Episode Two: Being with Nonprescriptive Creativity

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Cassandra takes you back to the creek for a chat about documentation, the perceived duality of following inspiration or consistently working, nonprescriptive creativity, and more. Gratitude for Ernest the dog and fellow explorer and the forest and all its beings for sharing this experience with Cassandra.

Aired on Tuesday July 5, 2022 - the day many dogs frightened of fireworks breathe a sigh of relief.

Read behind-the-scenes notes and the full transcript.


Cassandra sat above the creek while Ernest dug a deep hole, threw a stick at her and ran up and down the hilly sides. She recorded the creek note on June 6, 2022 and published the episode on July 5, 2022.

Cassandra mentioned her newsletter, which is a weekly-ish emailed note about being with change, belonging, and nature. You can subscribe here.

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Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Hello, welcome to Be With Cassandra.

[00:00:18] I am your host, Cassandra Ellis.

[00:00:22] It's lovely to be with you today.

[00:00:24] I bring you episode two.

[00:00:28] We are going to soon shift over to another recording that I did at the creek, the same creek that last episode was at.

[00:00:44] Take a listen to episode one if you haven't already, or you want to refresher of where we were.

[00:00:56] Ernest and I were actually just at the creek [00:01:00] today. Again. We go there a lot.

[00:01:04] I hope you enjoy this chat at the creek again.

[00:01:11] We talk about creativity, consistency.

[00:01:20] The perceived duality of either working when inspiration strikes or [laughs] working consistently whether or not inspiration is present.

[00:01:35] I share about...

[00:01:39] how I don't want to be prescriptive.

[00:01:43] And. What that's making me think of right now is this practice that I've been starting-

[00:01:54] for- I've been doing it for about two weeks, kind of on and off. And I have [00:02:00] some music playing.

[00:02:03] And the one rule I give myself is that my head cannot be the thing on top. Some other body part has to be above my head.

[00:02:15] It can be my feet. It can be my arms. It can be my pelvis. Just- the head cannot be on top. It's the one rule I give myself. And it's been helpful because it's viscerally been reminding me of.

[00:02:36] Not simply listening to what's going on in my head. And listening to other parts of my body and what these other parts are trying to tell me. And I can hear them a lot better when I don't just go straight away to the head and what the head is talking [00:03:00] about. And what the head is thinking.

[00:03:04] And I instead go to what the toes are thinking or what the fingertips are thinking. What are they telling me? What do they want me to do right now? Where do they want to lead me? During this day.

[00:03:22] So it's a practice that I've been experimenting with.

[00:03:28] Let's switch over to my time at the creek now.

[00:03:33] I hope you enjoy it.

[00:03:35] [recording at creek with birds chirping and creek water rushing] Hello,

[00:03:40] Ernest's ears just perked up when I said that, cuz we haven't been speaking while we've been out, the birds have been speaking that's for sure.[00:04:00]

[00:04:01] I'm back at the creek I was just at, in my last note, I'm up. I haven't yet descended down to the creek. I'm up aways from it. Ernest has found a nice spot to dig.

[00:04:26] [Ernest sneezes] Sneezing from the inhalation of dirt, [laughs] all the micronutrients.

[00:04:39] You know, I was just laying down on

[00:04:43] this log and looking up.

[00:04:45] [laughs while speaking] And, you know, I, I recorded that the last [00:05:00] episode I recorded it just yesterday. And you know, that has me thinking... productivity and consistency and you know, I was talking a little bit about energy levels and energy rhythms in my last episode. And, you know, [sighs] gosh, I think one of the.

[00:05:41] coolest,

[00:05:45] um, resources? Or coolest kind of teachings that I've, um, taken in from artists around me, creative people around me [00:06:00] is... [sighs]

[00:06:07] The the value in documenting one's own artistic and creative journey as they're doing it. And that documentation is different than the product itself, itself.

[00:06:31] And [laughs] Ernest is having a blast going down the hill and up the hill, maybe back down soon. Yeah. The, the difference between documentation and whatever the creative, artistic product is.

[00:06:57] And how, [00:07:00] you know, consistency and productivity and, um, doesn't really need to be a part of that conversation. It could be, but it doesn't need to be.

[00:07:15] And with documentation, you know, I feel like there's something in that way of thinking that at least for me, it offers me the ability to let the creativity lead. And then the documentation naturally follows. Rather than, I don't know, sometimes with developing a product. Whether it's [00:08:00] an essay writing or a lesson plan I'm creating whatever the, the product or service that I'm offering is- it's it's often- I sometimes get caught in my head with that, as opposed to, with just simply reminding myself to document along the way.

[00:08:29] And it just has me wondering about this dear podcast that is very much in its infancy.

[00:08:41] And you know, and, and what, what it's really here for. and, you know, with these, with these projects, with, um, the several newsletters that I've, um, offered, [00:09:00] my current newsletter, Be With Cassandra that I'm offering, you know, like it's been interesting to, you know, have a, I guess, a vision that I step into it with, and then have the actual purpose of it reveal itself over time [laughs] and, and the vision and the purpose may be overlapping. They may be exactly, you know, aligned with one another. They may also be very much, uh, unrelated or disconnected. . And so it, this has me wondering about like, perhaps [laughs] is the purpose of this podcast here to document along the way.

[00:09:56] Is that the purpose of my [00:10:00] newsletter too? Perhaps? [laughs]

[00:10:02] uh, you know, and, and with documenting along the way, what then- does- how does the rhythm fit with that? How does, what is the pattern of sharing and publishing? Um, is it consistent? Is it inconsistent? Because you know, in, in the creative, artist world, right there, there's so much about, okay, do you- do you sit down and do your art every day at a certain time of day in a- the same place?

[00:10:49] Or do you let the creativity- the creative genius, um, lead you and work when it comes and not work when it doesn't come. You know, and [00:11:00] there's kind of two distinct camps, but you know, is anything, a binary? [laughs] , uh, you know, the non-duality of, of art and creativity is, is very, that likely that the truth is, is definitely not either or it's both and for that.

[00:11:18] So, you know, and, and

[00:11:28] times call for different things too. And so if one has a lot of things, they need to be consistent in, in their life, you know, maybe their art and creativity is more inconsistent or vice versa and, and how, um, and how a person's personality and life experience and how they want to and how they need to live their [00:12:00] life, you know, dictates a lot of that too. So, you know, a way that might work for me today might not work for me tomorrow, but also might never work for you [laughs]. And, and so, you know, I'm, I'm learning more as I, as I share more and document more about my own, um, path with experimentation and creativity and understanding belonging.

[00:12:34] What I'm learning more and more is how little I desire to be prescriptive.

[00:12:44] And you know, what, [smiles while speaking] what works for, you know, prescriptive with myself as well as with other people.

[00:12:52] And, and how, you know, in thinking about that, [00:13:00] how does one build,

[00:13:08] build a business? How does one build a career? A a, you know, anything! Build a house! There needs to be some structure, some rhythm, to being able to succeed with that, whatever success means to you or means to the project.

[00:13:33] For certain projects, there are very clear end goals for others there aren't. So how can the rhythm, whether it's inconsistent or consistent, or very likely a mix of both- how can that...

[00:13:52] support the purpose, support the vision, support the end goal. I don't know. [00:14:00] You know, these are- [laughs] I start speaking then I'm like, wait, did I just start asking a question or am I making a statement? Um,

[00:14:11] This is me sharing. Maybe that's what this podcast is, is me sharing along the way and documenting

[00:14:25] my thoughts along the way.

[00:14:29] [laughs] Maybe this creek here becomes- [laughs] Ernest just threw a stick at me?

[00:14:54] Doesn't seem to notice he did it.

[00:14:58] You know, maybe this creek [00:15:00] becomes a consistent resting spot for these share- sharing times. Maybe it's just these two times. Um, you know, and,

[00:15:21] and again, what works for me may very well not work for you.

[00:15:32] and, you know, kind of pulling out- zooming out of that thought of, of not being prescriptive. Like, well then what are we doing here? Like here- I don't know. I, I, you know, for those who don't know my work for many years has [00:16:00] been in the field of education. And so being a teacher, being an educator, being a facilitator, like, you know, kind of on the spectrum- teacher, educator, facilitator, guide- from being kind of more prescriptive to being more of a space holder, of a supporter of a child or an adult or a young adult learning their own path and learning what works for them and exploring what brings them joy versus the more prescriptive, narrow path of this is what you need to learn. And either this is why you need to learn it. Or maybe not even like, this is why, but just, this is what you need to learn.

[00:16:52] So, yeah, zooming out from that and, you know, and considering like, well,[00:17:00]

[00:17:01] you know, that prescriptive more teaching model

[00:17:14] has a very important role, serves a very important role. There are very necessary skills to learn in the world and from one another and pass on generation to generation. And there's like universes beyond that- of sharing and connecting and exchanging experiences with one another and fostering a sense of belonging through that sharing of experience and [00:18:00] the places that really support that and nourish that exchange

[00:18:09] you know, I'm seeing them- or they're just popping up into my awareness- more and more. And I wonder if they're, if people are feeling more of a need for that type of experience and that type of being together.

[00:18:33] Saying being together, you know, reminds me of the name that I chose for this podcast and for my website and you know, for how I am on the- in the virtual world of Be With Cassandra, of, of being with and, and what,

[00:18:56] what are the many ways that we can be with one [00:19:00] another? And be with ourselves and be with the world, be with the natural world, be with the virtual world be, you know, really be in relationship with.

[00:19:17] So

[00:19:23] those are my thoughts right now. That's what I'm sharing with you. Documenting along the way with Ernest staring at me with one ear cocked up, one ear down,

[00:19:40] a dirty head, dirt on his nose too. [laughs] Looks pretty happy. So I'm gonna venture down to the creek and yeah, till next time.[00:20:00]

[00:20:01] [creek and birds

[00:20:03] in background fade out] Before I leave you today.

[00:20:07] If you want to try that practice on of putting on some music and giving yourself a rule. Maybe the rule is that your head can't be the thing on top. Maybe it's something else. Maybe it's the spine-

[00:20:28] uh, needs to be [laughs] not straight. [laughs] It can be twisted. It can be curved. It can be back-bending open, but it can't be straight. Maybe that's the rule. Maybe it's something else entirely.

[00:20:47] But maybe you want to try that practice on.

[00:20:51] See how it fits for you.

[00:20:55] Or something totally different. Um, remember: [00:21:00] we're not prescriptive here. [laughs] So, try what works, leave the rest.

[00:21:06] I've really enjoyed being with you today. And I hope you have a creative rest of your day.

[00:21:13] And be with you again soon. Bye for now. [outro of birds chirping at creek]