Shaun McNiff is one of my favorite creativity authors. What I love about this book is his willingness to call attention to these parts of our humanness that prevents one from being creative. For example, how our enculturation sets one on a path of perfectionism. And in this system, establish and do ordain who is “gifted,” “talented,” “genius,” etc. When unaware of this as something out of your control, you may think it’s about you. Societal norming is not the big problem, it’s the unquestioned sets of beliefs one has about their own world. He takes the readers through this process to create an openness for one to experience the joys and benefits of creativity. In all of his books, he’s consistent with steering the reader to develop a practice. A practice is the time in which one builds their skills in achieving the desired effect of the creative process they want to achieve. It is not only learning the skill, but the practicing of it daily. He gives at least 30 different types of practices, through use of reflective writing, to connecting with others for input. The creative process include a community component that often is overlooked. Yes, we share our creative expression. And often others believe one has to critique it in someway. McNiff opens the reader to the concept of Witnessing. This is to practice the compassionate understanding of what it took to complete this work, from the materials to the time, the discovery, etc. As well as to practice compassion with one’s self in completing their own work. There is no one right way to view a piece of work. McNiff calls attention to the shadow side of the creative world. I appreciate his Jungian approach for the reader to become aware of our shadow, not to fear it or avoid it, but to accept it as part of ourselves. And to see the message or insight it might bring to one’s life and work. Some of these may become blocks. To know how first how to recognize a block (most often perfectionism) as well as how to work through them. It is through a commitment to become diligent to learning these skills. These skills are also essential for keeping a bigger picture for life. To understand the influences of our enculturation, as well as the impact of unawareness has on the creative potential.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Imagination in Action for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.
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These are my daily writings for the 100 day project.