Chapter 16 opens a new section on "Create with What You Already Have,” to deepen the understanding of the creative process. McNiff offers his readers to "reinvision what you already do” to build a creative consciousness to what is present. Yet in society, this is not usually seen as creative such decorating the home, writing a letter, or cooking a meal. If one is wanting to study creativity, they do not necessarily need to go to an art school, but begin to see how their lives are already living a creative life. There are dependable forms of creativity such as drawing, painting, dance, singing, etc. All of which takes a practice. McNiff shares with the reader how he assists many people to overcome the idea they are not creative or talented. He suggests to his reader to review where they are most engaged, the areas of their life which are frequently overlooked, and what in their life bothers them the most. The creative process makes use of life experiences. McNiff encourages his reader to also review the materials a person may have already access to using. For example, if one is most engaged at home, look for the ways they have been creative with making the home aesthetically pleasing such as decorating a bedroom or organizing a kitchen. McNiff reminds his reader that conflicts or tensions are a normal part of life. He suggests to use the conflicts rather than spend the energy to get rid of them. He alerts his reader to be aware to use the message of the situation as it may be suggesting how to live another way. His example of a car, with it breaking down, one could write “an ode to the car,” as a metaphor of how to handle other life stresses or disappointments. All of his exercises he suggests can also be used with paint and brushes. The theme of this chapter is to bring awareness of one’s limiting self-consciousness, to create an openness to explore the vastness of possibility of what one already knows.
The next chapter reviews one’s environments and how these impact a creative process or as McNiff calls it a “creative ecology.” He again calls attention that everything is in a constant interaction with one another. Societal norms show how we are influenced to take vacations to beautiful places or build homes that are spacious because they support us not only physically but also emotionally. Our spaces we inhabit evoke an emotional response. And it does not matter whether a space is cluttered or organized as each person has their own response to their environment. It’s not the quality of the design that makes one space better than the other. It’s the quality of the consciousness — the ability to adjust and compensate, no matter what shows up. McNiff offers at least 15 exercises in this chapter to better help the reader determine their own environment for more successful interactions in their own creative process.
In chapter 18, McNiff urges his readers to do some reflective work on their own childhood. He states most artist and scientist shared how influential their childhood was for their work - the imagination, their inquisitive, and the wonder originates in the early years. This chapter offers several prompts to help the reader obtain childhood memories. McNiff suggest that by returning to these old memories of childhood, the reader begins to open the door to imagination and playfulness we often loose in adulthood. He also suggests that beginning painters return to their childhood exploration, such as with broad strokes of color and movement. This allows them to be in the play part of their creative development rather than focused on perfecting the details. If Picasso and Matisse can return to their childhood, and use these types of childhood qualities, then we might want to also incorporate these techniques in our own creative development.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Trust the Process for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.