Be Creative.

Children in Guatemala

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As a creative, it’s tempting to focus on doing rather than being.

It often goes like this: The muse plants a seed of inspiration in our mind and we push the pedal to the metal to translate the dream into a tangible creation before the moment is lost. I know all too well … and have lost many “genius creations” to the wind. But let’s stop for just a moment and examine the process. We can either spend our life chasing creativity, or being creative. There is a distinct difference.

How many times have you spent all day (week, month, year …) working on something that just never quite turned out the way you initially saw it in your mind? At the end of a creative project it’s easy to fall out of love with it if we compare the final product to our initial potential of the creative spark. I am guilty of this … very guilty. As visionaries, we see the unseen; we are driven to bring the dream to life. But here is the thing … our creative projects will likely never be as glorious as we first imagined them to have the potential to be. Reality can’t compete with the spark of creativity in the mind. That might sound pessimistic, but I think it is healthy.

As visionaries, we can see the finished product.

Our mind can dream and imagine things that aren’t restricted by lack of resources or the broken world in which we live. This is a blessing … but it can also be a curse. It depends on how we respond.

If we create solely for the purpose of animating a “pixel by pixel” clone of our initial creative spark, we’re likely setting ourselves up for a never ending journey of obsession that leads to selfishness and destruction. Chasing creativity kills the creative, because we eventually run out of energy.

In order to sustain creativity, we must hold it with open hands and invite others into the process

We must BE creative. Being creative is sustainable because it is a journey, not a destination. Being creative is sustainable because it has healthy limitations. Being creative is sustainable because it is content to be in process instead of needing to be completed.

When we invite others into the creative process, our initial creative spark creates life … for us … and for community.

It is initially more difficult to collaborate than to venture out alone, but it’s worth it …. the lone explorer never gets very far and often dies alone in the wilderness.

Invite others into your creative journey … and be creative together.

[/vc_column_text][mk_fancy_title style=”simple” tag_name=”h3″ border_width=”5″ size=”22″ line_height=”24″ color=”#393836″ font_weight=”inherit” letter_spacing=”0″ font_family=”none” margin_bottom=”10″ align=”left”]Are you chasing creativity or being creative?[/mk_fancy_title][mk_fancy_text color=”#393836″ highlight_color=”#000″ highlight_opacity=”0.3″ size=”18″ line_height=”34″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]SHARE THIS[/mk_fancy_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][mk_image src=”http://www.scottowenmoore.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/DSC01373.jpg” image_width=”400″ image_height=”400″ crop=”true” hover=”true” target=”_self” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][mk_padding_divider size=”100″][mk_image src=”http://www.scottowenmoore.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/DSC01384.jpg” image_width=”400″ image_height=”400″ crop=”true” hover=”true” target=”_self” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Define the (Creative) Relationship

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As creatives, we pour a little of our soul into everything we create. Over time, this will either develop us or destroy us.

Healthy creativity is a harmonious relationship that generates and multiples life through creatives and their creations. We invest life into our art, and it reflects life back to us with compounding returns, giving us a greater capacity to create over time. But if our relationship with creativity is unhealthy, our art can feed on us like a cancer, demanding more and more without ever giving back. We don’t realize it at first, because as creatives, we love to create – it’s what we were “born to do”. But it’s easy to lose focus and get pulled into destructive obsession. Unhealthy creativity breeds insecurity and mistrust that ultimately disconnects us from community. If we’re not careful, the thing that once gave us life and purpose, can become the enemy. Unbridled creativity will imprison our minds, crush our hearts, and exhaust our souls. So how can we protect ourselves against this negative spiral?

Creativity is like any relationship: it needs to be defined and continually evaluated through the lens of truth in order to thrive.

Our art reflects our story, but it does not define our identity. As creatives we must know our true identity. Who are we? Why do we create? Where does our creativity come from? What are our strengths, weaknesses, dreams and nightmares? The answers to these questions lay the foundation on which we build relationship with creativity. Without a solid foundation of truth, our relationship with creativity can be destroyed with the slightest bit of turbulent untruth:

  • “Your work doesn’t matter”
  • “You have no talent”
  • “You’re wasting your time”
  • “You’re a fake”
  • “You need to make it perfect”

These are some of the lies that creep into our minds if we allow our creations to “define the relationship”. Creation never defines its creator. As creatives, we must define our relationship with creativity on what we know is true. We all have baggage, but it doesn’t have to weigh us down. Identifying our wounds can strengthen our creativity because they serve as a map to guide exploration on our creative journey. These trigger points illuminate difficult terrain in our life so we can better prepare to navigate safely through them, while creating art that helps other people on similar journeys.  It’s not just about us. Our relationship with creativity impacts our relationships with people – to either draw us into encouraging community, or drive us hiding into isolation.

Healthy creativity enables us to evaluate and release our afflictions through a process that helps repair the broken pieces of life.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][mk_image src=”http://www.scottowenmoore.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DSC01161.jpg” image_width=”400″ image_height=”400″ crop=”false” hover=”true” target=”_self” align=”left” margin_bottom=”50″][mk_padding_divider size=”100″][mk_image src=”http://www.scottowenmoore.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DSC01161b.jpg” image_width=”400″ image_height=”400″ crop=”false” hover=”true” target=”_self” align=”left” margin_bottom=”50″][mk_padding_divider size=”100″][mk_image src=”http://www.scottowenmoore.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DSC01145.jpg” image_width=”400″ image_height=”400″ crop=”false” hover=”true” target=”_self” align=”left” margin_bottom=”20″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_fancy_title style=”simple” tag_name=”h3″ border_width=”5″ size=”14″ line_height=”24″ color=”#393836″ font_weight=”bold” letter_spacing=”0″ font_family=”none” margin_bottom=”10″ align=”left”]Here are some truths that lay the foundation for my relationship with creativity:[/mk_fancy_title][vc_column_text]

  • I am broken, I live in a broken world, and I cannot repair any of it on my own
  • My creativity comes from God the Creator as a gift that flows through me, not from me
  • I am valuable to my Creator and my life is a reflection of His greater story, despite my often inability to see the bigger picture
  • My Creator does not require or expect me to be perfect, but I often wrestle with perfectionism
  • I am a hard worker and often find it difficult to rest, so I need to “build it into my schedule”
  • I have freedom in my creativity to explore without fear of failure and rejection
  • I often have visions of creative projects that are larger than I can accomplish on my own and am called to trust others in the creative process
  • I am an introvert, but I need (and thrive in) community
  • I create to help me process my journey and help others process theirs
  • We are all at different points on our journey

[/vc_column_text][mk_fancy_title style=”simple” tag_name=”h3″ border_width=”5″ size=”14″ line_height=”24″ color=”#393836″ font_weight=”bold” letter_spacing=”0″ font_family=”none” margin_bottom=”10″ align=”left”]What about you? How is your relationship with creativity?[/mk_fancy_title][mk_fancy_text color=”#393836″ highlight_color=”#000″ highlight_opacity=”0.3″ size=”18″ line_height=”34″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]Share this[/mk_fancy_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Creativity is a Journey

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Creativity is a journey that begins with sensitivity and exploration.

Everything has the potential to be a creative muse as we observe, listen, taste, touch, and experience throughout life. But if we only collect, or passively absorb life’s textures, we can become overwhelmed with our library of unrealized possibilities, and never take action to create. The key to healthy creativity is balancing chaos and structure: learning how to store, filter, process, and recall these inspirations in new relational combinations – connecting the unconnected in a way that afterwards seems natural.

When we live our journey as curators of treasure meant to be shared, and let go of the fear of failure or rejection, there are no mistakes … only discoveries.

Creativity is a paradox. It communicates in a universal language, but cannot be fully understood outside the story of its creator. It flows graciously like a beautiful river bringing life, but has the power to destroy if it’s held captive. Creativity must move. It must be released. Creativity is a tension between the heart, mind, and spirit – an emotional expression of spirit that both defies and clarifies logic. It almost makes sense – until it does, and then it doesn’t. It must be practiced in order to grow, but will die if over rehearsed. Creative process is not robotic muscle memory of a repetitive task. It is learning to unlearn the constraints that previously limited our finite perspective. We never master the art of creativity. It is not a destination. It’s a pilgrimage up a never ending mountain with the Creator, providing greater purpose with every step.

Enjoy the Journey.

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Am I a Product of My Decisions or Circumstances?

I recently read a quote that said, “I’m not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.”

That phrase has been like a splinter buried in my skin, constantly irritating and demanding attention. I’ve wrestled with it over and over and tried to figure out why it bothers me. Then, it dawned on me. At the core, this statement is about justice …  and was obviously written by someone with opportunity … someone like me.

I understand the context of taking responsibility for the decisions I make in my life, but I’ve had opportunity. I was born in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, to a financially secure and emotionally stable family, with parents that loved each other and loved me. My parents encouraged me to study hard in school that was easily accessible and free because I lived in the US. I was given fertile soil in which to grow and blessed with freedom to make good decisions. But this is not everyone’s reality.

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A young girl at the Terminal Dump in Guatemala City. Photo by Scott Owen Moore.

For the last five years, I’ve been immersed in stories about the least, last, and lost – people whose circumstances include things like civil war, murdered family members, drug addicted parents, physical and sexual abuse, poverty, prostitution, theft, gang culture, street life … and survival. Are these people also products of their decisions? Yes … but where I had the freedom to make good decisions, they have been forced to decide between bad and worse, just to survive.

Circumstances filter the options from which to decide. But, creativity gives us the power to see beyond our current circumstances and limitations. 

Creativity doesn’t just open existing doors, it creates new structures and frameworks to walk into. Creativity multiplies opportunities for everyone regardless of circumstance because it enables us to dream. Creativity empowers a child born into a slum to escape the cycle of survival and move into a new hope of opportunity like micro-enterprise. Creativity also enables leaders to envision governmental structures built upon justice.

Children Playing at the Terminal Dump in Guatemala City. Photo by Scott Owen Moore.
Children Playing at the Terminal Dump in Guatemala City. Photo by Scott Owen Moore.

Our nation’s forefathers dreamed beyond rule of monarchy when they wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our forefathers collaborated in creativity born from and for justice because the God who created all men equal, also created the creativity which enabled these men to see beyond autocratic rule.

God is the creator of everything … including creativity. Creativity flows from God through us in a spiritual language that shares prophetic vision of who God wants us to be. It’s an opportunity to meditate on truths that we are unable to speak or comprehend on our own. Creativity invites each of us on a shared journey through opportunities that were once invisible. In the midst of fearful survival, creativity illuminates opportunity for justice.

As someone with opportunity, I choose to help others who live without it.

Through creativity, I choose to dream with others to share a story greater than myself. Our story is a beautifully diverse ensemble of broken and lost souls singing songs of grace, mercy, and undeserved forgiveness from a creator who loves us so much that He created a way to redeem us all through his own sacrifice: the ultimate expression of creativity AND justice.

If this resonates with you, we’d love for you to join the community in Athentikos: I Am Art .

Let’s explore creativity and justice together.

I’d love to know your thoughts. What do you think?

Becoming Fools Deleted Scene: Panchorizo

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Many scenes in a documentary morph over the course of editing, and others end up on deleted on the “cutting room floor”. We captured 5 Terabytes of footage for Becoming Fools over the course of two years, so we had a lot of material to work with. I wrestled with the footage for about ten months as I edited the story, focusing in on the journey of street youth as they prepared for a theatrical event on a professional stage. One scene that ended up being cut is the Panchorizo Event.

Panchorizo is an incredibly talented entertainer in Guatemala who performs as a comedian, acrobat, and musician for audiences of all ages. During Becoming Fools, we took a few of the street youth to his performance at the Guatemalan National Theatre to inspire them. Panchorizo began performing in the streets of Guatemala and is now a full time professional artist who performs to sold out shows. I loved the motivation of the scene: the youth caught a glimpse of what is possible when someone devotes themselves to something and works hard at it. But sometimes we need to cut things that we like.

Panchorizo was originally supposed to be very involved with the Becoming Fools film, but he became very busy with his work and didn’t have the margin to join the cast. So, this was the only scene with Panchorizo. It is a fun scene with a lot of laughs, but in the editing process, we decided that it didn’t really push the story forward, so we cut it from the film. Thankfully we can still share it in this form.

Wrestling With Thanksgiving

I’m wrestling with Thanksgiving.

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I’m not wearing a Lucha Libre mask, leaping high off the ropes to grapple a turkey (although that would be epic). I’m talking about being honest with myself about what I’m thankful for.

I’m typically thankful for the good things in my life:

God, Family, Food, Shelter, Health, Education, Friends, Travel … things that warm my heart and put a smile on my face.

But what about the other stuff?

What about the stuff that has angered me, saddened me, or hurt me? What about the things that have really been a struggle? Am I thankful for those things? What things fit into that category? Depending on my perspective (or lack of one) … anything can.

I’ve been immersed in Becoming Fools for the last three years. It has been a stressful journey and I have found myself growing more and more exhausted … and less and less thankful for the opportunity to be involved with the project. I used to feel the same way about Reparando. But that changed over time, after we released the film.

Like most humans, I forget too easily.

During my Becoming Fools scouting trip in 2011, Tita asked me to personally attend a screening of Reparando. I was honored for the invite, but was exhausted from two weeks of 16 hour days interviewing people and capturing footage in Guatemala City. Part of me wanted to just go back to my room and go to sleep. I couldn’t understand why it made a difference if I was there. I thought, “I am just a silly Gringo. They won’t care. And besides … I’m in Guatemala for Becoming Fools, not Reparando.” But Tita was persistent. She said she really wanted me to come. So, we drove straight from our production across the city to a church near La Limonada. Tita met us outside the church with hugs and we watched the film from the back of the room.

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After the film ended, Tita called Shorty and I to come up in front. She hugged me, and while everyone was clapping, they presented a gift from the people of La Limonada: A T-shirt covered with signatures of people who live in La Limonada … People who were very thankful we made the film. I could not have been more wrong about … everything.

My perspective was renewed.

Reparando brought me closer to many things in the list I made above – God, family, friends, education, and travel. On a personal level, it helped me understand my sons’ stories in a way that I could never grasp otherwise. On a broader level, Reparando has inspired countless resources given to mission that have blessed people with much more struggle than I could ever image – people who are very thankful.

I believe that Becoming Fools will do the same eventually. So why am I wrestling with thanksgiving over Becoming Fools? I’m human. I forget. That’s why we’re called to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (continually refocusing our perspective on truth). We forget. That’s one of the reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving: to remember. I am personally challenged to remember things that might not seem to easily fit into a warm and fuzzy Thanksgiving box. Because most of the time, I’m just trying to put these things in the box from the wrong angle.

Here’s the right angle:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Everything fits in the Thanksgiving box with the right angle.

It’s not easy, but hopefully if I continue to wrestle, Thanksgiving will eventually win with a knockout.

What Thanksgiving do you wrestle with?

Homeless Youth Aren’t Always Orphans

Homeless youth aren’t always orphans.

Becoming Fools documents the intriguing story of homeless youth in Guatemala learning to heal through the art of clowning. During production, we developed friendships with youth who began living on the streets when they were 7 years old – and we learned a lot about the issue. One of the most profound revelations is that a great number of these youth living in the streets actually have family that they could return to. But these youth choose to remain in the streets.

Some children lose their families. But many other youth CHOOSE to live in the streets – sleep in the rain, eat scraps from a dumpster, disengage from society, constantly “exist” in the threat of harm, and fall into the trap of drug addiction or prostitution …  etc … rather than return home to a roof and company of a family? Why? Often, it’s because violent city streets are actually more peaceful than the homes they left behind. It’s difficult to wrap my mind around that fact. But, I grew up in a healthy family.

Many of these youth were born into extreme conditions that will continue to incubate drug addiction, child labor, violence, and abuse … unless something changes the paradigm and endless cycle.

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Becoming Fools features stories from youth who fled to the streets for different reasons – but in a way, are exactly the same. Mefi lost both of his parents when he was 7 years old and moved in with a family member who abused him. Sandy was sent to the streets at an early age to sell candy to help provide income for her family. She was beaten when she didn’t return home with her quota. Raul lost his mother at an early age and lived with his alcoholic father who repeatedly abused him. They all have family … but their family members are abusive. They are guaranteed to be abused at home. At least there is a small chance of peace in the streets.

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It’s an extreme issue in Guatemala that doesn’t have an easy solution. For many reasons, there isn’t yet a strong culture of adoption and foster care in Guatemala, but that wouldn’t matter anyway. These children aren’t orphans. There isn’t a strong social services program with funding and resources to intervene. Unfortunately, Guatemala is riddled with violence and many people confuse homeless youth with violent delinquents (gang members, drug traffickers, organized crime) and ignore opportunities to make a difference. As result, these youth slip under the radar as they wander the streets trying to survive.

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But all is not lost. There are organizations responding to the issue, developing relationships with these youth and working with them day to day, in the hopes that their lives will be healed and transformed. During Becoming Fools production, we saw first hand how these “fools” pour their passion into the uphill battle of rescuing and rehabilitating homeless youth. On one occasion, a couple organizations partnered together so street youth from Guatemala City could share their clown performance with orphans outside of Antigua. Part of this event ended up in the final cut of the film and the symbolic significance of the event still echoes in my mind: homeless youth clowning for orphans, organizations partnering together, and joy conquering tragedy.

Help us conquer tragedy with joy by giving a tax deductible donation to the Becoming Fools Screening Tour.