Creative Status: Episode 18: Mari Reisberg: Building a Real Life via Creative Moments

So life is just a series of MOMENTS… ?

…and the moments are just made up of our CHOICES.

It’s kinda simple when you look at it like that (because it is) but that doesn’t always make it easy.

Making REAL choices in an UNREAL world can often be the hardest battle we all face.

But even though it’s ‘hard’ that doesn’t mean it’s not WORTH it and – no matter who you are or what your life looks like right now – you still have some POWER to choose real moments for yourself.

It might start with something ‘small’ (though still amazing in the scheme of things) like just pausing the broken record of thoughts in your mind to watch the rain on the window or the rustle of he wind in the trees.

It might be something ‘massive’ (but still small in the scheme of things) like building your own house or expressing yourself through some mad performance.

Either way – no matter what size it might seem to others – in those MOMENTS you have chosen something REAL over something unreal and that’s how you start moving towards WHOLENESS and feeling the flow.

Mari Reisberg is a Creativity Coach and the host of the Sustaining Creativity Podcast. She also works as a therapist and is a performer and nature lover who works to help people reclaim their creative power.

After hearing Mari’s podcast, I thought it might be interesting to turn the table and ask her a few questions about her creative work and how she uses creativity as a vehicle for helping people to navigate themselves and the world. Turns out that was a good idea because we got some really great insights in this conversation.

Give it a listen if you need some creative motivation and want to bring more creativity into your day to day life without shaking things up too much or being too dramatic (unless that’s how you wanna roll, of course).

We cover all kinds of interesting and practical ‘stuff’:

-What exactly creativity even is.
-How you can improve your life right away by looking for creative ‘moments’.
-The link between safety and the creative process.
-How joy fits into all this.
-Loads more.

Definitely a motivating episode that brings it back to the basics and will help you build something real!

Listen using the player above or on any podcast platform!

(Scroll down for show transcript)


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Show Transcript: Building a Real Life via Creative Moments


Oli Anderson: Oh hi there, Oli Anderson here, you’re listening to Creative Status.

If you don’t know, I’m an author, I write books about being real and deconstructing your ego and facing your shadow self so that you can become more connected to yourself and life and grow more whole as a person, tune into your true values and intentions.

This podcast is about creativity and how you can use the creative process in order to basically become more real, face all of your illusions that you might have about yourself, see what’s blocking you and stopping you from living the life you actually want to live. Today’s episode is an interview with Mary Riesberg. Mary also has a podcast about creativity called sustaining creativity. I thought it would be really interesting to turn the tables and to ask her some questions. So that’s exactly what happens in this interview that’s about to come up.

We explore all kinds of things, we go down a lot of different rabbit holes, we look at what exactly creativity is, how people can be more creative, how you might need to tap into the present moment in order to facilitate that unblocking or that process overall.

Basically there’s loads of stuff going on and I’m sure that you’ll get some value out of it if this is your thing. Other than that, Mary, thank you so much for coming on here, giving me your time, everybody else get in touch if you have any questions or you want to work on any of this stuff and that’s basically it. Here we go and enjoy. Thank you.


Oli Anderson: Oh, hi there, Mary. Thank you so much for joining me today on Creative Status. You are usually on the other side of the microphone because you have a podcast about creativity as well called sustaining creativity. Before I start asking you all these questions that I’ve got lined up, do you feel like you’re introducing yourself and telling us what you’re all about and why you care so much about creativity that you decided to start a podcast?

Mari Reisberg: Absolutely. Thank you, Oli, so much for inviting me to be on the other side of the microphone today.

Yes, I normally host the sustaining creativity podcast. I am a lover of creativity. I use it every day in my own life and support others to find it and awaken it and flex it in their lives. I am a dance movement therapist, a certified creativity coach. I work in addiction recovery and use a lot of creativity in all of the things that I do, but I support performers and non-performers to find creativity and sustain creativity in their life. That’s what I’m all about. Yeah.

Oli Anderson: So a very busy, very creative person. So what is it about creativity that you love so much if it isn’t too general or too broad of a question?

Mari Reisberg: No, that’s perfect. What I love so much about creativity is how it can change your life. There are so many benefits that creativity can provide us, like it helps us navigate and decrease stress in our life. It brings more joy. It increases confidence. It decreases anxiety and depression.

It supports sleep. There have been studies done that show when you engage in creative activity, you actually live longer. So there’s a lot of benefit to flexing and using creativity in your life. And that is why I love it. And it just brings me a lot of joy and I have fun and I love the experience of satisfaction that I get.

You know, there’s a lot of like neurochemicals that are released and that satisfaction dopamine when you complete something or when you make something and can see that completion happen. So I love all the benefits that you get from creativity, but it’s also super fun to be creative.

Oli Anderson:Like when you put it like that, it’s kind of interesting that there are some people out there that maybe don’t like creativity or they think that they’re not creative and they don’t need to get involved in a creative pursuit of some kind.

Why do you think there are some people like that in the world that maybe, you know, they’re too locked within themselves or whatever it is they’ve got going on, where they don’t really appreciate how real and amazing creativity can be?

Mari Reisberg: I love this question. So I think for many people, creativity is only associated with the performing arts and the only people who are allowed to be creative are performers, whether it be dancers, musicians, actors, singers, something in that career world that we call the performing arts. However, creativity is innately part of our human experience. Think of being a kid and and asking a million questions. That is curiosity, which is the part of creativity.

So we all do it and we all have the ability to engage with it. But I think there’s also people who believe that you need a certain special gene to be creative and they don’t have that gene. But the narrowness or the narrow view of thinking creativity and creative people are only allowed to do certain things is so limiting.

So when we can expand that view and say, accountants are creative, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, holy bananas organizing a schedule is pure creativity. Getting children to and from school and fed, that is an act of creativity. Making dinner, pulling things out of the refrigerator and creating a meal or ordering something in and how you put it on a plate is a creative expression.

So when we start to change how we think and view creativity, we start to see how creative we already are in our life and can step away from that very narrow view of what creativity is.

Oli Anderson:  Like everything you’ve said is just so amazing and it opens up so many of the deeper issues around creativity that I tried to explore in this podcast. Main issue, I think, in society is that a lot of people have lost touch with their real humanity. So they’re running around, they’re locked inside themselves, they’re waiting for permission to live their real lives and to do all the things that they truly want to do, live in alignment with their true values and intentions and all this stuff.

And creativity is the thing that just cracks all of that open because like you said, all human beings are creative. Creativity is not special. It’s just a basic human thing that we’ve all evolved and we can all use and we can all flex and we can all develop and the more that we do develop that, the more real we become and the more authentic and amazing our lives will become by extension.

So that’s me getting excited as well and running and raving a little bit. But your definition of creativity that I can kind of pick from everything you’ve said is that it seems to be a lot to do with like solving problems or working with limitations and that kind of thing and finding creative solutions.

Is that the full extent of it or is they multiple as well? Would you say?

Mari Reisberg: I think there’s multiple definitions of creativity because there is that problem solving, active engagement, but then there’s also a generative experience of creativity in thinking up new ideas, whether you put them into action or not is not important because that process of daydreaming is creative. That process of excitement you feel when you are doing something in your life.

Yesterday I needed to shift my mood and I put on some music and danced around my backyard and that was a creative experience and expression and brought me so much joy. So I think there’s a few definitions of creativity. There is a very tangible action oriented component, but then there’s also a very free flowing experience of it that you may not be able to put words on it.

You just have that inner body knowledge. Yeah, like I think that free flow version of creativity is actually the most potent version and I think It’s very healing. So the way that I look at it, like I already kind of said earlier on, is like a lot of people are running around and they’re living as a kind of limited version of themselves. Normally when that happens, it’s because they’ve got some kind of an emotional relationship with themselves, which is causing them to have inner blockages basically. So they create an ego version of themselves.

And then there’s a lot of stuff hidden in the shadow territory, as I call it or in the shadow itself. The creative process is about ultimately getting out of your head and allowing some of the parts of yourself that you might have been hiding to resurface and to be reintegrated and all that kind of stuff. And when you do that and you start flowing in the way that you’re talking about, you can live in a way that’s much more present. You’re more in your body, you’re more in the present moment, all these kinds of things. And I think that’s why creativity can actually be used as a vehicle for allowing us to become a lot more authentic overall.

What do you think about it? Absolutely. I mean, I think creativity is the gateway to authenticity. You find your creative voice, but I think that’s where people get caught and stuck because of our mind saying, oh, that’s not creative or that’s terrible, or we’re just judging it as opposed to getting curious about it. Well, why don’t I like this?

Why do I think this is awful? Being able to ask ourselves those curious questions, I think is so important in keeping creativity alive. But also being really honest in answering those questions is where you discover your own authenticity.

Yes. And I love how you said it’s about removing judgment and kind of being honest with our answers to certain questions. Because ultimately, that’s what it’s all about, accepting every single part of ourselves and accepting life and using creativity as a vehicle to be more aligned with reality or truth or whatever you want to call it.

And the main thing that stops people doing that is the mind stuff, like you said. I think our natural state is to constantly evolve and to keep growing and all these different things. And if we do that, we’re basically flowing with life. But the only thing that stops that is all of the mental chatter, the judgments that you’ve alluded to, the self-limiting beliefs, whatever it is, negativity, all this stuff that we have in our heads that causes us to hesitate and to hold back and to not allow all of this stuff that needs to emerge to emerge. And the creative process is, I think, a way of getting back into that way of being.

Yeah. I think it is and there are things that need to be in place for that creative process to emerge. So many people believe creativity starts with brainstorming a lot of ideas or having a lot of ideas. And I believe that creativity starts with a foundation of safety. When we feel safe enough, like there’s never perfect safety, but when we feel safe enough, we can get to the edge of our comfort zone, which is where creativity comes alive.

And we can start to take small creative risks that continue to build our confidence, that continue to bring us joy. But without that foundation of safety, it’s really challenging to get into that creative process. And when I say safety, I think that is a word many people throw around these days. But the idea is safety has many layers and can be found in many different areas. So if we think mind safety, what are the thoughts I’m telling myself? Is my mind safe? Or time safety? Have I actually scheduled time for myself to do something I enjoy doing?

Maybe I have, maybe I haven’t. And when I get into those thoughts of, I just don’t have enough time to be creative or when there is time, I’m exhausted. So that’s kind of is there safe time? And then what is the space that you have to create in? Is that a safe space? Do you have things that bring you joy or comfort or reminders of who you are as a creative person? So what are your thoughts on the foundation of safety for creativity?

Yeah, I think it is really important. As you were talking, it was making me think about how, you know, I was saying at the start, there’s so many people in society that are kind of locked inside themselves. And actually, a big part of that is because the way that society is structured and the way that so many people are just caught up in the rat race or whatever it is, or they’re just living hand to mouth and all these kind of things. A lot of people don’t have the time or they can’t prioritize their time in such a way where they can dedicate themselves to some of these higher level lofty activities, like figuring out our human values and getting involved in the creative process and all this kind of stuff. And it’s a shame because actually, like we’ve said, everybody actually is creative.

This process that we’re talking about of using creativity to kind of grow and evolve or to solve the core problems in our lives so we can become the next version of ourselves or whatever it is, that is something that all of us would naturally be doing, I think, if things were different and society was structured in a slightly different way, maybe. And I agree, the safety definitely needs to be part of the process because if you don’t have the safety, then of course, you’re going to just have loads of distractions, you’re going to have more stress, and stress is just going to cause you to be, you know, have a lot more mental chatter and to be judging yourself more and to be fearful and panicked and all that kind of stuff.

And so, I think you’re right, obviously 100%, you do need safety, but I also think there’s probably things we can do a lot more than we might initially realize to create a space for ourselves to get involved in that process. If that makes…

Mari: Absolutely, yeah, for sure.

And I think we already, people are already engaging in creativity, whether they recognize it or not.

Oli:  Mm-hmm. If somebody does have a very stressful life, so let’s literally just pick that pieces a little bit. So if somebody’s got a really stressful life, they caught up in a job that they maybe don’t like, maybe they’ve got like three screaming kids, whatever it is, and they just constantly stressed, they can’t find any time for themselves, there’s just the hamster wheel of thoughts going around in their head and they’re never present, they’re never in the moment, how can somebody like that start to get involved in this creative process that we’re on about?

Mari: Mm-hmm. Well, I would start with what are they already doing that we might call creative? Are they organizing three screaming children’s schedules?

Oli: Mm-hmm.

Mari: Can we see that as a creative endeavor? Are we, or are they, you know, having the moment, you know, creativity doesn’t need hours and hours and hours, it just needs a moment. And so what are those moments of taking a pause, noticing birds chirping, or a cloud?

That can be a creative experience and creative moment. And when we start stringing those together, we have more creative opportunities arise.

So I think some of it is pausing, breathing, noticing what is going on. The noticing could be three screaming children, I’m exhausted, and next I have to do that.

However, pausing to notice all those things brings you back to the present moment and to yourself.

Oli: Yeah. I love it.

I love it. I think that what we’re talking about actually is there’s two things going on. There’s a wider definition of creativity than just painting pictures or dancing around or whatever it is. And there’s a process of building on what you need to do to be able to get into the creative flow state that we were on about at the start.

And so if someone is really stressed and they don’t think they’ve got any time or anything like that, actually, if we take this very, very wide definition of creativity, it’s just been anything that allows you to get more closely aligned with the truth or with reality or whatever you want to call it, then meditation or pausing and just taking a moment or feeling grateful about life or whatever it is that you do, all of those little things that take you out of your head and put you in the moment, they’re the first step to getting involved in the process, something like that.

And so like you said, you can make an active effort to do that. And then over time, if you do that enough, you get out of the survival mode or the survival mindset that people find themselves in. And then you can start using the creativity to maybe thrive and move forward in your life as well. That’s when you have to change things. You have to mix things up, maybe.

Mari: Yeah.

I mean, I think there’s, I read something fairly recently about slowing down actually helps your, you increase productivity. Yeah. So yeah. Yeah. I think it’s like counter and counterintuitive in our minds of like, if I slow down, there’s no way I’m going to be more productive.

Yeah. And yet when we actually slow down, there is something about how our focus changes. We, the cortisol shifts in our system, that stress hormone. And so we’re able to actually get more done and feel less scattered when we slow down. Yeah. But it feels very counterintuitive to what we think.

Oli: Yeah. Like, believe it or not, I was talking to somebody about this yesterday, that slowing things down actually speeds up your results. And the reason is, I think, is because when you slow down and you’re in the present moment, well, if you’re making better decisions basically, or you can make better choices, because all that really happens when you are caught up in that hamster wheel of thoughts that makes people panic and try to rush and try to get results is that you create friction between you and life or you and reality or whatever.

And reality is the only place where you actually can get the results. And so by slowing down, you’re actually more equipped to respond to what’s going on instead of just reacting to things that you think are happening, but are actually just the products of your stress and anxiety and that kind of thing. Yeah. Yeah. Totally.

Yeah. And so the first step on this creative journey is that slowing down. So something I’ve heard you talking about, like very recently, because you told me about 10 minutes before the call or something, is the idea of the creative flexing. So how can the creative flex help people with some of this stuff? So somebody is one of these really harried, stressed out people and they want to start bringing more creativity into our life.

And then to stand it, how can flexing help them in your terms or your philosophy? Whatever we call it.

Mari: Yeah. So what I see creativity is a skill we can learn, but you have to use it. So you have to flex it like a muscle. Like if you wanted to build a muscle, you would go and do specific moves to build that.

And you would have to do it regularly and consistently. Creativity is the same. So if you want to build more creativity in your life, you start by doing small things that help you flex that creative muscle. And this isn’t about doing additional things in your life.

It’s looking at the things you’re already doing as creative expression and creative experience and maybe taking a little, a few more moments with the things that you are doing to see them as a creative experience. So for example, we all get dressed in the morning, right?

Oli: Speak to yourself. No, I’m dressed. I’m dressed.

Mari: I’ll change it. Many of us get dressed in the morning and many of us have multiple options of what to put on. Maybe you’re pulling things out of a closet or a dresser or a hamper. And when you pause for a moment and think about So, how do I want to feel today with these clothes I’m going to put on my body?

That’s a creative moment. How am I putting together an outfit that I want to share with the world if I go out in the world or just have for myself? Maybe I’m feeling like I need some connection to family members and so I might wear something that someone gave to me and recognizing that that is a creative moment but it’s not an additional moment. It’s the moment was going to happen anyway but I’m looking at that moment through the creative lens and allowing my creative muscles to flex in that moment.

Oli: Wow. So, is it fair to say that that kind of creativity at the most basic level is just about the choices that we’re making? So, we either make a creative choice or we just do what we would normally do or we act on autopilot or we’re just unconscious of what we’re doing and that is not a creative choice. Can we say that?

Mari: That’s a good question.

Would I say it? I think, yeah, the difference between mindful moments and mindless moments. Okay, well.

They aren’t, I don’t think one is better than the other. We go through life making mindless decisions all the time. Yeah. You know, if you’ve ever sat and eaten or opened a bag of potato chips and then eaten the whole thing and thought, how did that happen? You know, that’s a mindless choice. However, that mindful choice in those moments I think is what differentiates bringing creativity to the forefront as opposed to having it just sitting in idle in the background.

Oli: Wow. So, actually then the question now becomes like in terms of creativity and making choices, I know you’ve just kind of like talked about it a little bit, but what makes those creative choices real or more creative ones? Like what’s going on in those moments?

Mari: Yeah, I think being able to look at something as creative or just being curious about it. You know, I read a statistic not too long ago that the average five-year-old asks 120 questions a day. The average 40-year-old asks four. So, we stop asking questions and we stop being curious, you know, in the span of 35 years. And so, how can we bring some more curiosity to our present moment, our present life? You know, sure, it’s exhausting to get curious sometimes and we don’t want to and that’s fine. However, making the choice to be curious about something. Well, why do I want to try this?

Or why doesn’t this make sense? What could I learn here?

Oli: It’s about getting out of your conditioned or habitual way of doing things and kind of opening things up basically. So, you can make a choice to do something different just for the sake of it or because it’s playful or you’re going to enjoy doing things different or because you might learn something different. Or there’s another element as well which is you kind of alluded to it when you were talking about the clothing thing.

But sometimes you might make a choice because you want to express a certain message to the world or something like that or a certain image of yourself or a certain idea or something like that. So, I suppose they could be six different things going on but actually the creative part of it is that you understand your reasons for doing things basically. We’re not just caught up in just mindlessness like you said and we’re not just acting like a robot. We’re really just responding to the present moment again basically.

Mari: Absolutely and to add, our brains are designed to follow the path of least resistance.

We like familiar. We like that and so it’s going to take some effort to do things differently and once we start building those new neural pathways and neural networks, then those pathways will become the least resistant pathways but it does. It will take some effort and energy from you actively doing things differently or thinking about things differently.

Oli: Yeah. And I think that’s where this comes on to the kind of mindset required for being creative. So I personally think like if we keep growing in the sense of kind of pushing through that habitual way of doing things, stretching ourselves, getting out of the comfort zone and then creating a new comfort zone basically and evolving and going deeper into ourselves and life and blah blah blah.

If we live like that, then we can spend more time in the creative flow state that we’ve talked about. But like you said as well, it’s kind of hard to do that. And most people because of our biological wiring are conditioned to resist that actually, because like you said, the brain in order to conserve resources just wants everything to be the same as it always is.

So it doesn’t have to keep making these new connections and evolving and changing and so on and so forth. And so actually, even though we feel better by pushing through that biological wiring and to make sense of social conditioning, our natural tendency is to resist it, which is why we become less creative and just get caught up in the same old way of doing things.

So again, I’ve been long winded, I’ve had it. What is the mindset required? Or what can we do?

What qualities do we need to develop maybe in order to kind of live in that more creative way, even though it is slightly more difficult? But actually, sorry to interrupt you there, it’s only more difficult in the long term. In the long term, it is the beneficial way to do things. In the short term, of course, it’s not.

Mari: Exactly. I mean, I think the biggest is curiosity, developing curiosity, asking questions, wondering, daydreaming, what would it be like if, you know, those are some pretty non-invasive ways to start flexing creative thinking and shifting your mindset to align more with creative thought and creative thinking.

But there are also so many exercises that you can engage with to start to develop more creative thinking opportunities. Yeah, so like there are so many exercises out there that you can do on your own through a coach through, you know, how are you having more creative thoughts faster?

Because creativity is a very valued skill in the industrial world right now.

Oli: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s true. Like it’s the most valued thing, I would say. How do you think people’s emotional lives play into this?

So one thing I always think about most human beings is that they’re all dealing with some kind of emotional ;stuff’. It’s usually shame. And the shame causes them to kind of fear uncertainty and to doubt themselves basically.

So a lot of people are running around with doubt and a fear of uncertainty. But actually, in order to get all the long term benefits of living in this creative way, you have no choice but to go through uncertainty and doubt to some extent because the creative process is about evolving beyond what you already think you know.

Mari: Yeah, I mean, uncertainty is the status quo.

I think we forget that and we forget that uncertainty is where we all live. We don’t know. I mean, we do not know what will happen next. We just know at some point, we will die. We don’t know when, you know, so the uncertainty may be very morbid. I apologize.

Oli: No, no, no. That’s basically my favorite topic. It’s true. Yeah, yeah. That’s one thing we can all agree on. So it’s the best starting point. And it means that everything is changing. Everything is evolving.

And so you need to go with that really if you want to live a real life. Don’t get me started about death. But yeah, we’re all going to be dead one day.

It’s fantastic news. And in the short term, you need to embrace change as you move towards it. But a lot of people, a lot of people resist the change.

So why is that?

Mari: Why do we resist change? Because it’s scary.

We don’t feel safe in change. We like certainty. We need to know something is certain before we risk it because what would happen if we made the choice to risk it all and lost it, lost it all. So I think it really comes back to safety. How do you have that foundation of safety so you can take a risk? And I’m not talking about big, huge risks.

These are small risks. Asking someone out on a date, that’s a risk. Rejection. I think the fear of rejection keeps us from taking action in so many areas of our life.

And creativity can help you navigate rejection in a more playful way, in a fashion of curiosity, and creativity allows you to reframe it in your mind. When we reframe failure to learning, what did I learn? I think if I were to break this down, it’s super important to acknowledge what it feels like to fail. What emotions come up when you fail.

What is the dialogue or narrative story that’s happening in your mind? Feel all of it. Notice all of it. Be really mindful of it. And then get curious about it. So what did I learn in this moment? What lesson could I take and maybe change when I try it again?

When we fail the first time, often we just want to give up, throw in the towel. In the world of psychology, we call those cognitive distortions. That all or nothing thinking, personalizing, these are all cognitive distortions.

And we can easily get caught in them thinking they are real and factual and the only way. So when we bring creativity to those moments and say, wow, I’m really curious, what can I do differently next time? Or how, what did I learn about myself from this process and from this experience? And did I like it? Did I hate it? Was it fantastic?

Was it terrible? Maybe I’m noticing all the judgments about myself. Oh, I wish I hadn’t done XYZ. Okay, next time I’m gonna be a little more mindful about that and try it again. And maybe I’ll practice a little bit more before I put it out there.

Oli: Yeah, yeah, I love it. Like that’s the, it’s going back to what we were saying about the creative process is a healing process. And the reason that it’s healing is, I think anyway, if you feel like you need to evolve and to become more whole because there’s something wrong with you or you’re not getting the results that you want or you just always stress that you hate your life or whatever it is.

Normally there is some shame and other emotional stuff that is driving you to distort your view of reality, basically. And as you go through the creative process, like you just said, okay, you improve your relationship with yourself, but what is actually going on? Well, what’s actually going on, I think, is that all of those distortions and the veil that they put between you and reality is being reconfigured so you can just see things more clearly.

And when you see things more clearly, two things happen. The first thing that happens is you become more accepting of yourself and the world, I suppose, and reality. You accept yourself because you can, you realize all these distortions were just bullshit, basically, pardon my French. And then the other thing that happens as a consequence of that is you can live in a more outcome-independent way.

So outcome independence is basically, I’m sure you already know, but for the listeners, it’s this experimental way of just living and doing things and you’re not investing your self-worth in the results that you get as you go out and try to achieve things. The short version of it is just do your best and forget the rest, but you can only do your best and forget the rest if your emotional relationship with yourself isn’t too distorted anyway because of the shame and all those kind of things. So is there something here then about the judgment thing?

Like the main problem seems to be judgment because we distort reality, which causes us to judge ourselves based on the results we get and we judge life anyway, because we think if we get certain outcomes, then that somehow reflects on our self-worth when actually our levels of self-acceptance should always be optimal anyway because we’re just all amazing. So the problem I think is judgment, we judge life, we judge ourselves, I’m not good enough to recreate, blah, blah, blah, you know what I’m saying?

So what do you think about that? Well, first of all, if it were so easy, we would all be doing it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s not easy. It’s not easy. I mean, we have to know what we’re doing before we can change it. So that’s where the mindful awareness comes in. You have to know that you’re having judgment thoughts or catching your judgment thoughts, but I wanna remind listeners, a judgment thought can be a negative or a positive. Judgments are both.

So I can love something is a judgment thought as well as I hate something is a judgment thought. So stepping outside of those judgment thoughts is around checking your facts. What are the facts of the situation? The fact isn’t I love it or hate it, that’s my opinion, that’s my judgment, which we are 100 % allowed to have.

The facts would be I walked across the street and someone I don’t know said something to me. Those are the facts that if a group of people watched a video could all agree on. The other fact would be I had a judgment thought, but the experience is my experience. It’s not a fact. It’s not something that a group of observers would know. That makes sense?

Oli: Yeah, yeah, yeah, 100%.

So I always think there’s the difference between reality itself or the facts they said, and then our interpretations that we put on them. And then those interpretations are almost always informed by the stuff we talked about, like the shame and everything that’s causing us to distort reality and to create a little version of ourselves, the ego, whatever you wanna call it, that we cling to to avoid all of the emotional stuff. And then we filter basically everything through the ego is how I see it.

So we filter all our interpretations, we filter our judgments, blah, blah, blah, so that we can stay the same ultimately. And so like I agree completely, but the slight difference maybe, I think judgments, yeah, they are good and they are bad, but actually reality itself is kind of neutral.

So… When you step out of all judgments and this matrix or web or whatever you want to call it, of duality that we project over things because of our emotional relationship with ourselves and our needs need to interpret everything, like we have to make interpretations obviously, or we go back.

Yeah, but when we attach to those interpretations and those judgments, actually, that’s what is part of the thing that causes the blockages from flowing in the way that we need to. And so when you have these peak experiences or when you’re just in the present moment dancing around in your garden or, you know, me doing yoga or meditating or whatever it is, when you have those moments, you actually step beyond any judgment or any duality, I think, and the creative process is moving you towards that place, whatever that place is.

And I don’t think we can, we can’t live there all the time in this non-dualistic place, but we can taste it more and more. And the more we taste it, the more we remember who we are, I think, and then the easier life becomes or maybe not easier, but the more enjoyable, something like that.

Mari: Yeah, we start experiencing pleasure in our life and experiencing joy in new ways. Absolutely. I agree.

Oli Do you think joy is just the absence of judgment? Like, is that all it is? Like, when we’re just enjoying ourselves, there’s just, that’s it, we’re just accepting life.

Mari: That’s so great. I’ve never thought of it that way, that joy is just an absence of judgment. Huh, I don’t know. Yeah, I’m curious about it for sure.

Oli: We’re going down a lot of rabbit holes. So, okay, so how does all this come together? Because obviously we’ve spoken about a lot of things in a very short amount of time. We’ve covered creativity itself as a definition, like all these kind of obstacles people are going to face and maybe the mindset they need to cultivate in order to go through the creative journey.

We talked about the safety thing, flexing. Have you got any kind of thing that you want to say to kind of bring all this together or kind of maybe wrap it up?

Mari: Yeah, I think just a reminder that creativity can start small.

It doesn’t have to be a huge creative flex or creative expression. It can be very, very small and non intimidating. And no one else has to know that you’re doing it. You don’t have to share it with anyone else.

Just that reminder that it doesn’t have to be a presentation for others. It can be a very personal, private experience that you have with yourself. Because that is life. It’s your journey. It’s no one else’s journey. There’s a freedom in giving yourself permission to try something new, something small that you’ve always wanted to try and see what happens. Going in with an openness to explore and be curious and learn something.

Creativity really comes alive with learning and allowing yourself to fully learn something new. It could be crap, but you could be terrible at it. That’s okay too. But it’s okay to be a beginner.

I think we forget that. I think many people assume they have to be perfect at it the first time they go out and try it. And I want to remind everyone it is okay to be a beginner.

Oli: Yeah. I love everything you just said. Ultimately, creativity is a personal thing. The fact that it is so personal shows actually that creativity and life are inherently linked.

Your relationship with creativity is your relationship with life. It always goes back to the most personal level of where you are now, what you need to learn, what you are learning, where you’re going and all these kinds of things. By having this attitude that you’re talking about, I’ve seen yourself as a beginner basically.

Just experimenting and not worrying if you make mistakes and ETC, it allows you to live a better life because you’re just becoming more aligned with what life is.

Mari: Absolutely. Nice wrap up. Thank you.

Oli: I couldn’t have done it without you in your little summary at the end. This is actually amazing for me because normally I struggle to keep things on time, but it looks like I’m about to do it.

That’s good news for me. Yes, I’ll go celebrate now. I know you just wrapped up, but have you got any final words before we both die?

Have you got a website or anything like that that you might like to share with people so you can tell people where they can find you?

Mari: Absolutely. My final words. Come find me on social media. I am at sustaining creativity on Instagram and Facebook and TikTok. My website is You can find my podcast, sustaining creativity podcast on my website or literally wherever you listen to podcasts. I would love for listeners to go check it out and comment and like it. If you have any questions about creativity, I love answering them and do quite a bit of it on Instagram.

So send me messages and I will happily respond. Go try something creative or look at something as creative that you’re already doing. That’s a great place to start.

Oli: I love that idea of just reframing it because people are more creative than they think. I’ll share all your links and everything in the show notes, but thank you so much for coming on here and listening to me ramble and going down all these different rabbit holes and everything. I had a really good time and I’m really happy that we had this conversation. So thank you so much.

Mari: You are so welcome and thank you. I had a blast. I love talking about creativity. So thank you for the opportunity

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