Tag Archives: creativity

After Fear, comes Freedom

The Importance of Recognising Transformational Times

Both globally and personally

This post contains extracts from His Holiness Pope Francis’ TED Talk from April this year, entitled The Future You. 
While I definitely wouldn’t call myself a Catholic (not a fan of all the guilt), Pope Francis’ words really made an impression.
Popey McPopeface

You can feel it, can’t you?

All this pushing and pulling. People everywhere are antsy, curious, frustrated. Seeking something more.

Whichever side or country or party you come from, the dominant sentiment seems to be:

Surely we can do better than this?

 Especially for those who have known nothing but year after year of having their arses kicked by people better off than they are.

As I meet, or lend an ear to those who are sick, to the migrants who face terrible hardships in search of a brighter future, to prison inmates who carry a hell of pain inside their hearts, and to those, many of them young, who cannot find a job, I often find myself wondering: “Why them and not me?” I, myself, was born in a family of migrants; my father, my grandparents, like many other Italians, left for Argentina and met the fate of those who are left with nothing. I could have very well ended up among today’s “discarded” people. And that’s why I always ask myself, deep in my heart: “Why them and not me?”

In nature, there is change.

In nature, a species evolves.

For many of us the natural instinct is to try and get off these shifting sands as soon as possible.  To get back to a place of safety, if we ever had one. There is a certain knowing that something is coming, but an uncertainty as to what that something is. The soul craves for faith, perhaps, in our future. But for many of us, that faith is not only absent, but accompanied by a mounting sense of responsibility, and a desperate need for direction. Taking action means so many different things to so many different people.

Timor-Leste is a country in its infancy. The old meets the new, often with volatile immediacy, and the power of transformation can be seen everywhere.

In art, transformational times can be duplicitous. You are tired of the old. But you are afraid of the new.

If you fight against it, you feel stuck, anxious, wretched. There is a deadness to it. Nothing grows. It’s like banging your head against a wall. The fear of what could go wrong ends up crippling you completely.

But if this transformational state is accepted, embraced, received with gratitude, the most wonderfully intense creativity begins to flow. Places open up inside that you never even knew existed. And that’s when things really start to happen.

As John Cleese says, if you really don’t know how to start, or if you got stuck, start generating random connections, and allow your intuition to tell you if one might lead somewhere interesting.

Some believe that the transformational times we find ourselves in are just another in a series of many. Currently, we can add an ominous sense of urgency into the mix, as the human beings alive today confront the fact that they may be responsible for whether or not our race survives. Parents wonder what kind of future lies ahead for their children. Our situation is unique.

Hope can vanish, especially for those most in need. There is an instinct to protect oneself, to close the door to what’s going on out there, to retreat to safety. To do what you ‘know’ works.

Many of us, nowadays, seem to believe that a happy future is something impossible to achieve. While such concerns must be taken very seriously, they are not invincible. They can be overcome when we don’t lock our door to the outside world.

Happiness can only be discovered as a gift of harmony between the whole and each single component.

Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness.

And this is where the creative fire comes in, in order for us to accept, to embrace, to fully experience this time as a race.

Good intentions and conventional formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough.

In order to do good, we need memory, we need courage and we need creativity. Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude.

Pope Francis is talking about embracing the unknown, letting go of what we have been taught to fear, and entering into a creative phase, together, driven by love.

Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The “you” is always a real presence, a person to take care of.

A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you. And then there will be another “you,” and another “you,” and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?” No. Hope began with one “you.”

When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution.

I hear echoes of Corbyn’s for the many, not the few, in the Pope’s closing words. They are words I hear echoed everywhere. The secret to unlocking the door to our future, lies within every single one of us.

We just need to remember how powerful we really are.

See Ya

Fears We Leave Behind

As the days  pass, it becomes harder to translate what is my personal human experience into words.

Where have I been?

My heart has broken a thousand times and I feel more alive than ever. I have travelled to places I never dreamed I’d go to and met people who were kinder than I thought possible. I’ve been inspired and rejected and loved and hated and surprised and insulted and freed.

And what I’m left with is my own face staring back at me in the mirror. I have left behind the dearest travel companion I ever knew; two people with such strong dreams whose paths are drifting apart for a while. Every day I am strengthened by what he taught me. He helped me to set free the strong, fierce warrior I have inside myself and now I’m running free. No direction, but no fear.

I left part of my soul in Panama. Everywhere I go I am blessed enough to meet people who burn with unbelievable passion. Living souls colliding with mine.

I passed through Portugal and made an album of songs which flowed out of me like water. But it wouldn’t have existed at all if it weren’t for a friend I met in the mountains of the Serra da Estrela, who helped me get really comfortable with my creativity. The more you are true to yourself, it seems, the more your kindred people drift towards you. I know that I am who I am partly because of the spectacular people I have been lucky enough to have cross my path.

And now? Timor Leste,

where bravery runs in the blood.

Many more adventures from the Land of Crocodiles to come

Watch this space for the release date of “Fears We Leave Behind”

Art in this blog by Kakashi Tciar, from his recent solo exhibition at the Xanana Gusmao Reading Rooms

The Common Storm

This is an interesting one.

Usually, when recording, I do a kind of “rough draft” first, getting all the bits in the right places, experimenting, layering tracks. Then, I go back and do it all again, making sure it’s polished, clean and complete.

But it always loses something. It loses the raw energy of the original creative splurge, which gets lost in the quest for recording perfection.

I wanted to post this song in all it’s raw goodness. A lot of it was recorded improvisation. Yes, it ends weirdly. There’s a bit of background noise. And yes, one can hear a jungle bird singing if one listens closely enough.

But I love the energy and the honesty of it.

So my next challenge will be how to keep that energy at the same time as producing a high-quality recording. Which is mostly all about beating “red-light syndrome”; the weird nervousness that sets in when you know you’re recording. I’ll keep you posted. I hope you like the song, and I welcome all manner of feedback.

Thank you to the wonderfully feisty Belen at Pin-ups Cafe in Bocas, who lets me sit for hours in her cafe and feeds me all manner of delectable cakes while I grit my teeth through another Panama-slow upload session. xx

Are you sure? I’m Positive

I am very pleased to have an article currently featured on the Positive News website:

Positive News

about creativity and travel. It was this guy

The Blue Dot Perspective

who gave me the chance to write for Positive News.  Thanks Aaron.

Here is the link to the article

Songs from the Sea

And while you’re there, soak up some positivity. God knows we could all use some.

I have joined the world of published travel writers! May this be the first of many.

Im off to do a small, private happy dance.