A Taoist Tale and the Creative Process

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Moments | One Comment

The Book of Tea recounts a Taoist Tale about a magic harp. It goes something like this – a long time ago, a giant Kiri tree reigned like a king over the land. Its roots mingled with the coils of the silver dragon that slept beneath it.

Then a great wizard fashioned a magical harp from the wood of the tree. The Emperor of China thought only the greatest of musicians could play this harp, except no one could. Then came Peiwoh, a prince of harpists, who lovingly stroked the magic instrument and played and played and played. When someone asked him how he did it, he replied, “others have failed because they sang but of themselves. I left the harp to choose its theme, and knew not truly whether the harp had been Peiwoh or Peiwoh were the harp.”

To me this story says, don’t force it, that doesn’t work. Let the creativity flow, it’s a natural process. Forcing my creativity was precisely what I tried to do this past week.

It all started with vegetable fried rice. I thought I would cook vegetable fried rice, using these ingredients.

Basic Ingredients

It tasted so blah, I couldn’t stand it and I realized why I hardly ever made fried rice anymore, at least with just those ingredients. Then I went into a sort of creative paralysis. I couldn’t do anything for days. Arghh.

Then I tried to relax and made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Honestly, this photo felt a little forced but at least I created something that tasted good.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

And because I’m trying to learn some Italian classics, I then made Spaghetti Carbonara.

Spaghetti Carbonara

The boys loved it! If I can come up with a consistent recipe between the 3 or 4 I tried to use, I’ll post it.

Finally, a few days ago, I went out into my jungle of a backyard and took photos. Nature doesn’t allow you to force or stage anything so finding this dandelion was perfect for me.

Just the Skirt

My creativity block is gone now. I stopped forcing something that wasn’t there. I have some ideas for a better vegetable fried rice dish but I’m going to let the ingredients speak for themselves – my next challenge.

Love, Ana

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