Exploring Potential Through Creativity and Sensory Sensitivity

Are you ready to play with a new project? To explore the potential of an idea that’s been on your mind for a while? Or to see what changes might be waiting for you in the months ahead? Well you’re in the right place!

This season, we explore the concept of human potential through the lens of sensitivity and creativity.

Potential is the “power” inside something. It is that which is possible or what may arise from within. Many factors contribute to the potential within a person, project, idea, object, environment, etc. And it’s rarely (if ever) set in stone.

Self-Actualisation and The Art of Becoming Fully Human

Our potential doesn’t wait for us to find it. Instead, the potential inside us, our endeavours, and aspirations is a dynamic energy-source that ebbs and flows as we let it fizz and play within, around, and between us. New possibilities emerge as we bring creative spirit into how we hold and engage with the world.

The psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman wrote about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in his book, Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization. He says “the pyramid from the 1960s told a story that Maslow never meant to tell: a story of achievement, of mastering level by level until you’ve “won” the game of life.” He says that this vision of linear progress is not the spirit of self-actualisation. Self-actualisation is more like the metaphor of a sailboat.

“Life isn’t a trek up a summit. It’s more like a vast ocean, full of new opportunities for meaning and discovery but also danger and uncertainty. In this choppy surf, a pyramid is of little use.”

Harmonious Integration and Transcendence

Kaufman points to the dynamic sailboat as a better metaphor for life than a pyramid “because the key is not which level you reach but the harmonious integration that you have within yourself and how that interacts with the world.” This underpins experiences of transcendence, those most wondrous moments of life that move through us when we’re not directly seeking them. They are moments of flow where our sense of self is in communion with the rest of humanity.

The image of boats on the sea stretches beyond the vision of humans as isolated entities. Because “while we each travel in our own direction, a wave could come crashing down on all the boats at once, making us realize that at the end of the day, we’re all sailing the vast unknown of the sea. Together.”

Compared to the isolation of the pyramid, the sailboat’s collectivity resonates with what we’ve been exploring about the social engagement system and the importance of co-regulation in our autonomic nervous system. When we are in a state of safety rather than defence, we can better listen, understand, and connect creatively with new possibilities. This truly opens up avenues of potential to explore together.

The Sailboat Metaphor by Scott Barry Kaufman (Illustration by Andy Ogden

Exploring Potential in The Haven

This season, we will consider the concept of potential from different angles. I have prompts and tools to help us explore our creative potential and learn more about how we define and judge success on our terms.

We will also think about questions such as:

  • Where does the trait of high sensitivity fit in the collective picture of human potential?
  • What is the relationship between later life blooming and hidden potential?
  • How can we explore the non-linear potential pathways without getting lost and overwhelmed?
  • How can we use harmonious passion and deliberate play to learn, grow, and improve?
  • Why are detours and digressions a great way to overcome a sense of stuckness, stagnation, and languishing?
  • How does our cultural understanding of potential impact our relationship with new possibilities?
  • How can we redefine success in ways that feel motivating, compelling, and exciting to us personally?

While we all travel our journeys in life, we are connected by an ocean, impacted by similar elements, and able to support, inspire, and look after one another along the way. And I look forward to sailing the unknown seas of this season…together.

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