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By Chris Dunmire | Updated September 2, 2018
"It is up to us — those who feel the tug of the inner voice — to create the world we want to be a part of, to utter the words we want to inspire us." —Jan Phillips
Jan Phillips is an evolutionary artist, author, workshop director and social activist. She is co-founder and Executive Director of the Livingkindness Foundation, a global network of grassroots philanthropists turning creativity into compassionate action. Jan is also cofounder of Syracuse Cultural Workers, publishers of artwork for social justice and global consciousness.
Q: In your book No Ordinary Time: The Rise of Spiritual Intelligence and Evolutionary Creativity you discuss Creativity and the New Cosmology. What you say about being creative inspires us to think deeper about our consciousness around how we behave creatively:
"It is blasphemous for any of us to say ‘I am not creative.’ All we do is create. We have desires and we create experiences from our desires. We have experiences and we create stories about those experiences. We hear the stories of others, and we are moved to tell our own, turn them into songs or poems or YouTube movies. We wake up every day to an empty canvas of twenty-four hours and every night we go to bed having created our masterpiece for the day. We can do this consciously or unconsciously, but we all do it nevertheless. And the ones who are conscious of it are the ones most actively engaged in the work of evolution, of unification, of ongoing cosmic revelation.”
From your perspective, where does the desire to create come from?
A: Just as a tree takes in sunlight and carbon dioxide all day long, so do we absorb the gifts of Supreme Intelligence that are infusing the cosmos and the air we breathe. Our souls are here to convert/transform human experience (information) into forms that we can give to others (inspiration) — it is the heart's desire, the soul's mission to engage in this alchemy. When we do it well, we are in a state known as bliss
Q. How might one interested in being "actively engaged in the work of evolution, of unification, of ongoing cosmic revelation" navigate the terrain of creative endeavors that are self-serving for the ego, or for the bottom line of corporations who are more interested in profits than people and the planet?
A: Nothing done "well" is simply self-serving. The challenge is to extent the thinking beyond self-interest. The question is always threefold. is it good for me? Good for others? Good for the planet. If it is, it is a good thing — evolutionary, unifying, revelatory.
Q: In the gradient spectrum of creative experience, what awareness might one have to affirm that their engagement is evolutionary, uniting, or revealing?
A: See above — just answer the 3 questions — triple bottom line thinking.
Q: You speak beautifully of the healing action of art:
“We can’t articulate the way art heals us anymore than we can articulate the mystery of the cosmos. We are awed by the gifts of art, soothed by its music, comforted by its imagery, inspired by its revelations of the possible and the passionate. At speaks from the soul, to the soul. It has a language of its own. It is the language of the universe, the music of the spheres.”
Many are called towards artistic expression but find themselves blocked along the way by fear, overwhelm, and competition. Where are we stuck in this evolution and how can we move beyond it?
A: Once you understand the WHY of creativity, the what and how become easier. Think of what has healed you over the years...what music, books, poetry, movies, plays, stories of others? We are inspired by the inspirations of others. By the flow of cosmic energy coursing through us. If you can remember your creations are healing for others, they become less about you and more about your power to heal — by truth-telling, wisdom sharing.
Q: What does raising consciousness really mean?
A: It means you give up the notion that you are all alone and see that every one of us is a part of the whole. My success is reliant on your success. In women's consciousness raising in the 70s, the term of insight was: The personal is political. If every woman in the group had experienced sexual harassment on the job, it was not just a personal issue.
Q: You say "growing up spiritually is a requirement of this hour." How can we tell if we are "rising in spiritual intelligence"?
A: We begin to wake up in joy every day.
Q: You wrote:
“If, through our images, we can reveal the heart of humankind, shine a light on what is precious and holy in ourselves and others, then let us find that in our midst and capture it in our work. Let us not wait for the heroic, conspicuous gestures, but rather look more carefully for those small, daily kindnesses, those rituals of bonding and sharing that show us as people revering life, revering each other. Our sensibilities are assaulted on a daily basis by a press consumed with fear and destruction. Heartbreaking photos of a world run amok wash over our days, invade our dreams. The shadow of humanity makes the news, while the light goes unnoticed, the good unrevealed.”
Two days ago, a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater killed 12 people and wounded 58 others. This story and its aftermath saturates the news, social media, and our conscious thoughts right now. The ripple effect of fear, anger, and frustration layers over existing layers of everyday violence and atrocities happening all around us. Despite our longing for the light, some believe that the shadow of humanity is integral to our human condition. What are you thoughts on this?
A: Every great light casts an equally great shadow. Our job is to keep our attention focused on the thing that will bring more light to the world. What can I do that causes peace, joy, understanding? Once I know that, then it is mine to do. I am working on a new CD. It is informed by the Aurora tragedy. It contains it and transforms it — to the best of my ability.
Q: You said:
“If we overwhelm ourselves with too much information, our brain’s synthesizing functions exhaust themselves trying to keep up. The challenge is not to overload the brain with data, but to open the channels for information to drift down into the heart. The goal is to embody the wisdom of the cosmos, to be aware that our consciousness is one with the ever expanding universe. Our bodymind is a manifestation of nature’s quintessential being.”
We are living in an age of information. How can we 'know' what is real and true outside of our desires for what we 'desire' to be real and true?
A: That's why we do spiritual practice — our knowing apparatus is fine tuned in that process of communion and contemplation.
Q: What awareness do you want most for your readers to take away from your book?
A: The awareness that they ARE the creator creating, they are the universe unfolding; they are the greatest mystery they could ever behold — born to create.
©2012 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.
Jan Phillips is a visionary thought leader, award-winning author and dynamic speaker. ...