It’s a great pleasure to be interviewing Staci for our series of conversations with creative people.
Welcome, Staci! What drives your creative work?
Love and relationship drives my creative work. For me, there’s no separation between my creative work as a writer or healing practitioner and my life. In fact, my life is a creative work that’s rooted in conscious relationship with myself, people I love and a commitment to something bigger than myself. Consciously navigating life is my creative practice unto itself. Creativity is a dear friend (often a life saver!) and an essential force that moves through my life in a myriad of ways to nourish and guide me.
What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and meet yourself at the beginning of your creative career?
I’d advise me be more compassionate with myself. I’d tell my young self not to worry about doing something perfectly, just keep showing up because true relationship takes time to grow. Trust and follow, follow and trust. I’d encourage me to follow my young urge to cultivate personal healing because generating anything involves becoming whole enough to get out of the way. I’d invite me to have faith, that even if my choices look like zigzags of distraction to other people, developing these seemingly disjointed aspects of myself is the very thing that will facilitate my wholeness. I’d tell me to trust my intuition and remember my sense of humor. When all else fails, I’d encourage me to not to hold onto anything too tightly by surrendering, asking for help and then starting over, again and again and again.
How do you keep creating when things get difficult?
I keep creating because things are difficult. Connecting with creativity sustains me during hard times. If you’re asking how I keep creating if I’m feeling blocked, I draw upon personal healing tools to engage with what’s getting in the way. Often that helps me shift AND provides some great material as wellJ. Then it’s a matter of just showing up and writing my way through the resistance. If that doesn’t work, I take a break, draw upon more healing tools to let go more, and start over again.
How does your creative work affect the rest of your life?
In every way. Regardless of product, connecting with creativity is deeply healing. I don’t sing or dance professionally but these creative relationships infuse my life with joy and meaning. I co-facilitate something called Sacred Dance that explores body movement as a spiritual practice. After ten years, I’ve noticed that as participants connect with their own creative life force energy through dance, their lives transform in amazing ways. For me, the heart of creativity is how it grows people on the inside.
What is it like to send your work out into the world?
This is my first book and it’s just come out in September but so far the experience has been a gift. Someone once told me that writing a book is like generating a conversation with society about something that’s meaningful to you. Instead of perceiving healing solely as a positive outcome physically, financially or emotionally, I’m excited to discuss healing as a unique creative relationship we can access (and practice!) every day.
And because my book contains stories about sessions with clients and personal moments from my daily life, becoming more public also feels vulnerable. When my kids were younger and about to do something new, I’d say, “So how scared are you? Show me.” Their little arms would open wide demonstrating how they felt. Then I’d say, “Now show me how excited you are.” Their arms would (almost!) always be wider with excitement than fear. But that’s okay because embracing all aspects of ourselves supports wholeness. I was definitely more scared at the beginning of writing the book, and now my arms feel pretty wide open with joy.
What was the best advice anyone gave to you?
This is difficult as I have many wise people in my life! If I had to choose one central teaching, it arises from the Center for Sacred Studies where I studied for many years. There, teachers consistently advised us “to follow the energy”. By definition, following energy means staying behind it. These may seem like simple words but we’ve been taught to get ahead of things in our lives to avoid fear by relying on control. You can follow the energy of anything from a project, cause, intention, group or relationship. Learning how to let go and follow energy is a big commitment that’s gifted me in a thousand faith restoring ways from arriving at a book contract to supporting my daughter’s healing. Certainly, following energy relates to developing creativity. In fact, following energy is a creative practice that shows me how to move through life.
What helps you to pay attention to the world?
My intention to live consciously as a way to develop meaning keeps me on my feet. I specifically stay awake by connecting with eight universal teachers: fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender. Relating with these guides–sometimes so I can learn how to negotiate around them (hello, fear!)—helps focus my attention so I can navigate everyday living in a balanced way. Learning how to navigate life in conversation with the unknown is an individual process that naturally fosters creativity. We all develop meaning differently, and that’s part of the magic of being alive.
Staci Boden is a San Francisco-based author, healing practitioner, and energy worker. Her book, Turning Dead Ends into Doorways: How to Grow Through Whatever Life Throws Your Way (Conari Press, 2012), introduces eight teachers for moving beyond control to navigate daily life unknowns: fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender. Through her company, Dancing-Tree Consulting, Staci sees private clients as well as leads personal and spiritual development workshops in energy work, sacred dance, breathwork, and guided visualization. To learn more, visit Staci’s website, meet on facebook or connect via twitter.