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To Run or Remain: The Path of Creative Development.

The creative path can present a dichotomy of experiences—the thrill of artistic exploration and synchronicity, and the mind-breaking moments of defeat and bad breaks. In the case of the latter, bad breaks, or ‘the breaks’ (as termed by hip-hop pioneer, Kurtis Blow) can prove advantageous for those who encounter them, as they provide an opportunity for insight in the way they are handled, or in other cases mishandled, in hindsight. In walking out the creative path and process, the breaks are largely instrumental in cultivating a level of resilience in artists in their decision to remain committed in the face of challenges or hardship.

The decision to remain committed to creative vision requires the calm and confidence of faith at the root of resilience which strengthens and accrues through every onset of challenge, chaos or misfortune. In avoiding the breaks, whether personal, professional, financial or wellness-oriented, the creative development of artists can become stalled, negatively affecting the realization of their goals and aspirations. The habit of running from unwanted challenges works against the immune system of mindset, leaving artists unprepared and ill-equipped for the next creative or business challenge on the horizon, in side-stepping the breaks of the present. Repeatedly running from the breaks can result in a state of self-abandonment--a habit that over time subtracts against the promise of unrealized future potential.

The human inclination to run from challenge is illustrated through the narrative of the prophet Jonah. The Creator spoke to Jonah, giving him instructions to travel to the city of Nineveh to deliver a message of warning to its citizens to repent of their wickedness and change their ways. In turn, Jonah ran in the opposite direction, boarding a ship headed for Spain that would soon be enveloped by a violent storm, sent by the Creator to deter Jonah’s path. With the onset of the storm, the sailors panicked, working desperately to save their ship, all while Jonah slept in the ship’s hold--which by all accounts was a subconscious effort to run further away from the Creator and his perceived set of breaks. After being awakened by the captain, lots were drawn by all to determine Jonah as the source of their calamity, resulting in Jonah asking the crew to throw him overboard in his acknowledgment that his run from the Creator’s directive as the cause of the storm. After he was thrown overboard, the storm came to an immediate end, and Jonah was swallowed by a whale and held for three days until his release to dry land--where the Creator once again spoke to him, with the command to deliver the original message, as previously directed. Jonah’s attempt to outrun his purpose only delayed the resolution of the challenge ahead of him and further stalled his spiritual enlightenment towards understanding the Creator's motives and his own personal development.

In parallel, within a separate account in scripture, Christ’s disciples found themselves aboard a ship in the midst of a storm with Christ asleep below deck—a sleep that was reflective of the peace and confidence that resided within him, in his relationship with the Creator and his alignment and adherence to his purpose. When awakened by the panic of his disciples, Christ met the storm face-forward with a word and mindset of resolution and calm, bringing the storm to a close—demonstrating the underlying qualities and principles of resilience. In both accounts of scripture, in the running and remaining, there are two different results. As a result of running, Jonah's storm catches up to him and forces his hand. In the remaining in resolve through calm, faith and confidence, the storm surrounding Christ abates, and the power of resilience is realized. In following through the macro of both life narratives to the fulfillment of their individual purpose, both Jonah and Christ are fated to be enveloped by three days of darkness—one in the belly of the whale, and the other in death—however, upon release, Jonah has delayed the completion of his purpose to save the people of Nineveh, as a result of his running, while Christ rises victoriously with his life’s purpose complete, demonstrating the highest level of resilience.

In encountering the breaks of life—good and bad—running only creates delays in the personal and creative development of artists and creatives. In the sage sentiment of the hip-hop classic “Runnin” by west coast artists, Pharcyde, running away from challenges will inevitably result in a day of reckoning and mandatory action—and a remaining until the storm ends.

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