Where do ideas come from?
What’s the source of invention, when you start from nothing?
Why does inspiration just seem to… well, inspire us (from nowhere)?
We’ve been looking at these and other (deeply philosophical, with a serious face) questions while coaching and supporting our clients in the first stage of brand building.
The answer to these questions is not so much where, what, and why but how. If we can work out the how then getting the other answers does not matter.
Hang with me on that one.
LET’S TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
I am in the middle of a forest in Crowsnest Pass about ten years ago.
I have been there for minutes or hours, I cannot tell.
I remember the late afternoon sun flickering between fir branches and dancing shadows through the translucent parchment skin of my drum.
At that moment, I downloaded the images of answers to questions I never thought to ask.
In that stillness, I became the open vessel to receive visions – information that later became invaluable to me in making decisions for my life path. I surrendered and became available to hear the universe talking.
You have had the same moments, maybe rare in life, but indelibly impressed on your parchment map.
Now, let’s journey from the primal Canadian forest to Burbank, California.
I remember doing a ceremony to mark the passing and burial of a great friend, an artist who had emigrated from the USSR and made his name painting for the stars in LA.
It was at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills overlooking the Valley… home to both Disney and Pixar. As his spirit moved on, I tapped into his heart, the hearts of artists everywhere, and the magic they create.
The clearing for a vision that I experienced and the dream time that artists travel to had one thing in common: They are a very real access to the source of creativity.
We often call it imagination. Never doubt the power of tapping into it. It is bigger and richer than Dingman Discovery No. 1 and the Federal Reserve System. Moreover, it is an infinitely renewable resource.
In fact, it is a resource so abundant that you can build empires out of it and then just buy Darth Vadar.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Disney is the 2nd largest media conglomerate in the world with 200,000 employees, $100 billion in assets, $50 billion in revenue yearly. Now it owns Woody, Wolverine, Kermit and even Yoda. Disney is built on imagination, and as they trademarked it… Imagineers.
Now, let’s come back to this time and space to explore how we get access to visions and dreams that can source a business of that scale.
THE POOL: SOURCE OF CREATIVITY
Before we can make use of any vessel, including our mind, we need to confront that there’s an infinite richness to the ocean we dip into.
In an age over-invested in protecting IP assets and our asses, we often miss the sheer volume of creative currency that’s flowing between the universal banks.
Creativity is bigger than the information age itself. It makes Google look like Webster’s.
As a human being, you are designed with direct access to that flow. Like a data plan with no limits, no contracts, and no deceitful clauses.
Here’s the best part: You are the “I” in idea, invention, inspiration and imagination. More precisely it is your inner eye (and ears) because to play outside all you have to do is go inside.
COLES NOTES ON CONSCIOUSNESS
“Dreams are the guiding words of the soul. Why should I henceforth not love my dreams and not make their riddling images into objects of my daily consideration?”Carl Jung
Jung called it the Collective Unconscious.
The universal web of all information and each of us is connected wirelessly.
The difference is we are not conscious to being connected most of the time and certainly not conscious as to how it influences us.
The collective unconscious is the source of all our archetypes and myths, the cosmos of symbology that has informed every major spiritual tradition and comic book superheroes on the planet.
Let’s connect the dots to complete this: Jung influenced his contemporary Joseph Campbell.
Campbell influenced George Lucas with the concept of the monomyth, the universal story of the human journey.
Lucas created Star Wars out of it. Moreover, as Yoda would say, “bought it, Disney did, four billion.”
VISION-QUESTING: SEEKING ANSWERS WITHIN
“Our demons are our own limitations, which shut us off from the realization of the ubiquity of the spirit … each of these demons is conquered in a vision quest.”
There are forms of vision quests in every culture and tradition, from the Amazon rainforest to the First Nations across Canada and the Buddhist monasteries of the Himalayas.
In its simplest form, the vision quest is an inner meditation, grounded in intent and partnership with the universe.
In more demanding forms, there are extreme rites of fasting, solitude, exposure to nature and even full immersion in the elements.
You usually need to lose yourself to find yourself or, said another way; you need to die to become alive.
There’s no mud or blood in the board rooms where we introduce this to our clients.
We take our clients on a simple journey, a conversation free from the constraints of the present, a purposeful walk into the imagined future, a guided journey, grounded in intent and a powerful listening by our team.
If a client surrenders and they always do because we are human, then the images form and a valuable download begin.
Trust and openness are the foundations. Resistance is futile when fun rules.
DREAM-CATCHING: DOWNLOADING A FUTURE
“All men dream: but not equally… the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” T.E. Lawrence
There’s a big difference between dreaming at night and in the day. There’s more light in the day. Conscious or lucid dreaming actually sheds light on the unknown or the invisible aka the future.
Again, the medicine and shamanic traditions across the world have used the practice of conscious dreaming to bring clarity, resolution, and focus.
And again, we can thank Disney for honoring this timeless practice on the big screen in Moana.
Not only does Moana discover her roots in the wayfaring traditions of her ancestors, but in the same dream, she catches a glimpse of where she needs to venture into the future. Her mission and her path become clear.
In the same way, our team paints the dream that is created by our clients as they look at where they are going from high in a blue sky, much like Maui’s shapeshifting antics into the eagle gave him true perspective.
Blue sky, blue ocean… these are the carriers and currents of dreams. It takes some bravery to set sail and then trust to let the magic show up (just ask Walt).
IT’S MICKEY MOUSE
Creative expression needs no evidence or validation – you simply create. So give yourself some freedom if you want to take this journey on your own.
Here are some key principles to support you:
1) Relax – find a dark room, a cave or the shade of a tree,
2) Retreat – you will win the war by walking away from the battle, and
3) Record – trust what you get because it might only make sense later!
4) Remember – your answers are in your questions; your solutions are in your problems, and your future is in your dreams.
It is not Mighty Mouse who rules here. It is Mickey.
All media character names referenced here are ™ and © by their respective parents (in most cases, Walt).
COME DREAM WITH US
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