Sridhar Silberfein, Founder of Bhakti Fest, on Bhakti, Humility and Service

In this video you are presented with a wonderful opportunity to watch Sridhar Silberfein converse with Anjula Ram about bhakti, the ego, humility, and being of service. He shares stories about his journey, experience with gurus, and how Bhakti Fest came about and what attendees can expect.

When Sridhar Silberfein escorted the Hindu teacher Swami Satchidananda to the stage at Woodstock to deliver an invocation in front of 500,000 flower children, he came to understand his true purpose in life.

Surveying the crowd, Silberfein turned to the cotton-bearded swami and said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to get all these people chanting the names of God?” Forty years later he did that at Bhakti Fest–the Indian devotional music festival he founded in 2009.

Prior to founding Bhakti Fest, Silberfein founded Desert Essence cosmetics and introduced tea tree oil to the Western market. Silberfein has been closely aligned with Amma, the Indian holy woman known for giving hugs to followers who line up by the thousands for her embrace. When Amma makes her yearly pilgrimage to California, Silberfein hosts her at the center of her U.S. operations.

Mounted twice a year in Joshua Tree, Calif., and now once a year in Madison, Wis., Bhakti Fest has become a fixture of the West Coast festival circuit. The festival brings more than 3,000 for a weekend of yoga, music, chanting, breath work, workshops, and a more-than-healthy dose of kale seaweed salad. As the largest yoga and kirtan festival in the West, Bhakti Fest will be expanding this September to incorporate conscious world music, which is certain to aid towards Bhakti Fest’s continued expansion.

For more info: BhaktiFest.comAnjulaRam.com

Bhakti Fest-compressed

12 Life Lessons I Learned from the Film Frozen

Harlon Agsaoay | Lifehack

Disclaimer: This article has a lot of spoilers in it so if you haven’t seen Frozen yet, you better take a pause from reading this article, watch the movie, and then get back to this piece. You can even start a discussion after reading if you want. 

To say that Frozen is a successful film would be an understatement. With a box office earnings of about one billion dollars, two Academy awards, and a powerful soundtrack that everyone played until they got sick of it (side note: they didn’t get sick of it), the movie won the hearts of everyone who watched it. Also, the fact that it didn’t stick to the Prince-Charming-Saves-Damsel-in-Distress formula makes it more relatable in this age. But apart from the quantifiable success achieved by the animated film, what really made people resonate with Frozen is the life lessons it portrayed. In this article, I listed 12 morals that I personally believe are reflected on the movie and how you can adapt these lessons in daily life.

1. Family comes first.

There are probably no siblings who never had an argument at least once in their lives, but once the dust has settled and they decided that their best playmate is actually their sister or brother, order is restored. Anna may not know in the beginning that the reason why Elsa was cut off from everyone else was because her big sister accidentally put her life in danger, but this didn’t stop her from reaching out to Elsa and from setting off to find her after she left the palace and put Arendelle on a state of eternal winter. Regardless of whom you consider family—whether it’s the ones you share a DNA strain with or the ones whom you choose to call kin—Frozenteaches us to look after each other especially when you know that you’re the only ones who can.

2. Accept your children for who they are.

Elsa and Anna’s parents may have passed away ten minutes to the movie, which was really sad, but they did a fairly great job at raising the princesses to be the loving and well-mannered women they became. The King and Queen did not dismiss Elsa’s powers, and while they evidently believed that it was best for everyone to isolate her until she can control her gift, Elsa’s parents helped her in the best way they can. It can be difficult seeing how your kid is different from other children but one of the best ways to help them is by acknowledging their unique characteristics as a blessing.

3. Never apologize for being yourself.

Unless you take pleasure in making other people miserable, be comfortable in your skin every waking hour of your life. Just look at Anna. She may not exactly be the prim and proper princess we’ve become used to but you have to admit that as far as princesses go, her sense of humor and being adventurous works like a breath of fresh air. Besides, you can’t please everyone, so why bother? For as long as you love yourself enough to show your true colors and not maligning other people’s sensibilities, by all means let your freak flag fly.

4. Just because people shut you out doesn’t mean they hate you.

It doesn’t take rocket science to realize that Elsa didn’t want to stop building snowmen with Anna or to not have a social life. However, her isolation led her to believe that the only way she can protect the people she cared about is by staying away from them. And since Anna had no memory of the accident they had when they were little, she took Elsa’s elusion the wrong way—that she did something wrong that upset her big sister. It took a major confrontation and a slew of icicles before Anna found out why her sister has been locked up in her room for a long time. People who are comfortable with being alone are often mistaken for not wanting to blend with others when in truth they are just enjoying their solitude and that sometimes, you don’t even factor into that equation.

5. Communicate.

In an alternate universe, the catastrophe that happened to Arendelle wouldn’t have happened if only Elsa opened up to Anna; after all she’s the only family left to her. Unfortunately, the young queen chose to bottle up her emotions and would rather deal with it on her own than to drag everyone she loves into the mess that is her feelings. In Elsa’s defense, sparing Anna from getting hurt (or possibly killed) signifies her love for her sister but it took her a near-death experience to realize that she didn’t have to go through all of it alone. The point is this: it’s perfectly all right if you want to spend time wallowing in your sadness but it wouldn’t hurt if you get help from people who are actually willing to give it to you—even if it’s just someone who will listen to you rant.

6. Exercise self-control.

One of the side effects of Elsa successfully shutting people out and suppressing her emotions was the latter’s going beyond her control and blowing up in her face. It also led her to make hasty decisions such as wandering off the forest alone, throwing her sister and company from the castle she built, and nearly killing one of the Weselton Duke’s henchmen. The thing is the more Elsa told herself not to feel, the more she wasn’t able to control her emotions. Despite being overwhelmed by emotions, it helps when you make sense of a situation before making a move. This way, you have complete rein of your feelings because you know what triggers them and therefore make rational decisions based not just on emotions alone but also logic.

7. Be nice to people.

Kristoff learned this lesson the hard way when he called Oaken a nasty name. Granted that he was frustrated with the winter slowing his business down and with the inflation but calling Oaken a crook was uncalled for. Kristoff’s exasperation was of course warranted but what he didn’t consider was the Oaken’s business was also going through the same crunches that his ice business is in. Not getting what you want doesn’t give you the license to be rude to anyone. All of us have our own daily battles to fight and you can do other people and yourself a favor by simply being nice, despite hard times.

8. Channel your emotions in a constructive manner.

There are people who get satisfaction in swearing, breaking things, and hurting others when they are hurt, sad, or afraid. While this can be considered normal by others, it can also be destructive. When Elsa finally let it go, her powers carved the ice-capped mountain with ornate formations and even played God by breathing life to a snowman. However, her contemplating after sending Anna away made the castle dark and full of ice structures worthy of a villain’s headquarters. The point is if you find yourself thinking and feeling a lot of things at a time, you can try to find a way to channel it constructively.

9. Allow yourself to dream.

One of the things that endeared us to Olaf was his unadulterated optimism. Surely he didn’t have any experience with heat but it was his naiveté that affords him to dream big. Olaf imagined a summer where he doesn’t melt, and when he finally gets to experience heat, he didn’t mind staying with Anna even if the both of them were hanging by a thread. If you think about it, these scenes resonate with how people can pursue their dreams—by knowing what it is that you want, doing everything you can to get it, and sometimes even risking your safety just to achieve it.

10. Love doesn’t always happen on the first strike.

The song Anna and Hans shared was definitely catchy and cheesy but the thing is not everyone finds true love on the first take. You may find someone who fits your standards perfectly but they may still not be the one for you—especially if they just want to be with you because of reasons that aren’t love. If you have found the right person for you then hold on to him/her for dear life, but if you have to meet him/her yet, exercise precaution. Ask yourself why you want to be in a relationship and if you’re ready to take on the responsibilities that come along with the intimacy you’re looking for. Don’t sign up for a relationship just for the sake of being in one or to fill some void caused by other things and therefore require a specific solution.

Read the full post here.

Conquering Our Fear Of Death

Shots of Awe | Jason Silva

Man has “a mind that soars out to speculate about atoms and infinity, who can place himself imaginatively at a point in space and contemplate bemusedly his own planet. This immense expansion, this dexterity, this ethereality, this self-consciousness gives to man literally the status of a small god in nature…Yet, at the same time… man is a worm and food for worms.”

– Ernest Becker

CLN RADIO NEW EPISODE: The Dynamics of Sound and the Human Condition with Steven Halpern

Alexis speaks with award winning new age recording artist Steven Halpern about the many dimensions of sound and its impact on the human condition.  You won’t want to miss this one!

Steven Thumbs Up2“There’s more to hear than meets the ear.” This is a phrase coined by award winning new age recording artist and sound scientist, Steven Halpern. This one sentence is a very telling statement.

Although it is well-known that sound has an impact on our emotional state, there’s a much deeper dynamic involved when it comes to the interaction of sound with the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of our selves.

Can certain sounds affect our breathing, our eating habits or even our psychic capacity? Can sound be used in concert with color to heighten a transcendental state? Are there certain tones we can create to induce a more centered and relaxed condition?

Some of the answers you’ll hear may surprise you. Please tune in as we talk with Steven Halpern about these questions and a lot more, right here on Conscious Inquiry, an exclusive presentation of Conscious Life News!




Listen to this episode FREE and ON-DEMAND!

Be sure to tune in to Conscious Inquiry Radio for a new episode twice a month, every month – exclusively presented by Conscious Life News!



From Stand-up to Twitter, A New Generation’s Fresh Take on Storytelling

Sarah van Gelder | Yes Magazine

If we make it through this time of climate crisis and economic upheaval, the new storytellers will deserve some of the credit.

The new storytellers are writers, poets, musicians, documentarians, radio producers, and others who are reporting the story of a new world being built around the frayed edges of the old. It’s a story that is invisible to those stuck in the old paradigm. There is no famous charismatic leader, no single dramatic event signaling the change. Instead, a new society is emerging from the bottom up, born of the hopes and hard work of many people who have been excluded from the old society and who yearn for a more just and life-affirming world.

Arundhati Roy said it beautifully at the World Social Forum in 2003: “Another world is not only possible, she’s on the way and, on a quiet day, if you listen very carefully you can hear her breathe.”

The new storytellers have in common a keen awareness that our society is not working. A key to building a better one is making visible new ways of living that are more just and sustainable.

A Story of Choice

Anthropologist, author, and activist David Graeber, like many of the new storytellers, wears many hats. He helped plan the occupation of Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy movement began, and he is among the organizers of the Rolling Jubilee, a debt-resistance movement that grew out of Occupy.

Debt: The First 5,000 Years , is Graeber’s 534-page tour through the history of debt, showing how it drives and enables war, slavery, and assorted other atrocities. Debt is neither natural nor inevitable.

Graeber and other new storytellers challenge one of the central stories of the dominant world view: that “there is no alternative,” as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher put it.

There’s nothing that says our homes, medical care, and education must be profit centers for financiers. Credit unions, mutual aid, single-payer health care, land trusts, and public funding for high-quality public universities—all are solutions that the new storytellers explore.

“They may live in the city, but they grow their own food…”

AshEL Eldridge (aka Seasunz), hip hop artist, a founder of the four-piece band, Earth Amplified, and one of the new storytellers, wants us to quit killing ourselves with junk food.

In Eldridge’s music video, “Food Fight,” junk-food addicted neighbors awaken from sugar-induced comas and battle the agribusinesses that have taken over the corner market.

People of color and the poor are more likely to live in areas with little access to healthy foods. The new storytellers, though, focus not just on the problems plaguing the downtrodden; they feature people in these communities who are working for change—in this case, working to make sure everyone has access to fresh vegetables.

“They liberate themselves to elevate others. They are healers, revolutionaries, and poets. They may live in the city, but they grow their own food. They work to bring youth in contact with their indigenous ancestors, the wisdom of our elders, and the Earth herself. They are hip-hop AND absorb life from all forms of music, dance, and expression for they know that love is the way even though the paths are many.”

The Universe is Waiting

An igloo-shaped structure sits humming in the lobby at the base of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle. The sound comes from fans that keep the walls inflated. As you bow slightly to enter, it’s as though you are entering a sacred space.

The StoryDome, which hosted some 5,000 visitors during its 2012 Seattle exhibition, is a place to explore the universe. Sit back on cushions and look up as planets, stars, and galaxies fly by. Then watch as our vibrantly colored home, Earth, sweeps into view.

Some stories are best told through experience. The Story-Dome, a project ofNewStories, offers a direct experience of the immensity of time and space, and the extraordinary process that brought about the evolution of life.

“Many of us recognize that we are in a time of great transition, a movement from one belief system to another,” says co-president of NewStories, Lynnaea Lumbard. “The story of the evolving universe offers clues for moving to a life-affirming future.”

It takes participating in stories this big to grasp what we humans are a part of and to come to terms with our responsibility for the future of life on Earth.

Read the full post here.

Visualizing the Future

Gray Scott | The Futurist

From printable foods to rights for robots, science fiction and science fact are becoming harder to distinguish. Both begin with pictures in the mind’s eye.

What if visualization, imagination, and art could change the future? Life imitates art, and life is now imitating science fiction.

Visualize this. Imagine a time in the future filled with “magical” technologies. Vertical farms, teleportation of 3-D printable food, and advanced biotechnology have eradicated hunger around the world. Age reversal has become possible, and human longevity has reached several hundred years. Automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and the new age of advanced self-replicating robots have freed humanity of the archaic idea of work. The word “job” has vanished from the human lexicon. Humans now spend their time in pursuit of higher realms of artistic, cognitive, and scientific exploration.

Imagine a future where we have become a multi-planetary species, with colonies on Mars, Titan, and Europa. Rumors of the first successful time-travel jump are circulating, and humanity finalizes its constitution of “Rules and Ethics of Time Travel.” Teleportation of people and goods has become common, and we are on the verge of becoming interstellar beings. We are projecting our consciousness into the cosmos. We are dancing among the stars.

Sexbots have begun to demand digital rights, voting rights, and the right to unionize. Pure-bio women are electing to use artificial wombs to birth their babies, and an entire generation of women never know what natural childbirth is like.

Advanced robotics and biotechnology in the future have allowed humans to create personal DNA replicant robots, known as clonebotsThese clonebots act as representatives in our absence and have the same rights as the original human. Clonebots have been capped at three per person, except for celebrities, who can pay a clonebot tax for each additional clonebot. The rigid membrane of personhood begins to become more porous in the future. Man and machine have become almost indistinguishable, and we have become transhuman.

This future is a post-privacy age of total cooperative and holistic transparency. Digitally assisted telepathy and brain–computer interface devices have forced hackers, corporations, and governments to drop the veil of anonymity. Nationalism is a thing of the past. The concept of the individual is rejected in many cultures in favor of digital hive mind. Freed from the burdens of maintaining the needs of the individual self, humanity begins to develop at an astonishing rate. Like any other evolutionary process, the future is becoming more complex.

Fiction or Fact? Dystopia Or Utopia?

This future visualization I have just described may sound like science fiction to most people outside of the futures and foresight field, but the fact is, technologists and scientists around the world at this very moment are trying to make these futures a reality. Is this future visualization the future we want for ourselves?

For some, the visualization described above may sound like a dreadful dystopian nightmare, but for others, it may sound like a true utopia. Governments, philosophers, and universities will be debating these scenarios for years. Wars will rage over what direction to proceed into the future, but one thing remains: The future begins to form by visualizing what we want, what we prefer, and what we fear. As philosopher Alan Watts once said, “Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.”

Today, science fiction and science fact are becoming hard to distinguish. Science-fiction writers must almost play in the realm of fantasy to be ahead of our current science. Every new headline sounds like a parody or an April Fools’ joke. I often find myself checking the research from major news sources just to confirm that the stories are real. It feels as if we are slipping faster and faster into the future.

So where do these future ideas emerge from? What is the connection between visualization and the material world? Can we use the power of future visualization to influence our future?

I was first introduced to the concept of future visualization by a private art instructor—a gifted woman in her 60s with an amazing eye for light, color, and design. She talked of seasonal color and light reflected on hard surfaces. She talked of perception, contrast, and the mind’s eye. During our second session together, she leaned in over my shoulder to see what I was sketching and said, “You must see the finished image in your mind first. If you can’t visualize it in your mind’s eye, you will never be able to paint it.”

She asked the students to stop drawing, close our eyes, and “see” the image in our minds’ eyes. I had never heard of the mind’s eye. I had no idea what she was referring to. She began to lead us into a guided visualization. I had never consciously sat and visualized beforehand a picture in my mind. Suddenly, as she was talking, I was able to control the light in the landscape. I could move the sun around. I could change the elevation of the mountains and turn the sky into deep shades of gold and purple. I could see the sunlight reflecting off the water of a brisk stream. I could see the leaves twisting in the fall wind. I began to “see” the finished picture in my mind in vivid detail. She finished the guided visualization and said, “Open your eyes and draw what you see.”

Her words and this act of visualization changed the course of my life forever. I was 10 years old. Little did either of us know at the time, but she had just taught me to become a futurist. From that moment forward, I have used future visualization to see the outcome I prefer in my personal, professional, and social life. I have used it to visualize better future scenarios.

The best predictor of future visualization is past visualization—sort of. Most innovators, artists, and futurists know a great secret: To change the world, you need to see things in a new way. You must turn the world on its head and invert the status quo. We must travel into undiscovered territories of the mind and become a student of risk. Seek out the underdog and find out everything they know. Study the geometry in nature. Look for the hidden connections in every obscure pattern. This undiscovered cosmos of information is all around us, and it is the key to visualizing the future we prefer.

To visualize our future, we must bravely dialogue with our unconscious minds. We must jump off high intellectual ledges into the primal darkness. Not everyone will do this work and not everyone can survive this work, but if we ever hope to become an evolved species worthy of interstellar travel, our cosmos will accept nothing less. Black holes and supernovas be damned, we must visualize ourselves living long and prospering.

It is this counterintuitive approach to the future that has given us great technological advancements, brilliant minds, and visionary leaders. But now we face a world in great peril. The climate is a mess, our oceans are reaching toxic tipping points, and our children are mass murdering each other in schools around the world. How do we teach future visualization, bravery, and innovation to our children? How do we help our friends, clients, and parents to understand this process?

The best way is to develop programs, classes, and workshops based on preferred future visualization. Why should we accept poverty, pollution, and hunger as realities that cannot be changed? Why not teach our children to visualize futures they want? Most inner-city children have never been asked to visualize a utopian future for themselves. Sure, we ask them what college they want to attend, what they want to be when they grow up, and how much money they want to make. But when do we give them the freedom to visualize their very own utopia and then ask them to go out and make it happen? Why do we limit our imaginations when we now know that science fiction and fantasy are becoming realities?

The future will be built in the imagination of the brave people who believe anything is possible.

Read the full post here. 

Music Lessons Combat Poverty’s Effect on the Brain

Simon Makin | Scientificamerican | June 12th 2014

musicScientists have observed that reading ability scales with socioeconomic status. Yet music might help close the gap, according to Nina Kraus and her colleagues at Northwestern University.

Kraus’s team tested the auditory abilities of teenagers aged 14 or 15, grouped by socioeconomic status (as indexed by their mother’s level of education, a commonly used surrogate measure). The researchers recorded the kids’ brain waves with EEG as they listened to a repeated syllable against soft background sound and when they heard nothing. They found that children of mothers with a lower education had noisier, weaker and more variable neural activity in response to sound and greater activity in the absence of sound. The children also scored lower on tests of reading and working memory.

Kraus thinks music training is worth investigating as a possible intervention for such auditory deficits. The brains of trained musicians differ from nonmusicians, and they also enjoy a range of auditory advantages, including better speech perception in noise, according to research from Kraus’s laboratory. The researchers admit that this finding could be the result of preexisting differences that predispose some people to choose music as a career or hobby, but they point out that some experimental studies show that musical training, whether via one-on-one lessons or in group sessions, enhances people’s response to speech.

[read full post here]

Eco Art Sends ‘Rubbish as a Resource’ Message

India and many places in the World have a huge problem with managing waste. Many countries simply don’t have the infrastructure to manage waste properly, hence rubbish everywhere due to a lack of recycling plants.

With a strong belief in ‘Art changes people and people change the world,’ British Artist Char Evans created an Eco Art installation at Auroville in India to send out a message to corporations Worldwide about the waste they generate.

“Corporations that are in touch with communities take an active interest in recycling issues, and play a key part in waste management. They understand ‘rubbish’ is a resource, a treasure,” says Ms. Evans.

At Eco Art Installations we choose to unite and explore our creative potential, raise awareness of ecological issues, and present our vision of beautiful co-creation.

The Eco art installation in the above video took place in March 2014 at the Bamboo Centre in Auroville via Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, India. As seen in the video, there was dancing and people used natural and recycled materials for art installations and workshops.

The dynamic installation comprised a giant bamboo geodesic dome, a large kolam, a human mandala of dancing children and a ‘time machine’ with performances, workshops and spontaneous interaction throughout the project period.

The project facilitated the exchange of skills and fostered eco enterprise according to Ms. Evans. “It was designed to explore community creative potential, raise awareness on ecological issues, and to present our vision of beautiful of co-creation,” says Ms. Evans (33).

The project made use of natural materials such as bamboo, leaves, flowers, rice powder, shells and turmeric and recyclable materials like bicycle tires, wheels, washing machine drums, telephones, clocks, shoes, cartons, cans, computer key boards and mesh.

“This eco art installation started as a dream in London and manifesting it in India has been an amazing creative journey,” adds Ms. Evans. The Eco Art Installation’s next project has been planned in the Amazon Rainforest later this year.

As the installation is subject to weather conditions and the ravages of time, Ms. Evans and her team recorded the process with American artist Moby and Swedish artist Zilverzurf providing music for the videos, and posted the video on their YouTube channel and website.

The installation at the Bamboo centre was the result of the creative collaboration of over 100 people, involving local and international artistes and the local community, over a period of around three months. Balasundaram Ponnusamy and the Kolam Artists of the Bamboo Centre, Mohanam Cultural Centre, Yatra Srinivassan of Yatra Multimedia, Catherine Starostenko, Gaia Harvey Jackson of StampCollective and Joe Iredale of HalfCut, Reda Radi, Cosmo Brahman, AuroTejas Hemsell and her dance troupe, Einat Ran, Kwizera Samuel, Gosha Bury, Axel Carlstrand, Sri Kolari, Rommain Timmers, Madhu Jayamoorthi, Balazs Virag, Balazs Budai, Lili Almassy, Osiva of Yatra Arts Foundation, Prakash Sathiyatharan, Marutham Cultural Centre, Kottakarai Cultural Centre and Mala Dev of New Creation were some of the artistes and organisations involved.

Time-lapse video:

Eco Art is a Not-For-Profit organization.  For further information or to get involved in their next project in the Amazon Rainforest, please visit their website www.ecoartinstallations.org.



Marianne Williamson, David Wilcock, Dick Gregory, Ken Wilber, Gail Thackray – All at the New Living Expo 2014!

CLN’s own Alexis Brooks interviews the producers of the 2014 New Living Expo, Ken and Corinna Kaufman about their 13th annual event taking place on April 25-27 in San Francisco!

The New Living Expo celebrates its 13th year and a brand new location at  the San Mateo Event Center. NLE will welcome back the exhibitors, speakers, and attendees who have been an important part of the New Living Expo community. The Expo draws learners, changers, and explorers of alternative thinking and being, health, and spirituality. Come be part of this annual, dynamic event where you are certain to experience the unexpected and leave with new knowledge and awareness.

The expo will feature speakers:  Marianne Williamson, Ken Wilber, Gail Thackray, Mas Sajady, David Wilcock, Susan Norgren, Dick Gregory, Dannion Brinkley, Laura Eisenhower, Lynn Andrews, Sean David Morton, Steven Halpern and many more!  Lectures, workshops, panel discussions, meditation areas, yoga sessions and even an outdoor painting wall are all a part of this consciousness changing 3 day event.

Hear about the NLE’s origins and how its grown EXPO-nentially during this incredible time of ever increasing consciousness!

Alexis will be on-location at the expo to interview legendary activist, humanitarian, nutritionist and artist Dick Gregory for an upcoming episode of Conscious Inquiry Radio, exclusively presented by CLN!

Visit: www.newlivingexpo.com for more information!

Watch As Twenty Strangers Kiss For The First Time


We all know what it’s like to go in for the first kiss – the hesitation, maybe even fear, and ultimately the excitement of it is electrifying. So what happens when strangers pair up on camera to share an intimate moment?

We came across this video at Elevate. Elevate is a little production company on a big mission to use the awesome power of movies and viral media to activate real and lasting change. Check them out: elevate.us

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

Carolyn Gregoire  Huffington Post

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

They daydream.

Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time.

According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled “Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming,” mind-wandering can aid in the process of “creative incubation.” And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.

Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state — daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.

They observe everything.

The world is a creative person’s oyster — they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost.”

The writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times, and said that she wrote down observations about people and events as, ultimately, a way to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind:

“However dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I,'” Didion wrote in her essay On Keeping A Notebook. “We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its marker.”

They work the hours that work for them.

Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly.

They take time for solitude.

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.

Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming — we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.

“You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it,” he says. “It’s hard to find that inner creative voice if you’re … not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself.”

They turn life’s obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak — and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art. An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and — most importantly for creativity — seeing new possibilities in life.

“A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality,” says Kaufman. “What’s happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that’s very conducive to creativity.”

They seek out new experiences.

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind — and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.

“Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Kaufman. “This consists of lots of different facets, but they’re all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world.”

They “fail up.”

Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally.

“Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein’s creative genius.

They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious — they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

They people-watch.

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch — and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.

“[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books,” says Kaufman. “For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important … They’re keen observers of human nature.”

They take risks.

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives.

“There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it’s one that’s often overlooked,” contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. “Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. It requires making public those bets first placed by imagination. This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent — these are all by-products of creativity gone awry.”

They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.


Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.

“Creative expression is self-expression,” says Kaufman. “Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness.”

They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated — meaning that they’re motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.

“Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents,”write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in The Handbook of Creativity.

They get out of their own heads.

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work.

“Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present,” says Kaufman. “The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind — I like calling it the ‘imagination brain network’ — it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking.”

Research has also suggested that inducing “psychological distance” — that is, taking another person’s perspective or thinking about a question as if it was unreal or unfamiliar — can boost creative thinking.

They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.

You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you — as any good creative project does.

“[Creative people] have found the thing they love, but they’ve also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state,” says Kaufman. “The flow state requires a match between your skill set and the task or activity you’re engaging in.”

They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty.

A study recently published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts showed that musicians — including orchestra musicians, music teachers, and soloists — exhibit a high sensitivity and responsiveness to artistic beauty.

They connect the dots.

If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s the ability to see possibilities where other don’t — or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.

In the words of Steve Jobs:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

Read the rest of the article…

Classical Baroque for Brain Boosting

Sure, nowadays you can buy some binaural beats for 99 cents, but Bach and Mozart tapped into brain-bending power long ago.

 Frederic Patenaude | renegadehealth.com | March 3, 2014  

I was lucky enough to spend three years of my life in a music college, right after high school, where I dedicated most of my waking hours to the study of music and classical guitar.

When working on the computer, half the time I blast classical music to bring me to a state of enhanced productivity and creativity. I use music to enhance my workouts, and to relax my mind before going to sleep.

Why Classical Music?

Studies have shown that baroque music has potent brain-enhancing qualities by affecting brain waves. Classical music in general has been used to:

Can Classical Music Make Kids Smarter?

You probably heard the popular idea that if children listen to Mozart’s music, or other classical music, they will grow up more intelligent. This is not actually true. In fact, the original studies were done on students, not children. They found was that the students listening to a Mozart’s piece before a test did better at certain types of tasks where they had to create shapes in their mind. But the effects only lasted about 10 to 15 minutes.

So merely listening to classical music won’t make you or your children smarter, but it does affect your brain waves and can probably enhance your creativity and help reduce stress.

Specific Benefits to Baroque Music

When I was in music school, my favorite music to play on the guitar was Bach. Bach is considered by some as the greatest composer who ever lived, and he certainly had a huge influence over the development of music. I always found that playing Bach relaxed my mind, creating a state of inner peace. I didn’t know completely why, but I felt like Bach’s music was true music for the soul.

Now that I make my living writing, I often use Bach and other music of the Baroque genre to boost my creativity (Baroque is style of Western music composed in Europe from approximately 1600 to around 1750. The composers that are the most famously associated with this genre are Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Corelli, and Telemann.)

Why Baroque?

In one study, students found that students enjoyed the class better when baroque music was playing in the background, and found math classes less challenging.

So why Baroque?

Baroque musicians improvised a lot, and at the time baroque music was considered a bit wild. After that period, starting around the death of Bach in 1750, music became more regimented, with the classical period of Mozart, Haydn, and early Beethoven works.

After the classical period comes the Romantics, with later Beethoven works, Wagner, Berlioz, Chopin, Brahms, Mahler, and many others. Music during this period became very emotional, with grand and dramatic symphonies and concertos and wild piano sonatas, often taking you through a torrent of emotions.

Continue reading to learn what makes classical music so special 

CLN Exclusive: Ben Lee on Inner Work, Spiritual Awakening and Global Transformation

Cassandra Sturdy, Conscious Living Editor

Ben Lee AyahuascaInner work, spiritual awakening and global transformation aren’t usually topics we’re used to hearing about in the mainstream music industry, but musician Ben Lee has been rather open about them recently, following the release of his latest album, Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work.

A collaboration with Argentine-Australian actress and musician Jessica Chapnik Kahn, the album is inspired by Lee’s and Chapnik Kahn’s experiences with ayahuasca, the powerful plant medicine administered by shamans to individuals in a ceremonial context for the purposes of spiritual awakening, healing and the expansion of consciousness.

But while ayahuasca has played an important role in Lee’s awakening, helping him become more comfortable with change, he’s quick to point out that the concept of the album is really symbolic of the process of raising consciousness, an undertaking that can be achieved through other methods as well as ayahuasca.

“Ayahuasca is simply one tool that can be used to amplify consciousness and help us identify our flaws,” he told me. “Meditation is another tool, music can be another. No tool is completely good or bad, it is dependent on the intention with which it is being used.”

Ben Lee Ayahuasca 2Taking the listener on something of a spiritual journey and featuring tracks with titles such as, Invocation, I Am That I Am, and, Welcome To The House of Mystical Death, Lee says the album is an expression of gratitude for the expanded perspectives that come from inner work. “It’s a celebration of work that does not focus on changing the outside world, but work that is about radical transformation of the individual from within,” he said.

Lee says it’s precisely this sort of inner work that is required if we are to correct humanity’s current destructive and unbalanced behaviour. “We have already lived through many societal revolutions and have seen first hand that one corrupt system simply replaces another, there is no external change that can give us the answer we are seeking.”

I asked Lee if he thinks ayahuasca is illegal in western countries because of ignorance, or if he thinks there is a deeper government agenda behind the decision. “I can’t be certain why particular practices or plants are illegal,” he replied, “but I do imagine that they seem to threaten the stability of a society’s mechanical consciousness. In other words, they make people ask questions, which is never a good thing from the perspective of the collective ego.”

Ben Lee global shift consciousnessStressing the danger of hoping for a quick fix to current global issues, Lee believes that a shift in consciousness isn’t likely to occur by itself or within a short period of time, but that transformation is something we must all work towards every day, by focusing on raising our individual consciousness. “Any change that occurs will be the result of our hard work, it’s not going to happen for us, without our immense effort,” he said.

As well as hoping we’ve developed a more sustainable relationship to the natural world and our planet in the future, Lee predicts we will be more open minded when it comes to spiritual practices. “I think some of the more fringe aspects of culture such as transpersonal psychology and shamanic practices, as well as more esoteric approaches to mainstream religion, might have made their way into our collective psyche in a more substantial manner.”

amazon conservation team ben leeHonouring the energy of the album and proving that it’s possible to work for something other than financial gain, Lee has decided to donate all of the royalties from the album to two charities. “It was a decision made in an attempt to align the financial aspect of the album with the emotional and spiritual content and they are good causes to support,” he said.

“I donated 50% to the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, as they are creating interesting dialogue around the potential uses of amplified states of consciousness within the medical and therapeutic worlds. The other 50% went to the Amazon Conservation Team. The Amazon can be considered ‘the lungs of the planet’, so it seemed like a good cause to support.”

Finally, Lee warned how unproductive it is to blame greedy corporations and government agendas for the issues stacking up in the world today. “The problem is internal, meaning we possess the same corruption, greed and hypocrisy within us,” he said. “When we realise this, we can address the problem with compassion and earnestness, rather than with an external ‘us vs them’ conception of things.”spiritual+awakening+global+shift+consciousness1

In the end, it all comes down to love… Lee says that’s the overall essence of the message. “I’m speaking of a powerful love that we might fight for internally, to become worthy of emanating. It is this love that we came from, and it is this love that I believe we will return to.”

Indeed. You can get your own copy of Ben Lee’s higher vibrational album and do your bit to support the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and the Amazon Conservation Team from his website.


spiritual-awakening-global-awakening-movementAbout the Author

Cassandra Sturdy is Conscious Living Editor for Conscious Life News. She is the author of The Twelve Attunements, an exciting new novel that explores spiritual awakening, the global shift in consciousness and planetary transformation. You can get a free copy of this book from her website and connect with Cassandra on facebook.


This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as the author bio is included and all links remain intact.




Popular Resistance: 4 Ways to Plug In

PopularResistance.org | Feb 28 2014

There is something for everyone to do in this movement for social, economic and environmental justice. Here are four opportunities. We hope that if you are not already plugged in, that you may find ideas here. This movement needs everyone and that includes you.

covered activist arts on Popular Resistance, but with CreativeResistance.org the many artists involved in the movement have a place to share work, find each other and inspire everyone.

Art can be transformative in ways other tools can’t.  As Tatiana Makovkin, one of the people responsible for CreativeResistance.org says, “The nonverbal emotional messages embedded in symbols, color, melody and rhythm, are intuitively received. Creativity is outside of control and ‘dangerous.’ The act of creating is subversive.”


People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street and so many others have done.

And, as Tatiana says “Art breeds more art, and cross-pollination erupts in a volcano of inspiration.” We’d love to see a growing positive spiral of art in the movement for social and economic justice because we know it will increase the impact of our actions.

monthly Art Builds in Seattle organized by our colleagues at the Backbone Campaign and others. Communities come together to make art that shows the vision of the future they want – a clean energy environment, everyone with access to healthcare, an end to war and poverty.  When people make art together – neighbor to neighbor, parent with child – it creates community bonding and deep commitment to our work. Imagine community art builds across the country.

Please get involved, let people in your community know about Creative Resistance and urge artists to submit art. The site includes music, visual art, poetry, performance art, animation, puppets and protest signs.


Economic democracy is sweeping the nation with increasing worker and consumer cooperatives, land trusts being put in place to provide affordable housing, new forms of money as people rethink how money is created and used and new decentralized sustainable energy systems as the country breaks the choke-hold of the carbon-nuclear economy.

ItsOurEconomy.US helps all of us to understand the potential for an economy that serves all of us and what economic democracy will look like.

facing felony assault charges and a potential 7 year prison sentence, even though she was the one who was assaulted.

you can do so here.  I hope you will share this page with everyone you know so we can continue to flood the DA with messages of support for Cecily. He needs to know people are watching how he pursues this prosecution.

There was some potential good news in Cecily’s case this week.  Her lawyer, Martin Stolar who has handled many cases involving protests in New York City, filed a motion for the personnel file of the police officer involved. This is a motion that is usually routinely denied, but this week we learned that Cecily’s case has been postponed and instead there will be a hearing on this motion on March 19. The motion in this case is more serious because we already know about some unethical and abusive behavior by the police officer that undermines his credibility.  His credibility is important because he is the sole witness to what occurred, of course, he is a witness because he is the one who abusively grabbed Cecily’s breast from behind.

We want to urge people to take action to help Cecily and get these unjust charges dismissed.  Here’s what you can do:

 Tell NY District Attorney To Drop The Charges Against Cecily

Justice for Cecily campaign website

Avaaz petition

https://www.popularresistance.org/drop-the-charges-against-cecily/ and urge them to join you in taking action for justice.

Finally, today is the one year mark for John Kiriakou’s 30 month term in prison.  John is the only person in government to go to prison for the illegal U.S. torture program.  He was imprisoned because he was the first to acknowledge the use of waterboarding by U.S. officials in illegal torture interrogations.

Prison officials have been mistreating him, punishing him for talking to the media and reneging on a deal to send him to a halfway house.  When he talks to the media he comes back to find his cell has been torn apart by guards. His cellmate’s areas are also turned into a mess, and one cellmate suspects they are trying to turn the inmates against John with these actions. Now there are threats of “diesel therapy,” that is when an inmate is moved from prison to prison so no-one can contact him or provide support.

On this page we provide you with a model letter to send to the Bureau of Prisons protesting John’s mistreatment.  And, we also provide John’s address so you can write to him.

We so appreciate the whistleblowers that risk their lives and freedom to get the truth out.  

Continue reading about whistleblowers and Popular Resistance opportunities


“The Truth Is” – MUST SEE Music Video by Cale Sampson

Must see music video by Cale Sampson titled “The Truth Is”: The truth is that we need to open up our eyes so that we start to see all of the lies that we were told and we believed. Because the time has come to face reality. And work together for the sake of liberty. So that our future generation can be free…

The Truth Is  – Lyrics by Cale Sampson

The truth is that we need
To open up our eyes so that we start to see
All of the lies that we were told and we believed
Because the time has come to face reality
And work together for the sake of liberty
So that our future generation can be free

[Verse One]
Truth is, the Real reason for war is
Motivated by money and corporate interest
Rwanda didn’t have oil, that’s why
The world turned a blind eye during its genocide

Truth is, corporations can donate
An unlimited amount of money to a candidate
Democrats and Republicans are bought and paid
So Government does whatever corporations say

Truth is the President doesn’t run the country
The people in charge are those who control the money
So The Federal Reserve is really more powerful
Than the U.S. Government and they’re running the show

The truth is, That Goldman Sachs
Sold sub-prime mortgages they knew were bad
they also profited by betting they’d all fail
So they’d win either way and no one went to jail

Truth is, the financial crisis ain’t solved
It was a big ponzi scheme, an inside job
Where taxpayers bailed out the banks who caused
It in the first place and now, they’re still in charge

Truth is, money is created from debt
If all debt was repaid there’d be no money left
But loans that are made have interest attached
That doesn’t exist so we can’t pay it back

Truth is, our banking system’s a trap
That leads to bankruptcy and collapse
It’s why the States are fifty trillion in the hole
And this crisis is spreading all around the globe

Truth is, a crash is inevitable
Cuz’ our growing debt must be matched in the real world
Through the use of resources, so infinite growth
On a finite planet is impossible

The truth is that we need
To open up our eyes so that we start to see
All of the lies that we were told and we believed
Because the time has come to face reality
And work together for the sake of liberty
So that our future generation can be free

[Verse Two]
Truth is, The C.I.A.
Has a history of smuggling drugs into the States
Their profits are then laundered through banks
In order to help them secretly operate
Cuz’ the truth is, they’ve been involved
In things that should make people appalled
Like mind control experiments on soldiers
To alter their behavior with drugs and hypnosis

Truth is, Nazi’s were the first to try
Putting fluoride into the nation’s water supply
To dumb people down and control what they think
And now it’s in almost all the water that we drink

Truth is, there’s a chemical company
Called Monsanto controlling the food we eat
By transforming everything genetically
And then forcing everyone to only use their seeds

Truth is, that the medical industry
Is big business with millions of employees
the last thing it wants is a cure for cancer
Cuz’ they’d lose trillions if there was ever an answer

Truth is, cures for cancer exist
Just look up Dr. Burzynski in Texas
Who’s been curing people with tumors for years
The F.D.A. and the government don’t want you to hear

Truth is, you can’t trust the TV News
It’s pre-filtered to distract and confuse
All the outlets are owned by only five companies
So It’s impossible to ever get news objectively
Cuz’ the truth is, people need to wake up
And expose how our whole system is corrupt
And if you think I’m wrong, go ahead try to stump me
Lets see you write a song as smart as this to debunk me

The truth is that we need
To open up our eyes so that we start to see
All of the lies that we were told and we believed
Because the time has come to face reality
And work together for the sake of liberty
So that our future generation can be free