Creativity – Neutrality
Clean slates are important in our work, starting from neutral in order to build a character, a play, a song, etc. Yet most of us tend to cover up our neutral in one of two ways… doing too much or suppressing doing anything… both fight what truly “is”.
Sometimes we observe our students doing more than they need to in order to make an impression or express a feeling on stage. Often this over thinking and over acting causes more problems than solves them. It’s like that crazy egg race kids play, where they balance an egg on a spoon and then run. The key is to balance the egg before you start running. Otherwise, you’re really just chasing after the egg willy-nilly, forgetting the goal line and getting trapped in the drama of it all. How often have we seen performers do that same thing on stage, during a instrumental solo in a song or during an office presentation?
On the flip side, a couple of days ago I was in a physical therapist’s office getting some work done on my back. He told me to simply stand like I normally stand so he could see my current alignment. I found that that alone was hard for me to do because of how hyper aware I am about my spine, my stance, always trying to be a “good example” of neutral for the workshops we teach. It was making the therapist’s job difficult because he wasn’t able to see me, in the present, flaws and all. It took me a moment to realize that I needed to relax into neutral and reveal myself – the good and the bad. What I was trying to be an example of, in class for the students, was actually the polar opposite of doing too much.
In the arts, we can see that tapping into neutral is at the beginning of almost every creative process: building a character from scratch, a painter’s blank canvas, a sculpture’s mound of clay, a chef’s sharpened knife… Having an uncluttered space, mentally and physically, where you can create something from nothing… this is neutral. But I’m realizing now that my neutral is not your neutral, painters choose different types of “canvases” to work on, chefs have different knife preferences, musicians have different instruments they write on at different times.
I want to be satisfied with me, just me, before I need to add more or take away more. Am I enough before I start creating?
1. Can you place yourself in a neutral stance? Breathe here and observe yourself and your surroundings.
2. In neutral, do you tend to “fix” yourself, your clothes, your hair?
3. In neutral, does your mind wander away from yourself or inward?