Back in the day when the big circulation newspapers had huge budgets for advertising I worked at The Toronto Star as a copywriter in their Creative Communications department. In those days it didn’t matter to me so much what I wrote as the fact that I was writing. I churned out print ads, radio commercials, subway posters, and slogans promoting The Star and, whenever possible, freelanced articles that would appear in the paper as I tried to earn my chops as a journalist.
My boss was a hard-core ,old-fashioned newspaper man and former managing editor of the paper. He probably wasn’t very happy with the side-ways “promotion” that had stuck him in Communications and Public Relations; regardless, he was going to make damn sure anything that came out of his department was well written.
Early on he hauled me into his office and said, “What do you do when you get stuck? When you can’t write?” This was clearly a rhetorical question – he was just gearing up to give me a lecture on what he did when he got stuck. But before he could speak, I answered him anyway. “I pray,” I said.
I will never forget the look on this guy’s face. He looked at me like I was some hideous creature from outer space that had been accidentally beamed into his world. I had left him literally speechless. Unfortunately, this – and my quick dismissal from his office – meant I never learned what he was going to tell me about getting “unstuck”. It also meant that I didn’t get a chance to explain to him that “praying” for me had little to do what we were taught in the religions of our childhoods. There was no begging or beseeching. Just a simple opening up to the Divine that lives within – a Divine that is accessible because it does indeed live within.
Over thirty years of being a writer has taught me that simply opening yourself to this cosmic, creative force – known in yoga as prāna-shakti — and allowing it flow through you is the most powerful creativity exercise you can do. Prāna-shakti is the creative force of the universe, and she is the creative force within you. This is why all the activities on these pages begin with Exercise One. If you’re not using this technique – or one like it – give it a try. The results will speak for themselves.