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extracts from creative regeneration chapter one

'Apart from all religious considerations, there is actually and literally more life in our total soul than we are at any time aware of' (William James)


'Creative Regeneration is a way to plug into your natural state through creativity - and plug into creativity through your natural state. If you need to access your strength and inspiration after a period or even a lifetime of depletion, if you tend to give a lot, and/or try and change the world, and end up running out of juice yourself, this could be for you.



Creative regeneration works from 4 basic principles: 1. there's a natural state and it feels good. It's characterised by bliss, and power, the kind that you can feel running like a current underneath other less pleasant emotions. It feels good simply to be alive. You feel energy and agency, you feel fed and resourced and able to give. The natural state isn't just individual bliss. Its essence is compassion. Your needs are simply not cordoned off from the needs of other people, animals, plants, or the whole eco-system. This isn't an abstract world view. As indigenous people understand, damaging what we call 'the environment' is like cutting off your own arm, or choking yourself. It's a practical approach to life. The natural state isn't an attainment, or an achievement to be worked for, or awarded. It's the baseline. It's your birthright. It's a necessity for us all.


2. everything is energy – you hold yourself apart from it at your own cost.

of course you can't really do any such thing. You're constituted by the energy, it would be treating yourself as if you were separate from your own cells. Nonetheless, you can try your damnedest to be different, or you might have been exiled from feeling this energy by traumas of various kinds, and this causes a state of internal tension and estrangement. This state sometimes gets called anxiety, or depression.


3. you separate yourself from the natural state when you identify with a solid, defined 'self'.

this is Buddhist wisdom – believing that you have, or are, a 'self' is an illusion. When you believe that you're making a solid, separate entity, where in reality, there isn't one. Because it's not true, it's tiring. Because it's not true, it leads to confusion. 4. everything inter-affects everything else you can't make a single move without affecting everything else, to some extent, and nothing that you do is actually separate from anything that has happened before. This may sound a bit crazy, but follow the chains of cause and effect yourself, and see where they end. Where's the place where they could end? What's the reason that they should?


5. the next step comes by itself

you don't have to work it out with your mind alone. In life or in whatever your artform is – playing like a child, writing, painting, dancing, singing, rock-climbing, walking in streams...


How to get out of the blocked and depleted state, then, and into the natural one?


spontaneous natural action – not reaction


there aren't too many exercises in creative regeneration. Exercises are designed to provoke reactions. However valuable reactions might be, ultimately they just distract you from the source. The source is a well of energy to draw on not necessarily physical. On the material level you might be exhausted, or ill. But the energy that normally gets pushed into objections to the situation, escaping, fearing or controlling it can always be, to some degree, released. Sometimes that release only goes as far as acceptance of the pain or the low energy condition. But lack of resistance makes a crucial difference. The primary concern during the creative regeneration process is letting go of identifying with things'.


'When you don't have most of your attention pulled into identifying with things, judging, comparing, etc etc, it's a whole different way of living, making and doing. You access the whole complexity of interactions and interrelations between everything in the world that has ever been, that is or is yet to be, and take just what's appropriate for the task in hand, no more no less. That might sound abstract, but it's really the most natural thing in the world. It's how birds build their nests. They don't discuss nest-building or go to workshops to facilitate or optimise the nest-building process. We humans can obviously do much more that act on instinct, and the creation of rules, structures and frameworks to move us forward are brilliant ways of developing human potential. But have you thrown the baby out with the bathwater and forgotten that you do actually know how to build your nest? '




'Remember – there's such a thing as the feel of a process itself and it feels good despite the contents


which is like loving being alive

even when shit is happening

an edge of bliss while angry, sad, in grief...

just to be here and alive'

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