What is One Step Beyond?

Everyone is creative. Creativity is a birthright. But we seem to have lost the art of it. 

As children, we played. Everything was a game. We made things with mud, paste and paper, our food. We didn’t think about it, compare it, keep it. It was just about the moment. 

As adults, we hold opinions of what we can and can’t do. What we are and are not. We don’t just play anymore. We think and we plan and we judge and we don’t start. The page is always blank. The journal empty. The beautiful new pens still pristine. The bag of supplies and tools unopened since purchase.

Starting is scary. Especially when you hold the opinion about yourself that you’re already no good at this. Every idea you come up with has already been done – and done better by someone else. Or by thousands of others. Instagram has a lot to answer for.

Starting

In 2019 we set up a space, open to the garden with gentle sounds of water – a creative space to run creativity workshops, to enhance a creative experience, to gradually build the creativity muscle.

There is a creative element in everything you do and think. So our initial ideas for the space included art and craft workshops, yoga and meditation sessions, music, design, photography workshops, talks and discussions, nutrition and cooking, writing and reading groups, … there was no end to the possibilities.

Stillness

Stillness is the best catalyst for creativity. A time of quiet sitting, breathing, setting aside “monkey mind” thinking or urgency, quieting my fears, all allows for spontaneity.

Stillness IS the catalyst, returned to over and over again. Stillness will always be the basis of everything we do.

One Step Beyond

So this is not about technique or skills or results. It’s about personal experience and building some creative muscle. It’s about wanting to explore the creative present. It’s about diving into the unknown, open to the possibility that awaits. 

This is what it is to take one step beyond. It’s a small thing. An unknown thing. It’s allowing yourself to trust the unknown, in a safe and creative way. To make the page un-blank.

It is about the individual, the environment and the interplay between the two, to make the experience enriching and memorable.

On to 2020

In this strange and new world we find ourselves in (with COVID-19), finding our creativity is so much more important. From cooking to exercise to amusement to work, and learning new tech to keep us feeling connected, every act of creativity is flowing positivity to the world. 

Anyone can be a blank sheet and couch surf Netflix for hours, but you can also take that breath and explore, make that sorrel sauce recipe (having grown the sorrel), tackle Banksia pruning, repot that poor Aspidistra that everyone assured you would thrive even when neglected, take up knitting, write for the joy of it, YouTube a dance class, call a different friend every day to catch up…

For us, it’s exploring how to move our next series of workshops from the physical space into the online world. We’ll keep you posted.

Stay kind. Stay safe. Stay creative.

Just to finish: Twyla Tharpe, speaking of her book “The Creative Habit – Learn It and Use It For Life” expressed her wishes beautifully:

If you’re starting, I hope it gives you the courage to take your first step and go in the direction of your dreams.

If you’re stuck, I hope it helps you get going again.

If you’re lost, I hope it helps you find your way.

If you manage to touch your heart and move even the slightest bit, consider it time well spent.
For me, “… to touch your heart and move even the slightest bit” is going One Step Beyond.

10 ways smart people stay calm

I’ve just come back from a couple of days in the country – a complete change of pace, demand, activity … even got a few hours of forest bathing – bliss.  I think for me, this ticked off #1 and #4 in this article I’m sharing about staying calm and staying on top of the stress.

You can preempt much of your stress with these vital practices.

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90 percent of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.

As long as the stress isn’t prolonged, it’s harmless.

Here’s the first 4
1. They Appreciate What They Have
2. They Avoid Asking “What If?”
3. They Stay Positive
4. They Disconnect

For all ten ways with explanations as well as the complete article and a great  Performance vs Stress diagram head to  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-ways-smart-people-stay-calm_us_59134c00e4b0e070cad70b0b

A return to authenticity

Many years ago I used a bought image in a job for a client for the Asian market. The girl in the image was clean and sparkly with a fabulously engaging smile – perfect!

Over the years I see her pop up more and more often, in everything from a nurses outfit to a tennis player. She always looks “perfect”.

Seems we’re all a bit over that – now wanting an authenticity in what we see. A simplicity. A truth. We want our business people to look like they are working, that they are tired, or stressed, or fooling around or simply, honestly happy. That they actually look like people you know – not the perfectly manicured, the perfectly made-up with the perfect hair. We want them to seem real to us. We want to empathise with them in whatever role they have. We want them captured in a human moment.

Time for something real, something human, something imperfect, individual – a simplicity