September 2017

Creative Muscles for Creative Leadership


Molly Sturges and Chrissie Orr


Combined, Molly Sturges and Chrissie Orr have developed and executed creative participatory projects around the world for over 80 years. They have collaborated on many arts and social and environmental healing projects. They love to stir things up enough to shake off the old junk that makes everyone unhappy. They like to welcome in expressions that provide inspiration and vitality. Here are some “creative muscles” they focus upon in their projects:


Listening: Dancing Belly to Belly With The Mystery

Listening is fundamental to coming into relationship with ourselves, each other, the living world and the greater mystery. What we listen to and how we listen is at the heart of creativity and its expression. Many of us are not taught to listen deeply, and yet the simple act of listening with our full selves is often deeply satisfying and healing. Inquiry: How do you listen and what do you listen to?

Experimenting: Why Not?

Fundamental to creativity is the willingness to try something out. Yes, it may not work out. Yes, it may feel like a “failure.” Without experimenting we cannot catch and cultivate what will become solutions and pathways forward. Inquiry: Where do you let yourself experiment and when?


Embracing The Shadow: Learning to Be Uncomfortable

Creativity asks us to open up in real ways. Wanting to be comfortable is a natural impulse, but only through welcoming that which makes us uncomfortable, going to the edge, will we grow and evolve. Our challenges are also our great teachers. Avoiding difficulty, conflict and pain will simply deny us the harvest of our innate capacities and wisdoms. Inquiry: What are you uncomfortable with personally and socially, and how can you open to fuller engagement?


Collaborating: Making Stuff Up Together

Direct experience allows us to have a much fuller and healthier experience of life. Collaboration is at the heart of creating, yet when and where do we learn to be good collaborators? There is nothing easy or guaranteed in our collaborative efforts. To the contrary, collaboration requires us to show up as ourselves, get down and dirty, and let go of our preconceived notions. When we are open to new possibilities we can delve into a deeper process. Additionally, all too often, players in collaborative efforts do not have an equal say in the collaboration. Inquiry: Who am I as a collaborator, and how do I create healthy collaborative relationships and environments?


Connecting The Dots

Creative engagement allows us to openly connect dots and make new expressions between those connections. In climate work, the relationship between jobs, justice, environment and spirituality are fundamental, and yet often these connections are overlooked or ignored. Creativity allows us to challenge constructs, beliefs, systems and habits and create new possibilities. Inquiry: What integrations do I feel that I want to express and how might I do that?


Saying Yes When You Want To Say No

We open, we close, we open, we close. We do this in many ways in a day, a month and a lifetime in millions of ways. Starting to cultivate the habit of saying yes to possibility is not always easy, but it is essential for creativity to blossom. It requires trust and the willingness to take risks. Learning to welcome, watch and not give power to our doubt and self-criticism is essential if we are to evolve. Inquiry: What do you say yes to on a regular basis and what do you say no to?


In these times we are all asked to step into unique forms of creative leadership. May each and every one of us cause some kind of beautiful trouble.




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