Episode 30 On Creativity. Rick Rubin Wisdom 

March 10, 2023

I want to talk today about the number one most downloaded episode of Dear Constance. It’s called On Artistry and Creativity. In that episode, I’m talking about how people always used always say to me that they found me so creative, which never landed with me. I never considered myself a creative person, and I realized later that I was confusing artistry with creativity.

I’ve just started reading a book called ‘The Creative Act, A Way of Being’ by a very famous man by the name of Rick Rubin. I kind of want to say, if you haven’t heard about this, you’re living under a rock, but I don’t want to shame anybody. It’s everywhere. It’s on the New York Times Bestseller list. Everybody’s talking about it. 60 Minutes did an episode about him. He’s been on podcasts everywhere. He is an American executive and record producer. A co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, the co-president of Rec of Columbia Records. He helped popularize hip hop.  He’s worked with everybody from Johnny Cash to Adele, in all genres of music. He doesn’t only work with musicians. He has this way of listening to music and being with an artist when he’s in the zone and picks up on things that maybe other people can’t hear. I’d say he’s a co-creator of sorts. Anyway, you get the idea. He’s hugely famous and he’s like a cult figure in the music industry.

Rather than me talking about artistry versus creativity, I’ll simply read from his book. This is verbatim from his Note to the Listener.

Everyone is a creator. Those who do not engage in the traditional arts may be wary of calling themselves artists. They may perceive creativity as extraordinary or beyond their capabilities. A calling for the special few who are born with these gifts. Fortunately, this is not the case. Creativity is not a rare ability. It is not difficult to access. Creativity is a fundamental aspect of being human. It’s our birthright and it’s for all of us. Creativity doesn’t exclusively relate to making art. We all engage in this act on a daily basis. To create is to bring something into existence that wasn’t there before. It could be a conversation, a solution to a problem, a note to a friend, the rearrangement of the furniture in the room, or a new route home to avoid traffic.  What you make doesn’t have to be witnessed, recorded, sold, or encased in glass to be a work of art. Through the ordinary state of being. We’re already creators in the most profound way, creating our experience of reality and composing the world we perceive. In each moment, we’re immersed in a field of undifferentiated matter, from which our senses gather bits of information. The outside universe we perceive doesn’t exist as such, through a series of electrical and chemical reactions, we generate a reality internally, . We create warm, thin, cold. W e read words, hear voices, and form interpretations. Then in an instant, we produce a response.

All of this in a world of our own creation. Regardless or not of whether we are formally making art, we are all living artists. We perceive, filter and collect data, then curate an experience for ourselves and others based on this information set. Whether we do this consciously or unconsciously by the mere fact of being alive, we are active participants in this ongoing process of creation.

To live as an artist is a way of being in the world. A way of perceiving. A practice of paying attention. Refining our sensitivity to tune into the more subtle notes, looking for what draws us in and what pushes us away.  Noticing what feeling tones arise and where they lead. Attuned choice by attuned choice, your entire life is a form of self-expression. You exist as a creative being in a creative universe, a singular work of art.

Just wow! If that doesn’t lure you to read it, I don’t know what does my friends. I feel like his book and his message is arriving at the perfect time, not just for me. Yes, in my own internal process, the artist and creator in me is taking new shapes and forms. Quite honestly, I’m respecting my own process more than ever before. I don’t have the disdain for the little sparks that come out of me that I did before. I look at them with more curiosity and I wonder what they might become. Whereas in the past, if I didn’t produce a fully formed something that I felt proud of, I just basically tossed it to the side.

When I look at the names of the short chapters in his book, I just love it. Let me read a few of them too.  Nothing is static. Awareness. The unseen. Look for clues. Nature is teacher. Look inward. Self-doubt. Distraction. Collaboration. Intention. Beginner’s mind. These are all at the core of what’s important to me, what I pay attention to, what I think about, what I talk about. So I’m just really loving listening to his words.

I think it speaks for itself.  We are all artists.   We get to make choices about how we live and see the world. In our relationships, our experiences, our viewpoint. our perch. We get to create how we filter all the information that comes at us. It’s all about our filters and what we pay attention to and how we tune in. That’s my takeaway.  I’m going to end it here with one of my very most favorite quotes. Attunement is an intentional act.  So I guess I’d say it’s our job to tune our own pitchfork.  Attunement isn’t something that happens to us.  It’s what we bring and how we show up.  Attunement is an intentional act. I’ll leave it at.

Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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