Personal Creativity Vs Talent
Where there is fear, there is no creativity!
After almost a decade on national television, with the Discovery Chanel, executive producing and starring about a thousand hours of original, award winning, lifestyle programming, I saw the thunderclouds gathering. I knew an economic crash was brewing. By that time I was ready to crash too. It had been an enormously fulfilling journey but a very public one that had lasted a lot longer than I’d have ever imagined. In fact, I was never suppose to be on television in the first place, and frankly didn’t want to be. As fate would have it, I made plans and God laughed.
I’d been obsessed with the miracle of personal creativity since I could remember. As I worked my way through several successful careers in all areas of the arts, I’d taught workshops on the side. Over the years it became quite clear that our culture could not make the distinction between personal creativity, inherently available to every singe human being, and the concept of “talent,” which was a purely manmade concept that sold personal creativity as a commodity, seemingly reserved for a rarefied and special few. Yet, I watched everyday people’s lives literally transform during the intense workshops so I knew creativity’s immense and staggering power to transform was very real.
Years later, as I re-examined and struggled with my own personal core beliefs I would come to akin the “creativity” versus “talent” confusion with yet another, even more profound one…spirituality, and God.
While God was and is directly available to each and every single individual on the planet, that fact too had become a monetization tool that man had also turned into a rather fear-based commodity. Over hundreds of years, who God was became fractured and soon splintered and manipulated into many organized manmade religions that, in man’s own quest for power, still wreaks havoc on this planet.
As I continued to conduct the personal creativity classes the link between creativity and God became almost indistinguishable. As I got better at simply being the I.T. guy, reconnecting folks back up to their innate creativity, and letting God do the rest, a vast majority of student’s lives became more spiritually enriched in the process…as had my own. It was in the purity of exercising my own personal creativity that had brought me closer to whom God really was and this extraordinarily powerful gift bestowed on every single human being, available to all when fear, created by our manmade beliefs, is silenced.
When we begin to operate from our quiet humble hearts that hold the secretes of the universe verses the incessant and blaring chatter of our minds, filled only with what we ourselves put there, profound transformation begins to happen.
In the early days of 1990’s television, I began to see the concept of “spiritual enlightenment ” go on the rise as a vast majority began to look to so-called self-proclaimed gurus for answers instead of looking within…proof that the idea of God had become so blurry and distorted fanning the flames of man’s belief—that God was a judgmental fearsome, fire and brimstone power. This simply amplified the fear in our minds. Rather than reconnecting us with the awesome love and eternal individual understanding available to us it has often taken us farther away from God.
Meanwhile, Oprah Winfrey began to zone in on this at a time when I too was wondering if what I had learned and taught in private creativity workshops so successfully, could actually be taught on a mass scale? I watched her struggle with the burden of how do you convey this without ever mentioning the idea of God? Not only was it a total commercial network no-no, but she too did not want to be lumped into the category of “preacher” or worse, having her audience think that her understanding of God bore any relationship to what she knew other’s manmade idea of God was.
So she played the audience…putting herself in their shoes and asking the gurus of the day the tough questions in efforts to separate the sages from the scammers. It was brilliant and she did a great service to many and many of the self-proclaimed fell, one by one.
Yet, I watched from a very different perspective. As she became an advocate for meditation, journaling, and deep, introspection she introduced a new abstract vocabulary that included multi-dimensions, universal thought…in short anything but God. I worried that in her earnestness, along with giving away cars, she too was inadvertently complicating the purity of her own truth. She, without realizing it, was making the spiritual inward journey even more complicated and even scarier.
Now with 20 years of personal creativity study under my belt, I knew, by virtue of it’s success, there was another way…perhaps a cleaner, far less scary gateway to personal growth that could be less abstract and leave instant physical proof of the power of positive change. In a way, it was spiritual healing from the outside in.
With that in mind, and now with years of multi-media experience to call upon, I began to look at the TV landscape at the time. Up popped Martha Stewart, then on PBS. In a way Martha Stewart was doing the same thing Oprah was, in efforts to empower others to create the perfect home, while extolling the virtues of a hand crafted life, it was so exacting and time consuming that it was impossible for the average working woman to do anything but watch as a guilty pleasure and feel well…guilty. Also popular at the time was the sitcom, Home Improvement where Tim Allen’s funny Tool Time, segments were endearing and self-effacing and pure entertainment.
Well, the idea hit. Everyone has a home. I’d come to realize that the mental interior always seems to match the physical interior…but could I prove it? If I could, the home was the perfect metaphor. With that in mind, I opened Christopher Lowell’s decorative home arts center in the quant little village of Chagrin Falls Ohio. The goal was to use this common dynamotor, as the personal creativity focus. Was it possible that changing the physical interior, might also change the mental one?
Over the following 6 years, under the guise of interior design workshops, we graduated 3,000 everyday people through the new creativity courses. We shot thousands of feet of video only to realize that we’d amassed a staggering illustration of personal transformation on film for the first time. It worked.
As students got busy affordably working in their physical environments pushing through the fears of thinking they we not creative (having confused it with talent) they began to mentally transform. Their low self-esteem soared and in one interview after another we captured their stories. They were compelling, full of tearful joy, with one account after the other of how the workshops not only changed their lives but, left them with undeniable proof that they truly were creative. While watching the interviews in the edit room, there it was. God was in play, healing and transforming without ever having to mention his name. From then on, creativity would be code for God even if I was the only one who knew it…because through our own personal creativity is to gateway to him. Period
I quickly auditioned people to host what I hoped would be a brand new home improvement series. One that would combine the psychological and spiritual underpins from the personal creativity classed now combined with the new hands-on home improvement skills we’d perfected, achievable by anyone. More importantly, we also added the silly and fun sketch comedy from “Home Improvement” good naturedly spoofing Martha Stewart. We’d learned early that the key to dispensing heavy, rather life-changing principles had to happen while people were not only engaged in witnessing the physical creative process but while laughing too. In the act of laughter and the element of unpredictability, the mind shuts off and the heart opens.
For presentation purposes only I hosted the pilot show to present to Discovery Channel. They weren’t sure what it was, but didn’t want anyone else to get it either, so they green lit the series but with the caveat that I be the host of the series. I will spare you the agonizing soul-searching that followed. I watched the student interviews over and over again and prayed.
Having privately coached many high-profile actors in my time, I knew full well how the insidious world of show business and fame takes its toll on the soul and frankly wanted no part of it in front of the camera. I also knew that if it worked, the show could in fact be a life changer and the message, far more important than my personal comfort zone.
In 2001, Interior Motives with Christopher Lowell made its debut. Within a month, it was the highest rated how-to show Discovery Channel had ever had. Under the guise of home improve, over the ensuing years hundreds of thousands of letters poured in and for almost a decade. Interior motives, then the Emmy-winning Christopher Lowell Show would be a daily appointment view for 11 million weekly viewers with a large segment sharing--- you guessed it…Oprah’s audience.
Over the years millions told me at personal appearances that they knew, and had discovered for themselves that creativity was in fact code for God. So I fought even harder for the purity of the message as the snarky world of reality TV raised its ugly head and the networks wanted me to follow suite. Of course I could not.
By 2009, I was spent. I’d done everything I was supposed to do. In addition to executive producing, co-writing, designing interiors, I was writing a book a year and doing creativity classes (this time from the stage of my one-man show) and launched over 4,500 home products, turning Christopher Lowell into a billion dollar brand. The machine was getting bigger then the message and I knew it was not what God had in mind. When 9/11 hit, Discovery used me as the calming voice in a series of public service announcements. I was happy to do then, but they had started adding to the ridiculous perception that I was some kind of guru, which I hated. I was only the messenger. All this was further detracting form the power of the intended message. It was glaringly clear that I’d already stayed too long at the fair and desperately needed an exit clause to step back into the shadows.
I asked God if he was finally done with me? To say he works in mysterious ways in an understatement. As the economic crash hit, I knew that my audience would be hit the hardest. I went to Discovery and said, “We’ve had an amazing run. With reality TV getting stronger, it’s not my thing. Besides the home-improvement genre is dyeing, and I just can’t predict how the American lifestyle will change after so many will now be forced to reprioritize. I don’t want to be on TV talking about duvet covers when most my audience is struggling just to keep their homes.” Well, with God’s help, my impassioned plea worked and with a single season of a new series Work That Room now in the can, I quietly got in my car, left LA and all its trappings, and drove to Santa Fe New Mexico. Within a month I began working on my 7th book RightSIZE UP which this site is based on.
Lowell Home is my own little web project to dispense what I’ve learned in researching and tracking where we are now. Through our thinktank, Consortium POV some of the worlds best minds contributed to the RightSIZE UP.
History does repete itself and now, once again it’s finally time to reinvent now, more than ever before. We as good American’s have the right to individually peruse the true constitutional promises…no matter who is at the helm. We are granted the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Only this time it’s more in our individual hands then ever before. Finally putting individual quality of life first is the only antidote in weathering the new political storm we must go through to raise new awareness’s that in the end will make us stronger and we evolve. Toghether We Can Do It! ...and have fun in the process!
You can read more about Lowell here.