Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On Creativity, Intuition and Inspiration

Sophy Burnham. Photo Credit: Mark Regan.

Sophy Burnham, author of the bestselling book A Book of Angels, is a popular author, playwright, journalist, and non-fiction writer. Her works have been produced at Studio Theatre and American University. She has appeared on Larry King Live, Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and CBS Morning News. This spring, she will teach at The Signature Academy with former Signature playwright-in-residence, Paulette Laufer, Call for Creativity. This popular course, blending and borrowing techniques and skills from both writing and acting, will explore the creative imagination within each student.

Of all the things that stifle creativity, none is so smothering as an abusive Inner Voice—the one that says you aren’t good enough, old enough, young enough, rich enough, poor enough, neurotic enough, happy enough, smart enough, creative enough . . .  Not enough!  The  Voice that whispers in your ear, "You’ll fail; you always fail; so best give up before you’re rejected publicly."

But being creative is part of being human.  We create.  We cannot help it!   We build gardens, cook meals, knit, sew, design, build, fashion and fabricate.  Creativity is engraved in our nature. Inspiration claps its hand on our shoulder.

And intuition is closely allied to both.  Creativity is one facet of intuition—the gut feeling that tells you to go here, not there.  It comes like a bolt from the blue, the sudden inspiration that lifts you out of yourself and into higher states.  It wakes you in the night, mind churning.   It comes also in response to struggle and work, when you are striving to listen to your inner wisdom.  It comes when you invite the muse, your guides and angels, the secret, hidden springs of your highest Self.

What is creativity?  Where does it come from?   Who has it?  How do you get more?  Here is Mozart, writing of inspiration.

“When I am, as it were, completely in myself, entirely alone and of good cheer, say, traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not; nor can I force them. . .  Nor do I hear in my imagination the parts successively, but I hear them, as it were, all at once. What a delight this is I cannot tell!”
What people don’t tell you is that it can be learned.  Like intuition.  You invite it.  Every artist understands this.

“I slip into a state,” wrote the playwright Neil Simon, “that is apart from reality…I don’t write consciously—it is as if the muse sits on my shoulder.”

But what exactly is inspiring us?  Is it simply our unconscious mind spewing out information lodged in forgotten memories or making connections we hadn’t recognized before?  The verb inspire comes from Latin, meaning “to breathe in.”  Subtly enfolded in its essence is the sense that something is breathing into us, filling us with Life!

Creativity begins in the Right-Hemisphere of the brain, which is also the seat of emotion, of the ability to recognize faces, of psychic power, and mystical epiphanies.  The creative process is different from conscious analytic thought (although critical left-brain thinking is also essential). Creative ideas collide in a dreamlike state, or they rise up like bubbles in that hypnagogic state you occupy just as you are drifting off to sleep.

How do you invite creative inspiration?    I have written of this in my latest book, THE ART OF INTUITION: Cultivating Your Inner Wisdom.  And now I’m teaching at Signature.
Take the journey with me.   Dare to enhance your own powers of creativity!
I’d love to see you join us.

~Sophy Burnham

For more about creativity, be sure to enroll in CALL FOR CREATIVITY, a four-week course taught by three extraordinary women:  playwright Paulette Laufer and bestselling author Sophy Burnham. New to this course is a two or four-week option, allowing students to create their own course toward creativity.  Registration closes February 27th! Sign up today!


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