Does anybody ever stand in front of the ocean at night time and not feel something deep within his or her soul? The rhythmic wash of waves extend out past the edges of ordinary physical perception. We hear echoes of deep time. We feel vibrations through our feet. Even though we see the waves rushing toward us in the gloom there’s still the sense that we cannot place their ultimate source.
A quiet night stargazing inevitably provokes the viewer, too. Soldier, student, seer: it doesn’t matter. Looking into the void we can't help but marvel, ponder, feel something shared and private at the same time.
The commonality of human experience bonds us through these things. The experiences of people steeped in the creative process is all about seeking out these provocative moments throughout life. For creative people it’s always about finding those moments, holding them, and then having the perspicacity to feel them move and transform in our hands. The moments move through time, and if we allow them to do so they move us. Ideas follow. Ideas become action, and action make meaning out of nothing but energy and perception and some carefully arranged bits of matter.
The goal of business and art and government and love is to make something that didn’t exist before. Don't laugh. Even if you think that list should include some but not all, the process of creation is a process of being moved to do something. To be moved is to see things and feel things that go beyond ordinary knowledge of the place where you’re standing or the events of your day.
At the edge of the shoreline, the waves chase up the slope to your feet, sometimes washing into your toes, digging channels of sand out from beneath. To stand there and allow your feet to get wet is to be a part of the world. To feel your footing shift ever-so-slightly with the sliding surf, hear the endless waves rolling in, feel the wind on your neck, and contemplate the limitless water extending out in front of you is to open yourself to something deeper. Being moved is an act of subtle, vital courage. It relinquishes complete control of all things because it demands that forces outside of ourselves wash in and influence our perceived solidify in time. Being moved is to be engaged with the world. It is to notice the feelings provoked by shifting sands, of mystery, of surprise, of whimsey, and wonder. It is the beginning of the creative process, and the engine by which we can stay engaged.