Origins of the Understanding about the Creative Spirit

A Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity discussion topic

Copyright 2005 by K. Ferlic,   All Rights Reserved

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The awareness of the creative spirit as an entity that can exist apart from our mind, as we currently understand mind, and our ego arose, surprisingly, out of trying to improve safety in the workplace. In 1987 I was hired by the Department of Energy (DOE) based on my diverse background and organization insights as part of the DOE response to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on its nuclear facilities. This report concluded the Department was not technically competent to oversee its contractors.

I was hired specifically by the Deputy Assistance Secretary for Safety to address the management structure and organizational issues of DOE and its Contractors to (1) improve technical performance of both the DOE and its contractors and (2) improve the DOE ability to oversee its contractors. To address the concern of the NAS, over a period of the next ten years, career position changes in DOE were organized to address specific weak links in the organization structure. Why the effort took ten years and achieved questionable success during that time is a story unto itself and a marvelous case study. That story was one of the primary catalysts to capture the lessons learned and many of the insights found on the “Organizational Creativity” Home Page.

In essence the difficultly arose not because the problem was insolvable. Rather the difficult arose as a result of the lack of an organizational single point focus for the effort, a short term, “quick fix” mentality and the continual changes in Department priorities as each Secretary of Energy, or their primary appointees, changed. Few realized the depth and breadth of the problem that existed. Few had the ability to remain focus and not be distracted for as long as was necessary. Yet is was this experience that helped give rise to the information discussed on this and related web sites, and in particular and, surprisingly, “Meditation Concepts and Principles for Creativity.”

Creating effective and adequate correction action required moving through four organizational components. Each move addressing a different aspect of the root issue. The first organization stop was to identify exactly what it was that caused the NAS to conclude the DOE was not technically competent. By all existing Department standards, qualified personnel and individuals with adequate credentials were hired by DOE and its contractors. Yet an aspect of technical competency was missing. Finding the problem was best accomplished from the safety oversight and policy development organization. Once identified, standards and requirements were changed to correct deficiencies. However, it was necessary to educate the staff on the problem and how to fix the problem. If they truly understood the problem in the first place, the problem in question would never have existed. Changing standards and requires without providing a cultural change which understood what needed to be done would not provide adequate corrective action. The necessary cultural change was best accomplished through the training organization and developing the experiential training to go with the new requirements. Then it became necessary to become part of the line organization to implement the necessary changes and to “lead the way.” Finally I move to coaching the organization on maintaining the fixes.

This journey through the organization began to reveal something else. Although effective correction actions were implemented, the tradition management methods were still lacking at resolving the basic issues. Something was still missing. The solution was given to those who needed it but the individuals could not seem to find the solution themselves. Without the ability to find the solution and modify them as the situation changes themselves, a long term solution would not be sustainable. Another, or others, seemed to be almost always needed to point out what was lacking. Quite simply, the organization lacked the ability to create the ability it needed to find a solution. It lack the ability to be organizationally creative to be able to respond to the changing demands being placed on it. What become clear was that NAS report was only a snapshot in time. Everyone assumed the snapshot was accurate over time. So we fixed what the snapshot revealed in the moment but we were not addressing what the snapshot revealed over time. We did not address why the snapshot existed as it did.

As a manager, the issue I ultimately came to face was how do I get individuals to freely play with the situation they face to find those creative solutions that go to the depth of the situation and address the root of the issue they face. It was clear individuals seemed to lack the creative ability to solve the problem they faced at the root level. They usually tended to look to someone else to solve their problem. I wondered why individuals could not step out of their current thinking to find alternatives that would work. I was working with some that the best scientific and engineering minds in the world. I initially could not understand how and why they were unable to be sufficiently creativity to address the problem as it existed at the root level. They were creative in so many other ways. Why was their creativity blinded? So, I began to explore what was known about creativity and how to become creative. Although I listened to what the experts said and read what they wrote it, was a synchronicity which occurred outside the workplace that allowed me to look deeply into the creative desire of another and from were our creativity arose. That experience was the key to understanding creativity, the creative spirit, and the issues I faced in the workplace.

I was asked to help an individual create something that seemed to be irrationally motivated given the circumstances that currently existed in their life. If asked, they could not really explain why they wanted to created it. They were just drawn to do so and needed to do it. So, I looked at why they were having difficulty and looked to see what needed to be done and did it. It was then I came face to face with what could only be described as their creative spirit. I call it a spirit for I had other experiences in life years earlier that allowed me to recognize what seemed to be entities that existed apart from, separate from, or different than, one’s normal self. It was like an entirely different person. Yet it was not a separate entity. It was only a part of this individual that was so unexpressed and suppressed that, when expressed, it appeared foreign and separate from them and had the potential to completely and radically transform their life.

When I looked deeply at what was motivating the individual I come to see what this creative spirit wanted to create. What it wanted was so different than what the individual’s life was giving them and what their mind thought needed to be done in their life. It was so different that you could say I was faced with a completely different entity. It was a result of this experience that I then began to realize from where many of the problems I was encountering in the workplace came. This creative desire within each individual can only be called a spirit and it will create. This creative spirit has a passion to express itself and we can feel its passion. If it is not allowed to create consciously it will do so subconsciously. It will find a way to challenge its own creativity to create. In essences it looks for a way to challenge itself and if not done consciously it will do so subconsciously.

I began to realize I was looking in the wrong direction to solve the health and safety issues. I come to understand many of the technical issues that surfaced had nothing to do with the technology. The health and safety issue were not necessarily a result of the technology. Rather they ultimately arose from this creative spirit and how it was, or was not, being protected. Many of the issues that arose ultimately stemmed from the individuals acting to protect the creative spirit based on protective response patterns developed in the past but now were ultimately hazardous and/or harmful to themselves or another.

One could logically, and in often a very straight forward manner, do what needed to be done to address the technology. The issue was the creative spirit within key individuals was not being consciously expressed or rather, suppressed. What was being done did not lead to either an internal or external safety for there was a lack of understanding as to what was really motivating one’s actions. Exactly how one’s subconscious actions to protect this playful creative spirit gets translated into unsafe workplace practices that can threaten the public and environment is explainable. However, that explanation requires more discussion that is warranted here. Hopefully the material on this and related web sites will provide the informant to help you to begin to see how this creative spirit works.

So this creative spirit was finding a way subconsciously to express itself to challenge itself and in doing so, it was creating hazards for others. Rather than looking within to explore the creative spirit, new requirements, rules and regulations would be imposed from the outside which further stifled the creative spirit and set one up for a different problem to surface since the root issue was not being fixed. The answer was not to impose new requirements but to create awareness. I was forced to change my entire understanding as to how I thought the world worked. I had to face an aspect within our being that we don’t even recognize as existing let alone know how to properly use. I came to understand there was what only could be called a childlike spirit that needed to be protected. If improperly protected, those actions would create unsafe conditions for the individual and others.

In looking at awareness, something else arose. When an individual learned to become aware of hazards in the work place and how to protect the creative spirit as opposed to simply complying with imposed requirements they would make the workplace and their work practices safer for they learn to foresee problems. But more importantly, there is an awareness that arises within about what gives life and makes it safe for this creative spirit to unfold that transcends any one environment. This childlike creative spirit possessed a life giving wisdom.

As the individuals related to this creative spirit, they would begin to see hazards in other places in their lives such as at home and in their recreational activities. Their whole life would become safer. They would begin to transform their life simply by looking to protect their creative spirit in a way that served that spirit. In time, they could begin to see any other individual had a similar desire and creative spirit within their being and it too needed to be protected, supported and nurtured. They would being to act in a way that made it safe for both their own creative spirit and the creative spirit of the other to unfold. In doing so, they made their world and the world of others safer. That is where the real safety lies. It is when an environment is created based on this life giving wisdom where it was safe for the creative spirit within oneself and the other to both freely unfold true to their nature that one creates health, safety, and quality in whatever the individual does.

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