Tuesday, June 16, 2015
DIRECTING ENERGY: DELIBERATE INTENTION IN CREATIVITY & WELLNESS
By: Jennifer Quarrie
“Man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” — Gandhi
All matter is made of energy. Energy forms new thoughts, thus generating reality. Materialized thought determines neuronal activity and growth - expanding or strengthening brain pathways. In sum, the thoughts we choose to think direct energy toward specific physical outcomes. Thus, it is critical to begin the pursuit of any goal with clear and deliberate intentions.
Energy is one of the most important elements to balance in order to achieve goals while maintaining wellness. Choosing how to spend your energy, as well as how to gather it into your life, determines your path. One of the best tools to help achieve that balance is creativity. Employing a deliberate creative process to clarify the vision, goal or problem at the outset helps to direct energy into solving or achieving it. When dedicating your energy to any goal, there are five guidelines to keep in mind when spending your precious resources.
Consciously setting intentions is a powerful way of directing and conserving energy. As processes, creativity and wellness are most powerful when they begin with intention. From building a vision and ensuring you are solving the right problems to selecting the right tools and maintaining an open mindset, intention is pivotal throughout creative problem solving.
Likewise in wellness, approaching habits proactively through intention – the food we eat, the way we move, the people we include, and the rest we enjoy – empowers our ability to achieve and maintain them. Further, our intents help our minds and bodies determine how to process everything we take in. For example, one’s emotional and mental approach to eating directly impacts how the body physically digests food. Meditation and mindfulness, which pervade over all areas of wellness, center on exploring life force and mentally directing energy through attention and intention.
All interaction involves energy exchange. This flow of emitting and absorbing energy is the biorhythm that allows release and nourishment in wellness, as well as expression and stimulus in creativity. The goal is to ensure this energy exchange does not stagnate or overwhelm your system and instead remains in an active, fluid balance. In wellness and creativity alike, this means remaining mindful of what fuels and drains your reserves, and adapting as that changes over time.
Prana Ancient philosophies have emphasized the importance of energy flow and exchange for millennia. Some call the personal energy or life force ‘prana’ and emphasize that it not only runs through our bodies but also links us to others. The concept of prana, and of having clear flowing chakras – energy loci throughout the body where energy channels intersect – is considered by some to be critical to personal wellness and creativity.
Universal Unconscious Similarly, Carl Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious is a repository of shared energy, ideas and experiences, and some believe that this shared energy fosters creativity through building on past concepts and intents. Our minds and bodies strive towards goals both consciously and unconsciously. By setting a clear intention, we maximize the personal resources dedicated to achieving it and increase the likelihood of doing so. Further, expressing an intention enhances this effect. By sharing a goal with others, you are inviting them to put energy towards assisting you. In wellness, this is clearly seen in the way that finding a supportive network or environment enhances personal wellness achievements. In creativity, this is demonstrated through the power of group problem solving and the ability of a diverse group to consistently generate more novel and useful solutions.
Intake While intentions customarily relate to the way we spend our energy resources, they are just as important for how we take energy in. As a result, being as thoughtful and deliberate as possible when choosing an environment or other collaborators can help us to achieve our goals. Wellness reiterates that we can deliberately empower ourselves simply by choosing supportive energy – after all, we are what we ‘eat.’ We can choose social avenues that foster growth, eat raw plants, or meditate on a resonant topic to take in considerably more energy than alternatives might provide.
From a quantum standpoint, our energy holds limitless potential. A multitude of future possibilities simultaneously exist, and it is our intention that helps determine to which path we dedicate our energy. In creativity, as in wellness, we have the ability to develop ideas and build upon what is there in a way that highlights a previously unnoticed path. Becoming aware that these unknown paths exist gives us freedom to step out of the well-worn paths that no longer work for us, and creatively find new ones that fit our needs precisely.
Curiosity is a form of motivation and intention, an energy that draws people to investigate new things, absorb new information, and, in the process, make new associations on the way to potentially building novel concepts. What may not be as obvious is the role of curiosity in wellness. A 2002 study showed that “the degree to which people are curious actively influences their personal growth opportunities and the level of intimacy that develops when they meet someone new.” By helping to foster social relationships, positive experiences, and intrinsic motivation, curiosity plays a crucial role in wellness.
Curiosity also plays a critical role in forming and asking the right questions, thus honing intention and ensuring that energy is invested most effectively. Curiosity-based thinking methods like appreciative inquiry, problem deconstruction and problem finding are important roads to creative thinking; however, they are also key to pursuing personal wellness. Curiosity not only assists in identifying needs, but supports an open-minded approach to trying new means of fulfilling them. Further, once curiosity helps overcome inertia, energy naturally builds and gathers momentum along the vector of intention. When it comes to creativity, building on the energy of other thoughts propels the resultant ideas into a much more novel space.
Do in Order to Be
Wellness is sometimes referred to as well being. Being infers a state of existing. But in truth, wellness actually centers more on well doing. Wellness is not passive; it is an energized state of continual change, adaptation and action. Just like our bodies and environmental rhythms, maintaining and improving wellness is an ever-present effort. Wellness is not a plant you water once a week; it needs constant tending. The same holds true for creativity. Like strengthening muscle with regular exercise, practicing creative thinking skills throughout each day strengthens and grows your abilities as well as fosters wellness and self-actualization.
Wellness and creativity ultimately come down to directing and exchanging energy in specific ways to obtain specific outcomes. Understanding more about our personal energy and the energy systems of the world may foster our abilities to pursue both wellness and creativity. Learning how to more deliberately set intentions and direct personal energy is a critical wellness and creative habit that helps achieve goals. The choice on how you manage your energy is the key to how your future will form.
“We either live with intention or exist by default.” - Kristin Armstrong
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Image source: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/09/27/this-is-the-world-of-quantum-physics-nothing-is-solid-and-everything-is-energy/
Bio: Jennifer Quarrie is a dynamic innovation strategist and creativity expert with a visionary outlook and a knack for metacognition, facilitation and listening. With a BA in Cognitive Science from the University of Virginia and an MSc in Creative Studies from the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC) at SUNY Buffalo State, she incorporates budding areas of mind and creativity research into all of her work. As a leader and speaker she inspires wellness, fosters transformation and emboldens self-actualization.