creative process: problem solving

18 Aug

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”  Our Chinese proverb suggests that problem solving is not only about wrestling with the complexities of the issue at hand, but also wrestling internally to identify the personal adjustments and preparations necessary to effectively engage in the process.  And as we grow in creative life, in our consciousness of attachment in a unique way as artists with the Creator, we become more sensitive, more aware, that each day brings a readiness to look at a particular issue – to walk the stepwise or random path necessary to reach some problem’s answer.

What does that process look like?  More often than not, of course, it starts with an articulation of the problem.  What exactly are we struggling with?  What exactly are we trying to achieve?

Once we have articulated the problem, we ask ourselves, “What is the very first thing needed to get at a solution?”  This goes back to the readiness point in the first paragraph.  Readiness is a combination of  motivation and ability to honestly and carefully evaluate what the very first step might be to solving the problem.  That very first step may not be complicated, but it may be time consuming.  In other words, it is as likely as not that a significant challenge we are facing will not resolve simply because we put a clear mind to it for a few days.  What that clear mind applied for a few days might achieve is the correct identification of a first step.  But that first step might take months or years to complete.

An example. associates audio clips with visual art.  For the 3-4 years that our Composer of Music for Art has been chipping away at this site, she has used the site host’s media player for each picture, which really looks pretty awful.  It was clear that she needed to incorporate some original HTML5 to make the audio presentation slick.  Somehow, that notion of learning HTML was pretty daunting.  Although she had some Basic programming as a little girl, she just did not want to get involved in learning a programming language at this point.  That is why she chose a website building platform to develop her site, namely

Ultimately, a rather pressing concern arose that opened a door for her to solve the audio presentation problem.  That concern related to making the art posted on her website “copy proof”.  Without an ability to offer artists this reassurance, she could not hope to build content for the site.  She was definitely motivated to dig into this problem.  What she discovered is that does provide a fairly flexible platform for entering original HTML5.  And it turns out that there is plenty of code out there in cyberspace if you research enough.  All she needed to do was find the code and master the ability to plug it in to her website.

This went well.  The code was not complicated and required only a bit of customization.  With this success under her belt the heat had been turned up on her simmering stew of readiness to fix the audio situation. Finally, with the completion recently of a composition project, the decks had been cleared and she could devote her mornings and nights to researching the code available to slick up the audio.

We are always challenged to see the dark cloud or the silver lining, to view a half-empty or half-full cup, to focus miserably on what we don’t have or to feel thankful for all that we are given.  You are full of energy today, full of hope, focus and readiness for the special gifts and blessings coming your way today.  Your Creator needs you as a partner in his Work, and he is giving you the special tools, the special insights you need to smash through a critical roadblock today.  Open your eyes, see the challenge before you, feel that readiness for it, pick up the tools and get to work!

Spark on!


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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in creative process


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