Episode 96 Habits, Awareness and Creativity

August 11, 2023

Good morning from Montauk, Montauk, New York –  the very tip of Long Island – one of my favorite places on the planet. I’ve been coming here for over 30 years. I started coming with my best friend, Marion Weger, and her family. I have made so many awesome memories here. It’s a place that inspires me and it sparks my imagination and creativity like very few other places I’ve been in the world.

So, what’s on my mind today is awareness, creativity, and habits, and here’s why. If you’ve listened to me before, you know that I love the book ‘The Creative Act, A Way of Being’ by Rick Rubin. I often listen to it at night, or if I happen to wake up during the night I’ll listen to it for 15 minutes as I fall back to sleep. As I was listening last night, he started talking about habits. Wait a minute before you start rolling your eyes about habits,

He was speaking about it in a way that I thought was particularly interesting and I wanted to share it with you. I want to read a couple of paragraphs from this chapter. He starts by talking about how we often yearn to establish new healthy and productive habits, and then he goes on to say this “but how often do we consider examining and removing the habits that currently drive our days? How often do we regard behaviors accepted as the way people are or the way we are merely as habits? Each of us has automatic habits. We have habits in movement, habits and speech, thought and perception. Habits, and being ourselves. Some of them have been practiced every day since we were children. A pathway gets carved into our brain and becomes difficult to change. Most of these habits control us beyond our decisions to the point they function autonomously and automatically, like the regulation of our body temperature.”

He goes on this particular chapter about how he learned a different way of swimming that was awkward and counterintuitive because he learned to swim when he was very young and the previous method was so ingrained. But anyway, what I like about this is how he ties awareness and habit formation, and how he talks about sort of undoing or bringing greater awareness and attention to those habits and default behaviors that are so ingrained. What he calls the habits of being ourselves. I found it very thought provoking.

I wanted to close by reading a few of the things on his list. He calls it ‘Thoughts and habits not conducive to the work”. What he’s talking about here is creative work and creative endeavors, but I think this applies to a lot of things – this bringing awareness to those ingrained default thought patterns and habits.

Here are a few that he mentions. ‘Thoughts and Habits Not Conducive to the Work’:

 Believing you’re not good enough. Feeling you don’t have the energy it takes. Mistaking adopted rules for absolute truths. Not taking your work to the highest expression. Settling. Having goals so ambitious that you can’t begin. Thinking you can only do your work in certain conditions. Requiring specific tools or equipment to do the work. Abandoning a project as soon as it gets difficult. Feeling like you need permission to start or move forward. Letting a perceived need for funding, equipment, or support to get in the way.Having too many ideas and not knowing where to start. Believing a certain mood or state is necessary to do your best work.

I’ll end with these last two. Prioritizing other activities and responsibilities over your commitment to making art. And I would say any interest, passion, or creative pursuit That is sitting in your desk drawer. And lastly, thinking anything that’s out of your control is in your way.

I know speaking for myself, this was very interesting because I used to filter everything through the lens of financial viability, and did it make business sense? And while sometimes that makes sense, sometimes it can be an excuse not to get started. It can be sort of a way to self-sabotage. I shudder sometimes to think how many things that I walked away from for that reason. I also think that having feelings of not enough time, this time scarcity mentality can often be an excuse.

I’ll end by saying that when I was filtering opportunities or ideas through the lens of financial viability and does it make business sense, I’d say it was a matter of wanting to know where things were going to go before I even started. And that’s something that has been ingrained in us in our education and culturally. Rick Rubin is inviting us to take a look at those default thought patterns, and I think it’s something that’s particularly important for people of a certain age. speaking for myself. I’ve had so much fun podcasting, making necklaces and trying new things just because.

So I’ll leave you with that creative fodder for today. That’s all for now. 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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