when the events that caused such grief occured.

Working on grief, and the associated creativity and clarity that come from doing such work, are part of the same system. A system known as humanness. It has taken me a very long time to get to a point in my life where there is an awareness, and an experiential knowing, around topics such as grief.

And, though I am a novice at grief work, I know that taking that first step is what matters. Just like anything else we choose to do. Will you know what the results of such work will be? No. However, do we ever really know how something will go that we choose to put our focus and attention on? I don’t think so.

The result is not the point. It is the process of taking action. No matter what action you take, whether it is grief work, making changes to your diet, or anything else you choose to put your focus and attention on. The process is the same. As many people throughout history, and across multiple cultural contexts have written – life, and all that we choose to do, is about the journey not the destination.

#clarity, #covid-19, #creativity, #death, #grief, #human-development, #psychology, #self-development

Creating and Maintaining Relationships: What else is there?

Is there anything else in life besides creating and maintaining relationships? Not sure? Well, let’s take a look.

We know that humans are social animals. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert matters less than the ultimate knowing that humans need and depend on other humans. That is a fact.

If right now you are saying to yourself, no, that’s not true, I am independent, and self-reliant, always have been, always will be. Okay. Yet, think about your day. How many times did you interact with someone today? Did you go to the grocery store? Did you get gas, or stop by a coffee shop?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you have been dependent on another human being today. Factually, we make it through very few days where we don’t depend on another human being for something.

Take my week. Though we are in the midst of a massive health pandemic, and I only got in my car two or three times, I’ve been in constant communication with the team I work with, went to the grocery store twice, and got gas once. Not to mention all of the walks I’ve been on this week, and the random people I’ve said hello to, and interacted with.

We are drawn to each other, and need each other.

Understanding that humans are social animals, and are drawn to each other, creates the realization that developing new relationships, and maintaining the ones we have, are two of the most important things we do on a daily basis. Not only are we drawn to, and dependent on each other, we also grow through each other.

These relationships, such as acquaintances, friendships, peers, colleagues, familial, romantic, all of them, are one of the ways we grow. Growth starts with the individual, yet quickly moves out in a concentric circle to include the aforementioned.

Fostering these relationships then becomes very important. Often, however, I feel like we take them for granted.

The need to honor the relationships in our lives is of utmost importance. As is, acknowledging those around us that help us grow, even when the relationship is difficult. Maybe, especially when it is difficult. As I have written elsewhere, it is in the most uncomfortable situations that we find the most growth. And, building relationships is no exception to this rule.

As you embark on this weekend, remember that relationships are all around us. We need not limit our thinking about our relationships to only those people that are close to us, for the relationship you have with the person that serves you your coffee, or fills your tank is also an important relationship in your life.

#creativity, #freinds, #human-development, #psychology, #relationships, #sociology

Finding Comfort in Being Uncomfortable: Part 1

There are countless quotes, books, and movies about “living outside of your comfort zone.” What this actually means, however, is open to great interpretation, and, I think, changes for people over time. How you view the idea of living outside of your comfort zone is a product of how you were raised, how you think, the context you live and work in, and those that you surround yourselves with.

Further, the idea and actually experience of a comfort zone, and the corresponding uncomfortableness that comes with being outside of it is different for everyone. As there are over 7.5 billion people on the planet, we can actually say that there are over 7.5 billion different comfort zones.

Growth is the byproduct or result of living outside of your comfort zone. In fact, the only real growth there is is found outside of your comfort zone. There is never any growth inside of a comfort zone. This may seem like common sense, and it is, however, most people have a hard time realizing this truth. Why? Simple. If feels really good inside of our comfort zones.

Who would want to intentionally create situations or contexts that challenged this comfortability? Really, not many. Most people are perfectly content inside their comfort zones. Yet, if these people were to examine themselves on the inside, they would find that this contentment is covering up other issues.

Sometimes being outside of your comfort zone happens unintentionally, which can happen when we are faced with a very stressful situation or life event that we didn’t see coming. If we are open to it, there is also growth in these experiences.

Learning how to find comfort in being uncomfortable is manifested by doing things that we find uncomfortable often. When we are open to getting outside of our comfort zones often, there is a comfort that comes as a byproduct of the continual practice of being uncomfortable.

As with most everything else, it takes practice to realize this kind of comfort in the uncomfortable. By practice, I simply mean creating intentional contexts that we find uncomfortable, and engaging in these contexts until they no longer feel as uncomfortable. Ultimately, until they feel comfortable.

If you are reading this and thinking, nope, not me, I like my comfort zone and have no need to create intentional contexts of uncomfortability. Very well, that is your choice.

If, however, you are thinking, maybe, or yes, sign me up. Then go out and do one thing today that you’ve been avoiding or putting off because it makes you feel uncomfortable, and see what happens.

If it’s anything like the many experiences I’ve had, yes, you can count on being uncomfortable. Yet, you can also count on that experience providing you a whole lot more, which is only possible by doing things that you find uncomfortable.

Until next time….

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#being-uncomfortable, #comfort-zone, #covid-19, #growth, #human-development, #intention, #life-events, #psychology

COVID-19 and the Art of Possibility

Possibility: Noun – a thing that may happen or be the case.

I’ve been thinking more about possibility this week. What’s possible in our new landscape? Are the same things possible today, as were possible 6 months ago? Not sure? Me either, so let’s take a look.

The Art of Possibility is about creating a context. A context specific to new ways to think about old and or new problems or issues. It is about letting go of preconceived notions of what is possible in a given situation.

The psychology of possibility is rather simple. Let go of the past, be in the present, and create the future from where you stand today, seeing reality as it is. Not how we think it is, rather how it really is.

Seeing reality as it really is means being aware of our thinking patterns, and knowing when we are limiting ourselves by presuming or assuming we know all there is to know about a problem, issue, or situation we are faced with. Facutlay, humans know very little – if you don’t believe this blogger, read a little Socrates.

The sociology of possibility involves creating traction with those around us in the art of possibility. As I’ve written elsewhere, humans are social animals, and rely upon connections with other humans. It is only natural then that groups will function in accordance with the language they use to describe their shared reality. If that language is about limitation then limitation is what they will see and create. If, however, that language is about possibility, then possibility is what they will see and create.

The possibility of possibility is about remaining open to new ideas, new understanding, and letting go of the notion that we know. Seems simple, yet can be difficult, as human beings are in some ways programmed to think they know more than they do, which is where vulnerability comes in. Being open means being vulnerable.

Be vulnerable today in some way. Create and share a possibility with someone in your context, and, or create and share a possibility here. Either way, create and share. What else is there, really?

Until next time…

#covid-19, #creation, #creativity, #human-development, #possibility, #psychology, #sociology, #vulnerability

Fear of the Unknown

This past week, I created a message about fear of the unknown in a Friday Message to the team of folks I work and collaborate with.

Here is that message

This week I’ve been noticing, and reflecting upon fear. Fear that comes with not knowing. And, the byproducts of fear of the unknown, like being nervous and or anxious. I notice them first within myself. The only way one can notice them in others is to first notice them in oneself. 


There is also a knowing in all of this unknown, however, which is that fear and fear’s byproducts are a normal part of the human experience. You are not alone in your fear. If someone tells you they have no fear, they are simply not aware of the fear within themselves, or refuse to accept it.


I was talking to my mom this week, who lives in CA, where the restrictions on shelter-in-place and social distancing are much more rigorous than here locally. We were talking about my mom’s fear about the future, and the realization that this is a normal process of understanding. 

I believe that to understand what is possible, and to create new future realities, we must acknowledge all aspects of our being, our shared humanity. When we do so, we open up a creative space within ourselves and the space to share ourselves with others experiencing the same emotions and fears.


By recognizing our fears as a part of the normal human experience we also create acceptance within ourselves of our fears, and likewise then create the space to accept others and their fears. 

This is called compassion. Compassion for ourselves, our neighbors, our friends, family, team, our local community, and the greater world.

I share this with you as a creation that stemmed from the COVID-19 health crisis. To often, I think, people get caught up in thinking they are not creative, which can actually inhibit creativity, and is simply not true. Creativity lives inside each of us, and can be defined in a myriad of ways, from an idea, to a fully operating business.

One of the distinctions about creativity, is that in order for a creative idea or business model to live in the world, action must be taken. Otherwise the creative idea or business model remains a concept in language. So, take action today, and go execute on your conceptual creativity.

Until next time…

#action, #business, #concept, #covid-19, #creativity, #execution, #fear, #human-development, #idea, #unknown