Which are you? A human photocopier or a device to change energy from one form into another? Let me explain…
I was on a writing workshop recently with the beyond amazing Steve Chandler and Michael Neill. During one part of the workshop we took it in turns to talk about the obstacles to our writing.
We all told our stories and the two world class coaches, in various lovingly dismissive ways, said ‘So?’.
And it struck me how unbelievably creative we all were being. From nothing, each of us was constructing an entire reality of what writing means in general and to us personally, of what we had to do with it, of how good or bad we are at it, of what we wanted from it.… An epic tale of good intention, dreams, blocks and back-of-hand-to-forehead frustration.
The truth is that all of us are constantly creating and infinitely creative.
Steve creates 30 plus best selling books and I create 30 plus reasons for not writing. This creative process can lead to a work that entire populations adore or the water-tight story of why a work will never be created.
What makes the difference? We are all human. How can this creative process have such different outputs in different people?
The huge difference lies in whether we lives our lives as a Rumination Replicator or an Inspired Convertor (I made those terms up by the way. I don’t want to buy the domain name though, thanks all the same).
Let’s look at them in more detail as they might just change our lives forever.
The Rumination Replicator
Have you noticed those brief scenes in The Office when the camera angle rests for a moment on the big grey plastic box in the corner methodically churning out photocopies. It is so heartbreakingly mundane. The output is so joylessly predictable. So implicit of the mindless churning out of stuff that we do every day.
Heartbreakingly mundane and joylessly predictable. That’s how I see it when I am being a rumination replicator. I’ll tell you how I do it.
I notice my stressful thinking and believe it (nb. this can about literally anything from someone eating crisps nearby to the decaying of the Pyramids. I joke not. That’s just in the last ten minutes).
I make an elaborate A4 montage of this thinking.
I place the montage on the glass of the photocopier.
I press ‘100 copies’ into the display.
I take the copies and I distribute them around my life.
I shove a copy at the cashier in the supermarket who is taking too long. I wave a copy in my children’s faces because they are too noisy. I hand a copy to my client who isn’t having a break-through fast enough. I give a copy to my husband for too many reasons to mention poor fellow.
Then the people I hand these copies to, if they also happen to be ruminator replicators, will take my copy, add a bit of their own stressful thinking to it and then make their own 100 copies.
They might go home from their job in the supermarket for example and hand one copy to their spouse saying: ‘There was such a rude woman at the shop today… aren’t you listening to me… someone was rude to me and now you can’t even LISTEN TO ME…?’ .
Then the spouse takes that copy, adds a bit more to it, emails a colleague to complain about a piece of work… and round it goes.
(Children, lucky for them, haven’t learned the art of replicating and so they immediately turn the copy into an aeroplane or a stepping stone across the living room river.)
The input to this mundane, joyless, circular process is our stressful thinking and the output is material that others can use to elaborate their own stressful thinking. An on-going replication of stressful thought.
Not great is it?
A convertor, if you didn’t know and I didn’t, is an electrical device that changes the form of power or energy. It might change the signal from analogue to digital for example or the electrical current from alternating to direct.
And this is a beautiful thing. This conversion of energy from one form to another.
A convertor faced with a rumination replicator will take that A4 copy, have a look at it and do something surprising with it. They might take the stressed energy that is handed to them and turn it into a sympathetic smile or an apology for the wait or a perfectly pitched joke.
They take the stress and turn it into joy, love, humour or whatever else occurs to them. (Kids, instinctive convertors, often do this with a level of giggling brilliance and irresistible engagement that disarms even the most determined replicator of their copies.)
A convertor will see their own stressful thinking, they might even embark for a moment on believing it, on needing to do something about it but then they will think ‘Ha! Almost got me there!’ and they will do a neat little sidestep, perhaps even a tap dance, out of the way.
And it gets even better.
A convertor knows that this stressed energy is pretty mundane and feeble compared to what else is on offer. It’s been around too much. It’s like the inconsequential flickering of a torch when the battery is almost flat. They know that paying attention to this stuff is like slumping over a phone to watch people fighting on Jeremy Kyle while the Northern Lights are at their fullest display in the sky above.
Convertors know that there is an energy that is so indescribably magnificent it takes their breath away. They know this power is there personally for them, like Galileo’s sun, which ‘with all those planets revolving around it and depending on it, could still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the universe to do.‘
Convertors orientate their lives so that this pure universal energy is the input. They honour it, treasure it, make space for it, recognise it. They ignore anything that distracts them from it. They know it is a gift of purest light, deepest intelligence and most raucous fun.
They organise their lives to receive it either directly, beaming down into their mind as if from outer space (funny that) or through the mind-blowing creations, the buildings, works of art, sporting achievements, businesses or campaigns of other convertors, inspired by their own personal version of the same energy.
And they know that the entire reason for receiving this inspiration, for surrounding themselves with the inspired creations of others is, of course, conversion.
Convertors take energy in one form and turn it into another. They turn inspiration into something tangible, visible or audible. They turn dreams into reality, ideas into substance. And what they create is something else altogether. Personal and universal. Fresh and timeless. Alive and inanimate. Familiar and never seen before.
It is inspiration converted, through the personal, into that which inspires.
And that, I believe, is the point of life.