Giving ourselves the permission to create freely.

Safe Spaces for Your Creativity to Flow - Marc Thomas King
Marc in character as a meditation guru

Marc Thomas King is a family friend and actor living in Los Angeles.

Every time I visit my American family on the East Coast I stop over in L.A., and we’ve had some great chats over the years.

During my latest visit, he played an audio recording for me on his phone. It was a spontaneous free flow session where he allowed himself to express whatever he felt like at that moment.

We keep in touch via Whatsapp, and I receive regular ‘audio sketches’ from Marc every week. They become more elaborate and entertaining as he continues to allow himself to express freely without filtering his creative impulses.

I was intrigued by the raw creativity that was running through every sketch and wanted to know how Marc creates a safe space for himself to just express himself without being shut down by self-censoring or criticism.

This is an extensive talk about creativity, the things which make it flow, and connecting authentically in our interactions with others.

Show Notes

Recording Yourself Can Affect Your Expression 02:29

  • Marc: Being recorded can dictate how you express yourself. It can be an impediment or a tool for being creatively free flowing.
  • Ben: I wanted to become more comfortable being recorded, so I set myself a comfort zone challenge where I would hit record on a camera and allow myself to make mistakes and be awkward. (Free Flow Fridays Series).
  • Marc: If we fall in love with the process of creating and don’t attach ourselves to the end result, the act of creating itself, feels good to do.

How Would You Describe Your Audio Sketches? 08:32

  • Marc: They are moments of unbridled inspiration. It’s a burst of formless energy that feels like it needs a channel. I give myself the permission to go with the flow.
  • Just by chance, it creates a form of its own, just by allowing the process to unfold.
  • The key factor is that I give myself the warrant ‘to do’.

Audio Sketch 1 13:17

  • Ben: Has there been a time where you have felt stifled to express yourself?
  • Marc: I make a big effort not to place any heavy criticism on anything I create. To keep the momentum of my energy flowing I put an emphasis on just having fun.
  • I’m not trying to create something that’s definable. I’m trying to create something that resonates with others but can’t be categorised.
  • Ben: When someone’s expressing themselves authentically, there is no formula to replicate that.
  • Marc: How can we live authentically? Not trying to appear authentic to people, but actually being authentic.
  • The process of doing something can be inherently enjoyable and authentic.
  • Ben: The process of creating naturally brings us to the evolution of our creative expression.
  • Marc: What you’re hearing in my audio sketches is me allowing myself to imagine and actualise.

Audio Sketch 2 26:57

Trusting There Is Value in Our Creativity 29:07

  • Ben: When I focus on the end result of what I’m creating I have a harder time creating. I was doubting there was any real value in the podcasts, but when I listened back to them I could see there was a value inside them, so I began to trust there was value in my creativity even If I didn’t feel that way at the time.

What Does It Take to Create and Connect Without It Being About Our Ego (Trying to Appear Clever or Amazing)? 32:57

  • Marc: It feels hard to connect with people on a ‘real’ level.
  • How can we get beyond wanting to appear clever to one another and just be with the authenticity of the moment?
  • Ben: Courage. The courage to step outside your comfort zone in social interactions; asking someone how they are really doing if you can sense there’s more going on for them beneath the surface.
  • Present moment awareness. Step back from everything that’s going on and listening to what’s around you. Being with the present moment offers a fresh, alive energy that naturally arises.
  • Become aware of your intention. Is my intention to connect? Or is my intention to prove myself to the other person?
  • Getting to know how superiority and inferiority feel in our bodies can help us know when we’re not being authentic.
  • Marc: Just be honest with yourself.

Freewriting as a Safe Space to Let Your Creativity Flow 43:18

  • Marc: I did a lot of journal writing in the 80’s and gave myself the challenge of not using personal pronouns.
  • Ben: I feel experimenting with different ways to express yourself is part of the self-discovery process. By experimenting, you discover what it is you care about, what you like to create, and what you enjoy talking about.
  • Freewriting has given me the space to explore and experiment.
  • Marc: Maybe what you write isn’t the most important thing, but the authentic moments it triggers when you re-read what you’ve written.

Audio Sketch 3 47:37

Creating Safe Spaces 48:56

  • Marc: A safe space is a space to express yourself confidently and freely without self-criticism. To let it all be good enough.
  • When I can let myself say, feel, do, anything that comes up while I’m writing or recording an audio sketch, I’m not stopping the creativity when it begins to flow.
  • Ben: By writing regularly you become familiar with translating your in-the-moment experience out onto the page without filtering it.
  • Marc: I’m trying to capture the essence of freewriting in the audio sketches. I say to myself, ‘I’m just going to do this and I just don’t give a shit what the result is. I’m going to enjoy the process.’

Audio Sketch 4 1:03:29

Enjoying the Process of Creativity 1:04:21

  • Marc: Any form of creativity where you allow yourself to be free and uncritical, if we just do it, there’s a sense of satisfaction in just acting that out. We begin to see that the process of creating is enjoyable.

Creating Safe Spaces for Others 1:09:41

  • Marc: When your with another person you can give them a space of safety. When we create a safe space for others, we automatically create a safe space for ourselves.

Working with Criticism 1:11:33

  • Marc: If you put your work out there, you can be sure you’re going to get criticism. There will be people out there that hate it, and there will be people out there who find it fascinating.
  • Any criticism has to be used to embolden your creative process, not make you run away from it.
  • I don’t discard criticism; I look at how it could be useful to what I’m creating.
  • Ben: Any criticism that’s personally attacking you can be safely dismissed because it’s their own emotional reaction which has been triggered by an aspect of something I’ve created.

Mentioned in This Episode

Featured image by Kevin Dooley

Licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)