Today was the long awaited Creativity Conference, which took place at St Thomas’ Cathedral in Old Portsmouth. It was a legacy from the Creative Partnerships programme, which I used to work for, as a Creative Agent and you can look back through previous posts to find out more about that work.
However, it was something that happened during the afternoon that I want to reflect on here, and that was the address given by Kristen Birkland from the Kaospilots.
She talked about creativity and ways of nurturing creativity. She used a creation story to illustrate how and where creativity can be seen and understood, and the commentators and people on twitter quite rightly commented that she ‘mesmerised’ and ‘captivated’ the audience.
Having visited Aarhus and the Kaospilots school myself last year, I was forcibly reminded of my visit there, and it felt to me like suddenly breathing in again after having held my breath for a long time. I don’t know if you’ve ever done that: held your breath without realising it, because you were concentrated or absorbed by something. Not for any length of time, but just a few moments, until you suddenly realise what you’re doing – and you breathe in again and feel that life-giving revitalising air swoop into your lungs.
Spending time with the Kaospilots and with other people who have been there – all dreamers in their different ways, is life-giving to me. Food for the soul. And there were a lot of moments in those keynote speeches, when what was being shared really resonated with me…which brings us to the singing bowl.
I daresay you were wondering why I’ve included it? Maybe by now you were inventing your own reasons and theories as to why? The answer is two-fold:
Firstly because Richard Sant, the Director for Creative Enterprise at the University of Portsmouth had one at the conference today, and he chimed it whenever a session was due to finish. And it struck me what a fabulous illustration it is of the second and more important reason:
About how a singing bowl actually works:
The tone is caused by the bowl vibrating. You can see this fairly clearly in the first section of the video when the large bowl is struck. The way in which the bowl is hit or rubbed makes the bowl oscillate – that is it wobbles in a oval shape, and that is what causes the sound. It is a very clear sound and it carries very effectively across a large space.
Much of what I heard today – and particularly in Kristen’s talk, resonated with me. It caused an answering vibration which I heard, felt and understood. And yet I hadn’t appreciated how much I’d missed it, until I heard it again.
The challenge of any conference, training or retreat is: how are you going to apply what you’ve learnt when you get back? How will you make it stick? I think for me, I need to action some things I’ve been mulling over for a while, including writing my paper on education entitled: ‘The Writer, The Illustrator and General MacNamara’, which I’ll post here when its finished. Another action is to work harder at making time to reflect. Making it a priority to create space for daydreaming, doodling, meditating and reflecting. It’s too, too easy to get caught up in the ‘doing’ part, but always far harder to employ the discipline of stopping, pausing and being still.
Perhaps I’d better invest in a singing bowl while I’m at it…?