All creativity begins with the moment of conception.
That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.
And so, in this blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.
Today's clip comes from the yoga scene in Forgetting Sara Marshall:
Buried under layers of defensiveness. What bothers me is when people come through the door fists and hearts first, armed to the teeth with an arsenal of excuses, ready to shoot down every opportunity that comes their way. At the yoga studio where I work, new students drop in every day with stars in their eyes, claiming that they really do want to try it, but it’s just that they have sciatica and they don’t like the heat and it’s really expensive and their asthma might flare up and it’s such a big time commitment and work is crazy right now and if only they could convince their husband to come with them, then maybe they would commit to thinking about possibly considering the slim chance of potentially never going. Drives me crazy. Not to be insensitive about people’s life situations, but if they really wanted to do it, they would have done it by now. That’s how motivation works. There’s no preheat setting. You either do something, or you do not. But the liberating part is, I’m no longer in the business of convincing people. It’s not my job to overcome people’s objections about why they can’t do things. Because the minute you say yes to someone, suddenly, you just inherited all their problems. It’s a boundary thing. If you don’t set them for yourself, other people will set them for you. Who is currently violating your boundaries?
Treat yourself as you wish to be treated. The problem with working alone is, there’s nobody around to beat you up, so you end up beating yourself up. Being way to hard on yourself. Even telling yourself things that you would never allow somebody else say to you. It’s tricky. Because on one hand, you need to be tough on yourself for the sake of motivation and accountability and productivity. Nobody else is going to hold your feet to the fire. On the other hand, you don’t want criticize your work to the point that you scare yourself out of creating it. You want to love yourself. Yoga is actually the perfect arena to practice this balance. Because every time you execute a posture, you reckon with reality. You align yourself with things that will never lie to you, like gravity and biology. And some days, you can barely lift your knee to your chest, feeling like an inflexible failure. But other days, you can twist your legs into a pretzel like a olympic competitor. And you feel like a champion. Either way, you always love yourself. You treat yourself as you wish to be treated. And you confront yourself without condemning what you see. Because you’re just going to be back on the mat tomorrow, doing the work again. No need to beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Life will do that for you. How do you try to get beyond your judgmental attitudes
The power of reverse providence. Learning to live with uncertainty is part of becoming a complete artist. That’s all creativity is anyway, one neverending act of trust. And no matter how successful you get, it never goes away. Kind of like that dream I always have. The one where I’m trying to do something incredibly simple, like cross the street or drive to the store or get to my next class on time, and the entire world stands in my way. It’s this sick form of reverse providence, where the world seems to be orchestrating the ideal conditions to prevent me from reaching my goal, creating a web of incidents and meetings and material assistance whose sole purpose in life is hold me back. I hate this dream. It makes me feel helpless and incompetent. And every time it recurs, I wake up short of breath and frustrated. But what’s strange is when the dream manifests in real life. Like when I wake up refreshed and energized and ready to take on the world and the stupid internet doesn’t work and I have to walk down the street to a coffee shop but then their internet doesn’t work and it feels like I’m trapped in my own time loop nightmare. God damn it. I suppose, however, that this is one of those moments where I have to own the process as life. Where I have to accept the fact that waiting in line to get into the stadium is just as important as the game itself. Life is the line. There’s nowhere to get to. This is it. This is as good as it gets. There’s no future. All we have is right now. Are you still hoping for a certainty or clarity that is simply never going to exist?
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