How do we free ourselves to be open to the present moment where our creative potential awaits? In Part 1 you learned that the uncertainty inherent in every present moment is what allows us to create. Yet humans are wired to respond to uncertainty by imagining the worst case scenario. Another default position of the human brain is to want to control and dominate, or become subservient to one who dominates, as a response to fear and uncertainty.
Dominance/subservience was a solution for the early human tribes because it held them together and helped them to survive, but it does not serve us any more and hasn’t for centuries. This model remains our default position today unless we employ consciousness. When we free ourselves from our brain’s default responses and our conditioning, we open ourselves to the present moment and our creative potential.
Control is an illusion, anyway. When we use consciousness, we can see that the only thing we can really control is our own behavior – our own perceptions, beliefs and choices. The famous Serenity Prayer serves us well:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
The only thing we can really change is ourselves. It takes courage to move past our conditioning and inaccurate perceptions. They’re bound to pop up when we become parents, and especially when we set our intention to provide the freedom necessary to nurture our child’s creativity.
What to do? One way to set yourself on the track of consciousness instead of knee-jerk default responses is to nurture your own creativity along with your child’s. Equalizing the playing field so that you are both “students” is something your child will love. One of the most honoring and respectful things any one can do is to come to the present moment undecided. Children naturally do this because they don’t have much history yet. They haven’t formed opinions; they are open to what the present moment holds. To see a parent approach the present moment with the same openness is pure delight for a child. You’re on an adventure together, and you’re both in the front seat. The driver is your intention for creativity, and the fuel is the unknown potential in the present moment.
You’ll have to fight your conditioning, such as father knows best, I need to be in control, I need to set the rules, as the mother I need to know all the answers, it needs to be done my way because I’m the parent; a good parent can control their kids, etc. etc. Find your particular flavor of conditioning, and use your consciousness to rein it in.
You will find the present moment is always neutral when you arrive unfettered by your beliefs and conditioning. It’s like a white canvas, ripe with potential. There are limits in the present, of course. To use the metaphor of the white canvas, the limits to creativity are the size of your canvas, the colors of paint that are available, your current skill level, whether you have 5 fingers or were in an accident and now have 3, the amount of time you have and so on, but seeing the limits is part of seeing the present moment. There’s nothing wrong with limits. We are always creating within certain limits, and that’s fine.
Preparing and maintaining the mental, emotional and physical environment with freedom in mind is the primary step for both you and your child. To prepare the actual physical environment, a cleared space free from distraction and noise works for most people. In order for me to create, I need open space on all three levels: emotional space free from pressure, an open mind free from thoughts and any agenda or plan, and a physical space that is clean, refreshing and free from clutter. Physical health is important, too. If you’re tired, stressed, or worried, you’re not going to have the energy to create. Same goes for your children.
Just what is creating? How does it happen? You’ll find out in Part 3. In the meantime, try to notice the conditioning and thoughts that come up as you parent your child. When you imagine giving them the freedom to create, what thoughts come up? When you think of allowing yourself the freedom to create, what thoughts come up? Experiment with coming to the present moment undecided about reality. What does that feel like? All of these exercises will help you become more aware and conscious.