February 26, 2017
with Orna Ross and Sondra Turnbull
Hello! This week the show is all about the principles of conscious creation. Learn about setting good intentions, going deep, honing focus, going public, turning up, fostering flow, keeping creative faith and more.
And I’ve been in San Francisco this week, so thought it apt to give a reading about that city from my novel, Before The Fall.
Paul: The Go Creative Show! life as a creativist. And here’s your host, Irish indie author, Orna Ross.
Orna: Hello, from San Francisco and welcome to episode 14 of this weekly broadcast, which is all about conscious creation and creative living. I’m Orna Ross, novelist and poet. And each week I talk about the lessons I’m learning in my writing and my publishing and living, and how you can apply those takeaways to whatever it is you’re making.
My go creative books are all about the creative process and how it can be used to create anything we truly want, and how to live the creative way. And this show is an invitation to you to live that way too.
This week our theme is conscious creation itself. The steps you take when you’re trying to turn something from an imagined idea or insight into an intention, and then a vision, and then go through a draft and a deepening, all the way through to success and completion.
There are clearly identifiable steps and I am going to be talking about how you bring anything you want to create through that process.
And, as I’m here in San Francisco, I will also be talking a little bit about my relationship with this very special city and doing a short reading for you from one of the novels about that.
I’m working here with Roving Jay, she normally resides either in Turkey or as she does at the moment, or in LA and I’m in London. She and I work really well together online, but it’s lovely to be meeting together in San Francisco. We’re putting together some short self-publishing guides and I’m really enjoying creating those with her.
And then I’m going to be creating me some good old down-time, because it’s been all go with the conference and working on these short courses. And then back home to London and I’m really looking forward to that.
But for now, let’s get on with the show.
Paul: The Go Creative Show! creative writing.
Orna: It’s been a while since I did a reading here on the show so today, as I’m here, I thought I’d read from the extract in Before the Fall, where Jo, my protagonist, my poor troubled protagonist, is writing about San Francisco., because she, like me, fell in love with San Francisco and it was a really, really important place to her.
For me, the city itself represents the create-state and that’s why I want to include it in this Go Creative Show!
It’s always been an iconic place for me. I was a young impressionable pre-teen when the peace and love, long hair and free love of the hippie movement started to make their way across the Atlantic from West Coast, America to the very small, very rural village where I grew up in the South East of Ireland. And it was like a breath of fresh air.
Then, in the 1980s in my 20s, I became hugely interested in the way in which this city coped with the whole aids epidemic, which expanded my sense of the town as a symbol of love and freedom and it made me, little white, Irish, straight girl have to think very strongly about sex and race and gender and politics and it was a very rich time in my life. I did a Women’s Studies Masters, going back to college, to get the education I didn’t get when I’d been there the first time around doing my BA [laughs]. And just a great time.
And so when I was writing After the Rising and Before the Fall, a three-generational murder mystery with a background in the 1920s and the political struggle for Irish freedom, and I needed to get Jo, my protagonist, away from the heavy, repressive kind of family history she was growing up with in Ireland. The book is about her uncovering of family secrets from that time, how her grandparents, particularly her grandmother and her grand aunt were caught up in all of that, so we have a double murder, civil war, Roman Catholic hegemony, all going on and creating a toll for the future generations. So I sent her off to San Francisco, so I would have to go there to do some research [laughs]. No, because it embodied those progressive values and counter cultural kind of thinking and liberated life that Jo was really seeking, and that were in short supply in her family history and in her village, as she grew up in Ireland.
So here’s Jo, describing her San Francisco.
San Francisco was my city, I knew that from the moment I arrived, from my very first morning, walking through Golden Gate Park, entranced by the smell of eucalyptus and sunny November skies.
It was a Sunday, I remember, and the park was full of people but it was big enough to hold us all. On my way I passed a circle of homeless men drinking cider around a set of bongo drums and a guitar. One of them lifted his can to me as I walked past. “You have a good one”, he said, smiling. And I found myself smiling back, I couldn’t help it, he seemed so amiable. They all did, although there was eleven of them and only one of me. It was impossible to imagine passing a group of homeless men in London or in Dublin and feeling so unthreatened.
I love this place, I found myself saying over and again as I walked around it. Born out of gold and silver, built on a core of wild spending and carousing, this city was never a small town, but wild and lawless, gaudy and greedy, diverse and world famous right from the start.
In those early days I walked everywhere. The first year was difficult, hopping from job to dead end job, apartment to dreary apartment, trapped inside a void left behind by alcohols absence.
For sanity’s sake, I walked and walked, later jogged, all around the town, up and down the unfeasible hills through streets where music drummed out from under psychedelic blinds. Through parks where grey haired people went roller-skating. Through beaches where meditators worshiped the morning sun. I reveled in that sunshine but also in the fogs that bellowed in from the ocean as if huffed through the Golden Gate through an unseen mouth.
I came to love those fogs, that shrouded me in anonymity as I went, and ensured I never took the sun for granted. I even came to love the city’s faulty underpinnings, the San Andreas and Hayward, San Gregorio, Greenville and Calaverous, and the earth shudders they threw up, always hinting towards the long anticipated big one that might come at any time and topple our town down on top of us, or trigger a tsunami out in the ocean, a tidal wave that would swell and swell as it swept in from the Bay, rising taller than the bridges and the sky scrappers as a broke against them, smashing them to smithereens and sweeping away the bits in its flow, like so many pebbles or twigs. It was frightening to ponder, especially down town among the office towers.
I hadn’t been here long when I first heard the expression, only in San Francisco, it came to be widely used afterwards, only in Hollywood people would say, only in Europe and usually used disparagingly. But I first heard it applied to the town I was beginning to own and I took it as a tribute.
So many things could and did happen only in San Francisco. This city had given the world beats and hippies, free love and flower power, multiculturalism and gay pride. Only in San Francisco it seemed to me was American can-do culture applied vigorously to realms beyond the commercial.
Paul: The Go Creative Show! creative living.
Orna: So, conscious creation. First of all, what do I mean by that? Well we’re all creating all the time. We often just don’t realize it. So, there are loads of processes that go on in our bodies and in our minds and in the combination of the two, that are unconscious and happening regardless.
And then there are the things that are in the middle, that sometimes we can conscious of and sometimes are unconscious. Breath is a very good example of that and anyone who does yoga or certain forms of mediation or any of the creative breathing exercises that are on the website, will have had the experience of actually beginning to control the breath, becoming conscious of inhalation and exhalation.
But, even if we’re not conscious of it, breathing goes on, it’s happening all the time. Thinking is like that also, a lot of the time we’re not conscious of our thoughts and then sometimes we are. And there are also steps that we can also take that enable us to become more conscious of how we’re thinking, more creative in our thought and of course we talk about that a lot in the Go Creative! books.
So, today I’m talking about conscious creation. And that is when you set out to make something and you know you’re doing it.
You have learned to make certain things in your live almost by rote, you create them successfully every day. Simple things, like breakfast, or something with your kids, or your tasks in work. There are thousands of things a day that you are actively creating but it’s not a conscious process for you.
What happens when we want something that’s dear to us, that we hold dear to our hearts, and perhaps we aren’t even ready to quite articulate to ourselves or to other people, something that’s a creative stretch for us, is we need to get conscious about its creation.
Take a short poem. Because it’s short, it will often come in its entirety and essentially all I have to do is transcribe it, get it down on the page. That can happen with a poem (often it doesn’t, often you have to work really hard with a poem just as much as a piece of prose) but the point is, it’s possible. It’s not possible for that to happen with a novel, say, just by virtue of the size. It’s a much, much more conscious process.
Yes, you get stories of people who do writing marathons and they produce longish books in a very short time but even then, they have to stop to go to the bathroom, you know, stop to have a meal, stop to do something and come back to it. We’re always kind of intrigued by creation when it happens in that sort of inspired, outside of yourself sort of way.
In actual fact, afterwards, there will have been a tidying up process and an editing process and, you know, a completion process that won’t be mentioned in the story and again, afterwards it will go through a whole editing process in the publishing phase.
And before that marathon started, there was an incubation and an investigation into what’s gone into that book or it simply couldn’t be written.
My point is that the process is, to some degree, to a greater or lesser degree, a conscious one when it is a big stretch.
So, while you might make dinner, say, unconsciously because you’ve done it so many times before. If it comes to a big banquet for 15 or 20 people, you’re going to have to get a lot more intentional, a lot more conscious around that.
So, that’s what we’re talking about. Just simply that. And because we’re talking about creativity and creative living and the whole, our ability to stretch ourselves and live more creative lives and to make and do the things that we’re supposed to be making and doing, we’re talking about working through a process of what we truly want. Admitting that to ourselves and so on.
So, I want to talk about the various stages that happen. The steps that happen and the stages and phases that happen in conscious creation, always, regardless of what it is that’s being made, there is a universal process even though it takes a completely different shape in every single person, it is a universal thing.
So here’s exactly what you have to do if you want to consciously create anything.
First of all, there is a pre-intention phase and this I think, is where so many creativist stumble and fall. Because the pre-intention and the intention phase is not given enough attention.
People jump off around an idea without having fully investigated it. So, there is a whole pre-intention phase and what we will use in the club for that and what, in the books, in the go creative books, is you begin with what we call The Wish List.
So, you use a f-r-e-e-writing technique to get a very long wish list of all your wants, needs, cravings and desires, get them all down. You’re not going to make all these things but you literally put down anything that you vaguely want, ever have wanted and ever might want. Let it all go down there and you can have really great fun with the whole wish list thing.
And then, once that’s complete, you step away for a while and then you come back the next day or the day after and you focus inwards, having made your list and having read it and having gone through it and gone through the parts of the wish list process as outlined in the downloadable PDF or in the book, and I’ll be giving you the details about all of this at the end, where to get it.
Then you focus in, this is the second stage. You then put it all away and you turn your attention inwards and you locate your true intentions. And they will be few because a true intention is something that you are going to sign up to, you are going to put your energy behind, it is a doing thing, not a listing thing, not a wishing thing, not an imagining thing. It is something that you are actually going to put the time and effort in to. And in order to actually, you know, know your own true intention, you need to go deep and allow it to rise through you rather than imposing it from your intellectual mind. And so you go through a process of inspiration mediation for this focusing in period. And again, that is outlined in the books and will be a stage that club members will be brought through.
And all these techniques are really simple, they couldn’t be easier, they’re all designed to be able to be done by anybody and as often as possible, anywhere. And they are completely cheap, easy and free.
So, then having focused in and gone deep, what we do is we narrow down that list and you’re brought through a process of what we call intention mapping where you get it down to a few or one chosen intention.
And all of that is the kind of pre-intention phase. And through it you get the intention to consciously create whatever it is you’re going to consciously create.
And the first step after that is you need to make that intention known to somebody, not to everybody but you need to speak your truth about this intention. You need to tell some trusted others that you are in the process of doing this, that this is important to you and that you’re going to be making it happen. And you may need to, depending on what it is, you may need to make the announcement to your family and explain that you’re going to be taking some time out or going to a certain place to do certain things, whatever it may be. You don’t have to tell anybody and you shouldn’t tell anybody that you’re nervous about that, you know, it will kind of rain on your parade, that will make you feel like you can’t do it, that will deflate your confidence, that will laugh at you or be too worried about you. You don’t have to do that. But you do have to find some trusted others.
And of course, this is one of the great functions of the Creativist Club, is that we will have a group of people who are all aligned and who are all engaged in the same process, the same conscious creation process and thereby able to encourage each other and motivate each other and hold each other accountable.
So, go public, we have the exercise we call coming out for that. Because it’s not just people, people come out about all sorts of things, not just their sexualities, although that saying has become associated with coming out around sexuality issues. It can be just as nerve wracking to come out and say what it is you truly want to create. So, coming out.
And then, once you’ve done that, once you have told yourself, told a few important other people, the next phase is turning up. And in the turning up step, what you do is you understand the seven stages of the process, which is outlined in the book, How to Create Anything, and also available on the website. And those seven stages are divided into three phases. The vision phase, the making phase and the success phase. And you commit to turning up. to doing the necessary creative work or creative rest or creative play that brings you through each of these three phases.
And the tool that we use for that is what we call time mapping. Essentially you have to work out where are you going to do this, when you’re going to do it. And we use a creative mapping method, whereby you allocate the intentions to the time. And again, it’s a very simple method and it’s all very clear and it’s done on paper with a pen and you know exactly what it is you’re supposed to be doing each day and each week of the month.
And then having made that commitment, and knowing that you’re going to turn up on the allocated time, and it doesn’t need to be a huge time actually, to make most things, it just needs to be consistent and you need to commit to it and you need to turn up. Having done all of that, having made that commitment to yourself and once you are turning up, then you just let go.
The next step is flow, and flow is an allowing movement. It’s not a willed, determined, it’s not a resolution, it’s not, you know, heavy, and it’s not tight. It’s very loose, it’s very free and it’s very flowing and the more you let go, so one the one hand you’re just turning up and doing the work, doing the rest, doing the play, because rest and play are equally important and that’s the difference between creative mapping, say, and time management or productivity schedules or that kind of thing. It’s a much looser and a much freer thing and letting go and play and rest is intrinsically part of what you will be doing. And it’s really enjoyable.
And so, the final step is holding on, you keep your faith in your ability to fulfill your intention. There will be ups and downs. There will be failures and you know, you won’t turn up every time you say you’re going to and you’ll try to do something and it will turn out to be something else and you’ll start to take the scenic route and go off into directions you didn’t expect and the process will come in and whip you away and, you know, all sorts of things will happen because that is the process. It is never linear, it is always a learning thing and a changing thing. It is a process of change more than it is anything else actually.
And so you flow with that process while keeping your faith in your ability to fulfill the intention and while also keeping your ability to enjoy the process as it unfolds.
That is the process of conscious creation. So, you believe in your truth and you use your practices, like the f-r-e-e-writing, like the inspiration meditation, a create date is another practice that we use that ties us back in to our intention by actually reminding ourselves of who we are as creatives and by nurturing our creative spirit.
So, a lot of the things that to do are actually tan gentle, they’re not directly, you know, relentlessly working through your tick, tick, tick, to do list. It isn’t like that but it’s actually a much more powerful process when you play with it in this way and it delivers a whole outcome that is, absolutely has your intention embedded in it and completely has your original vision and imagining of the end embedded in it. But, usually, in fact always, in a way that surpasses anything you could possibly have imagined.
And so it is your practices that will hold you through the ups and downs, the ins and outs, the rounds and abouts and you can trust the process. You can lie back into the process and allow it to carry you through.
And once you’ve done one thing, once you’ve consciously created one thing, you find that that builds your trust in the process and that the more you trust it, the better it works for you, the better you get at it until suddenly you find some fine day you wake up and you actually completely know that you can create whatever you want to create in your life.
Orna: And so, that’s it from The Go Creative Show! for another week. As always, you can find out more on www.ornaross.com, there are lots of tools, there are free books and downloads, PDF’s and everything you need essentially to put in place those steps towards conscious creation that we were talking about. And indeed to get the novel, if you would like to, from which this weeks’ extract came, it’s Before the Fall, it’s the second book, After the Rising is the first one but they’re both stand alone, best read together but can be read separately.
You can also get your free copy of the Creativist Compendium on the website now, and don’t forget to pick that up if you haven’t already. And you can sign up if you would like to, if you would find it helpful, to a weekly Monday motivator on the website also. That comes into your email inbox on a Monday morning and essentially serves as a reminder to you to put time and space aside for that creative rest, creative play and creative work that’s going to bring your intention through vision and making all the way to success.
You can email me at any time, just feel free, there’s a contact form on the website or if you would like to share feedback in a more public way, so that other people can see it, you can make a comment on the guest book. So, that’s it, until next week, go create.
Paul: You’ve been listening to The Go Creative Show! life as a creativist, with Irish indie author, Orna Ross. You can read this weeks’ show notes and find out more about the show and about Orna’s online Creativist Club at www.ornaross.com.
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Sondra was born in Charleville, in Australia’s central Queensland, "where red dirt fills your nose and the rare coming rain smells divine", and raised in Brisbane. She has worked as a librarian’s assistant, desktop publisher, document controller, technical secretary, mother, meditation teacher, Reiki therapist, Ancient Hawaiian Heartworks lomi lomi (massage) therapist, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) therapist, Reiki teacher, forensic researcher (legal, consulting engineers), senior financial controller (multi-million$, multi-disciplinary engineering alliance). “Tracing the tangle in a spreadsheet formula and the knot in a client’s emotional energy is more similar than you might think,” Sondra says. She now lives in Holland where she runs the publishing press, Goddess Kindled, and is writing her first novel.