Over the past week I’ve had conversations with a few of my very creative friends about how we create. What are the essential elements that support us in being creative in our daily lives?

We are all creative. It’s in our spiritual DNA. So why do so many of us feel creatively anorexic? Why do we deny ourselves that which truly fills us?

When we feel empty–less-than, depleted, not-enough–our true selves go underground. We bury our light deep in a shanty-town of denial, contraction and fear. We barter our sacred creativity for things we hope will make us feel safe, loved, and full, but which never do.

Things like relationships in which we wear false faces. Or jobs which require us to leave our souls outside the door.

We adorn our bodies and ignore the pain they are in. We muffle the cries of our hearts with iPhones and busyness.

We do our best to serve, to love, to create, to give, because this is our true nature, and it won’t be denied.

But we can only give what’s within us. If we’re empty, our giving will be empty too. Or it will be transactional-I will give you x if you will give me y–because our own needs have not been met first.

It takes spiritual maturity to ask for what we need, and to receive it with humility and gratitude. Yet unconditional service always begins with receiving.

When we fill our emptiness with those qualities that support our creative hearts, we enter life’s natural flow of receiving and giving.

The pain of feeling isolated–separate from the world–dissolves as we fill our first chakras from the infinite flow of abundance that circulates throughout the universe.

And once our own first chakras are full, we naturally overflow with generosity. We offer the gift of ourselves–our power, radiance, love, wisdom, support, and yes, creativity-to a hungry, thirsty world.

We become living springs of sweet nourishment. The creative spirit in all of life supports our own creative being, and we in turn nurture life with the flow of our creative hearts.

Every creation exists first in the spiritual and subtle energy realms, which hold the pattern for its perfect unfolding. As we partner with the creative forces of the universe, we become pattern makers.

We help mold and shape the patterns that become visible as the landscapes, cities and homes in which we live; the economies and political systems we are part of; the education and health care we provide; the ways in which we treat our most vulnerable and precious citizens-our elders, our children, our wise and holy fools.

As pattern makers, we are the Sacred at play in the world. Pattern making is an activity as absorbing as the play of a child, who learns about herself and her world through free play.

So much of what I do-in the classes and programs I teach, in private sessions, in writing and thinking about our relationship with the Sacred and with the world around us-is help people create playpens for themselves. To establish boundaries and containers within which it’s safe to play.

Playpens are safe places to explore. To follow your curiosity, wherever it may lead you. To find out what’s on the other side of that horizon. Make messes, have fun, splash around without fear of breaking something, banging into sharp corners or choking on tiny objects.

Playpens can be as big as your heart or your business. They can be as small as the miraculous tip of your little finger.

Playpens house pattern makers. All the most creative pattern-makers I know also create playpens for their clients and students.

My brilliant friend Havi, who teaches Dance of Shiva, the yoga of pattern-making, in her Pirate Playground.

Pam, who helps people escape the cubicles that confine them and weave new patterns for their work and livelihood.

Jen, who offers comfort and creative shelter in her retreats, workshops, books and Comfort Café.

Danielle, whose Fire Starter Sessions are a playpen disguised as a rocket ship.

Jonathan and Michele and so many other powerful, playful, heartful men and women who serve as agents of love, truth and transformation.

We are all pattern makers. And we each play our part in weaving the larger pattern of freedom and creativity, wholeness and truth, play and prosperity.

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