in: Advice, Character, Sunday Firesides

Sunday Firesides: Creativity Needs a Conduit

To reach your desk lamp, the electricity that’s made at a generating station must travel along transmission lines, distribution lines, and the wires that connect to the outlets in your home. 

Power requires a conduit through which to flow.

This is as true for electricity, as it is for the energies that course through the individual soul.

Each of us is a kind of power station that generates impulses to be strong, to be good, to be noble and true. We feel charged with a crackling current that drives us to connect with others, to do great things, to build a life of real significance. We feel charged with a restless drive to create.

We tend to associate creativity — whether in the context of painting a picture or crafting a life — with absolute freedom and unbridled spontaneity.

Yet when we pursue health without habits, character without commitments, love without labels, and religion without rituals, we are frustrated to find our bodies unaltered and our hearts unchanged. 

A lack of structure doesn’t ignite creativity; it short-circuits it. Our energies dissipate into the ether. Our dreams drift away in little puffs of smoke.

Writing in the absence of grammatical guidelines becomes an unintelligible mess.

Spirituality devoid of concrete practices stays empty and ethereal. 

Life without binding principles defaults to the lowest common denominator.

The ironic thing about the seemingly free-flowing nature of creativity is that structure doesn’t stifle its force; it’s the only thing that releases it. It can only be expressed once it’s constrained and channeled. 

Energy alone isn’t sufficient for creation. To turn on the lights in life, you have to connect your energy to rules and routines — you have to run a line between the raw power of your desires, and the real results you want to see in yourself and the world. 

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