Today marks my first official day out of the office. I am now on a walkabout with no official timeline or plan. And, through a wonderful collection of coincidences, I’ve started my adventure at a retreat that’s all about being yourself and encouraging others to be themselves. How appropriate.
I’m spending the week on Whidbey Island with a group of teachers, camp leaders, artists, and facilitators who focus on drawing out people’s creativity. I love everything about the “we are all creative we just need to feel safe expressing it” message of the program.
Here are my three favorite things I learned today:
1. You don’t have to be skilled at a particular art form to be creative. We’re all creative all the time.
Charlie, one of the founders of the program, talked about how we live in a world that equates being a skilled artist with being creative. Can you draw, act, sing, play guitar, or dance really well? No? No problem. Maybe you thought to put peanut butter in your rice krispy treat recipe today. That’s pure genius. You go, you little Da Vinci.
2. You can use the arts in any situation to get people to open up and connect.
Knowing how to get a group of people connecting with each other and working on a common purpose is a valuable skill set. And, a key principle is to get them engaged in some sort of activity where they express their creativity, like a theater game or a singing a song. If you can get them to take little risks, over and over, they will eventually be willing to take bigger ones, like sharing a story with the group.
3. People want to be seen, heard, and understood.
Charlie recommended “strength-based communication” as a way to get people to open up. You look for people’s strengths exclusively, and ignore any misbehaving or lacking skills. He kept saying, “You have to accept them just how they are.” I’m sure there’s much more to that topic that I’ll get to learn this week, but the concept is a beautiful one.
Other things I love about this program is that we’re not allowed to pick on ourselves or others at any time, and we need to participate fully, not “well.” Basically, be kind and be involved.
Intuitive Highlight of the Day
I’ll finish with a tradition I hope to keep on this blog. I’m going to list an intuitive moment where I received a tip on my intuitive dashboard, acted on it, and my life went well. I had many today but this one was my highlight.
I woke up without an alarm at 5:35 a.m. and took that miraculous occurrence as a signal to go to 6:00 a.m. yoga before I left Seattle. I felt happier all day because of that.