Here is a snippet of a conversation between two of the thousands of voices in my head, my Soul and Left Brain are uncomfortable with each other. It’s rough when roommates don’t get along…
LB: You realize that you are an idiot, don’t you?
Soul: Sometimes, wanna dance?
LB: That’s always your answer isn’t it? Let’s dance, let’s draw, let’s have fun. There is serous crap going on, relationship stuff, money stuff, business stuff, the Gulf is now an oil slick. How is your dancing going to pay the bills? Dancing doesn’t pay the bills bucko, how are you going to measure the results of all your play, all your creativity? Have you got a book deal yet? Is your speaking calendar full?
Soul: You are very good at your job, kind of cute. Wanna dance?
L.B.: How will dancing help? Seriously, when are you going to face facts and get your head out of the clouds. Even if you write a really good book, what does that do besides get a bunch of other people to drive off the road too? That’s just what we need, a bunch of people running around claiming to be artists.
Soul: Well, I’ll tell you how it helps, but you have to dance with me after.
L.B. I’ve got two left feet…
Soul: Very good, now you are getting the idea! You, my friend, are always running, always working and we need you to do that. But, you work better when you are allowed to work quietly in the background. No disrespect, but when you are in charge it gets a little, well, boring.
L.B. Sure, logic really rubs you the wrong way, Mr. Free Spirit. What’s wrong with rules and deciding to follow them?
Soul: Logic is good and so is breaking the rules now and then, I’m talking about getting so obsessed with doing what is “right” that you never talk about what is “new.” You can’t drive looking in the rear view mirror; unless you are backing up. Moving forward requires NEW thoughts. Actually, being creative might not be measurable as you’d like to measure, but that doesn’t mean you don’t benefit.
L.B. Like how?
Soul: Curiosity, for one thing, problems are best solved when they are treated like a puzzle, with a sense of play. Studies have shown that when we put too much pressure on you and take away the playfulness, you tend to freeze up.
L.B. Great, paying any bills with that?
Soul: I’ll tell you what, anyone who has a “Serious” job like yours, one where you just remember things or logically figure things out is in danger of being replaced by a computer. Or some guy in India. What’s left? Creative ideas, problem solving, “content”. Creativity is required now, living by your wits requires seeing things differently than everyone else.
L.B. Well, daydreaming isn’t my idea of work.
Soul: Nope, it’s not mine either. Creativity is called “Applied Imagination” and it requires a lot of hard work, a lot of trial and error and being wrong.
L.B. Oh, here it is, the “don’t be afraid to make big mistakes” lecture. I’m here to KEEP you from making big mistakes, from screwing up your job, your relationships, your credit rating. That IS my job.
Soul: Here’s the thing, most of us, no matter how much information we gather, will not always make the right decision. Being afraid to try things because you might make mistakes actually can be simplified to: “I’m afraid to try things”. Caution is fine, but I came here to experience life, not hide from it. Speaking of life, how’s that heart?
L.B. Under some stress, feeling a little tight, but we’ll carry on.
Soul: You are doing that to us for no reason other than to prove how mighty you are. Breathing, relaxing, getting totally absorbed in a task, that’s how we both do our best work and getting all freaked out because we deviate from some script you gave us is not going to help us at all
L.B. I’m a man, I’m supposed to get to the bottom of things, make money, and take care of everyone.
Soul: How about letting me take care of you? Spirit, is not something you can measure with your checkbook, neither is enthusiasm, passion or love, but even you can’t deny they exist. Sometimes, getting someplace in a straight line is boring. Let go for a while, let new information, new sensations and new people enter our life, you might be surprised at how productive we become.
L.B.: Now you are talking, productivity!
Soul: Yes, getting me, your creative spirit, on your team will make you truly mighty. Letting creativity happen allows you to find me, your soul, and I’ll help you find meaning in life. So, will dancing, or drawing, or strumming the guitar pay the bills? Maybe not, but allowing yourself to approach life as an artist, as a creative person will make you better at everything you do. Enthusiasm and passion are your best tools, use them! And now, about that dance…
L.B.: Ok, but I lead.
Soul: Of course!