In this blog series, I'll draw a card at random and use its energy and ideas to cook up five brain-sizzling creativity prompts. You can use these to think about particular situation you are experiencing, or as writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing, or simply as food for thought to fill an idle moment. You can journal these prompts, or just mull them over in your mind, meditate on them, workshop them collaboratively, or blog them (if you're sharing them somewhere, let me know in the comments below! I'd love to see what you come up with). I'll be using the Aquarian Tarot for this draw, so my comments will refer specifically to its imagery, but feel free to draw from a different deck if you prefer!
Our card this week? The Page of Cups.
Well, well, well. If there were to be a patron saint of creativity in the deck, the Page of Cups is it. The Page of Cups usually crops up to tell us that we're being stuffy in our thinking, too conservative and stale. This Page advises us to bring in a little bit of Beginner's Mind (incidentally, here's a great article on the subject over at one of my favourite blogs, Zen Habits), and, if I can coin a spin-off term, Beginner's Heart, too. A perfect avatar for finding a fresh perspective to challenging situations!
1. Let's get warmed up by being playful. The Page of Cups challenges us to think about childhood, immaturity, and playfulness. Where do you stand on the matter? Are you a jumper of puddles, or quick to turn your nose up at kiddie behaviour? Imagine yourself at your silliest. Could that serve a purpose in an unlikely situation? How can you bring a little more of that lightness to your everyday?
2. The flipside of that Page of Cups youthful vigor is that sometimes, we really need to act like grown ups. Be honest! When was the last time you recall acting in a childish way when you should've been the adult, or perhaps accusing someone of childishness? In what situation would you be better served by letting go of immature whims? A friend and I joke about hitting the "abdicating from adulthood" button. Do you ever wish you could throw it all in and go back to being a kid?
3. All this talk of childhood is really a warm up to talking about that fish. What is going on there?! The fish is really what this card, and indeed this whole blog series, is about. The fish represents a moment of pure inspiration, unlikely genius, and thinking that is so outside the box it's like boxes don't even exist anymore (and yet, there's still water in that cup, so the fish makes a funny kind of sense). These prompts are designed to help you find your fish. Think back to the last time you had a truly radical creative idea. What was it, and where did it lead you?
4. In order to find fishes again in the future, it's useful to know what conditions attract fish. Remember that radical idea we just talked about? Reflect on the specific conditions you were in when you had that idea. What was your routine? Or were you out of your routine? Were you talking to someone, reading something, doodling, writing a letter? Think about what it is that gets your most inspired juices flowing. You might find it is something unexpected. Recognising what it is means you will be able to do more of it, which means more fish for you! Recommended reading on the subject of attracting fish can be found here and here (and when bookshopping, support your local indie bookseller when you can!).
5. Time to write a love letter. Who is the greatest fisherperson you know? Is it your favourite writer, a weird filmmaker, an inspired entrepreneur, a friend who never fails to amaze you with their ideas? What is it that you find so awe-inspiring about their thought processes and their work? Write them a missive, articulate for yourself what it is about them that knocks your socks off. You could even send it, if you like! Finally, do a little digging. Read about them, or ask them if you can. What makes them tick, and what can you learn from it?
Good luck, and happy fishing!