867. Creativity Is the Key to Self-Discovery
“I feel very fortunate I grew up in circumstance where imagination was honored, and even where both of my parents essentially were black sheep in their own families. I saw the expense or the aloneness that a creative life brings, but also the deep satisfaction that is unlike anything else.”
Leigh McCloskey is a modern Renaissance man, an artist, author, well-known actor and visual philosopher. His highly creative life has been devoted to exploring the symbolic, archetypal and hidden aspects of the psyche and inner self through his art, scholarship, books and experiences as a professional actor for many years. He has hosted weekly discussion groups in his home, Olandar, for over 38 years. His deep knowledge ranges from arcane wisdom, religion, depth psychology and quantum physics to the mythic imagination and the creation of art. He is the founder of Olandar Foundation for Emerging Renaissance, and gives regular tours of his home and art.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“In 1980 I was asked to join the cast of the TV show Dallas to play Mitch Cooper, which was on one level a great opportunity, but was going to be the beginning separation of the actor and the artist. Because in a way when I did Dallas, there was this global acclaim. So there was this sense of, you know, you’ve succeeded. And I thought, this doesn’t feel like success. In other words, it felt good…. I didn’t want to bite the hand that fed me, but I started to realize that maybe an acting career in film, unless one is very lucky, was going to be more like a business and that you had to see the limitations.”
The Most Powerful Lessons and Experiences?
Lessons from his father:
– Know yourself
– Be true to yourself
– Never laugh at another person’s dreams
“That third point really stuck with me and has stuck with me all my life because
there’s a type of honoring that I learned from my family structure that allows a
willingness to see people in what they are possible of being rather than looking
at them as everything they are not.”
– When Leigh asked his father if he should go to art school, his father, the artist,
said no. “What I really want you to do is go to the museums, and start
spending time with the paintings that you are attracted to. Let the paintings
become your teacher. Look at how a Vermeer created the colors or the
transitions or the sense of texture─not with the distraction of the painting but
to use it as a way of teaching.”
Lessons from his own life:
1. Turn off technology. Allow yourself to sit in silence, to listen, really listen to your own breath, listen and begin to look and begin to quiet down. Because one of the things we have to understand is if we’re panicking, we’re not trusting. We’re in a state of constant anxiety. So the first key is to begin to give yourself permission to calm down.
2. One of the mistakes I think we’ve made is everyone talks about the inner child. It’s not an inner child, it’s not an age; it’s human innocence and human innocence needs our protection in the same way that love must be protected. It’s not something given to be squandered, but really something to be cherished and found meaningful.
3. I really want to inspire people to think, not to simply react, but to understand that their creativity is really not something they need to prove anything with. It’s their intimate key for self-discovery and a way of asking questions that can’t be asked with words or discovered with a program or an app, and to trust their hands to understand that they are the technology, that we’re the outcome of an amazing journey.
Connecting With Leigh McCloskey
YouTube: Leigh McCloskey Food for Thought
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