Rethinking Genius: GENI-US
Creativity is one of my favorite aspects of being alive in a body on planet earth. And one of my favorite things to write about. Its root Latin meaning is to bring something into being — and not necessarily in an unusual, outlandish or precocious way. Everyone has this native trait, although of course, we don’t all express it in the same way, equally as easily, or as fully. But it’s vitalizing for our self-expression (and self-esteem) that we imagine we are creative by design; and that we have something worthwhile to offer life as creators.
Exploring the word genius takes us a step farther into experiencing our individual talents, skills and natural ways as both special and needed by others. Of course, some people are clearly standouts: They may rate a high I.Q., sing opera at the age of six, be a world-class cheese maker, ball player, design an amazing sky-scraper or find a cure for a rare disease. But what I love to tell people is that you don’t have to stand out in these kinds of ways to call yourself a genius. All you have to do is believe (or at least be hopeful!) that you are a gift to your world –by divine design. Then keep discovering how and why. Keep being gift-ed.
Years ago, I attended a workshop in Los Angeles featuring the work of the architectural genius, Buckminster Fuller. “Bucky” is famous for inventing the geodesic dome. On one of the display tables was a pamphlet restating genius as “the genie in us.” That ran my bell! Each of us has a genie, has magic, light within to share, potential to realize (even –and perhaps especially — those who seem most lost to it. Ask me how I became a healer, psychologist?!) Anyway, from that day on, I began to reshape the word genius to mean the special, unique gift each person is to the world around us. You have a strong natural aptitude, talent or inclination that defines you. It’s about your unique way of loving, serving, bringing to life, creating well-being for yourself and others.
Judging by my friend the dictionary, you could also, by extension, include the genius of non-human beings: animals, plants, places. Genius also refers to “the prevailing spirit” or “distinctive character” of something. In Roman mythology, genius could also refer to a powerful guardian spirit, one that watches over you. Related, in Muslim mythology, we hear about the “jinni,’ a being said to be able to assume a human or animal form and exert supernatural influence (hopefully for the good!) In my personal view, this suggests that the genie-in-us is born of something mysterious and powerful, that beckons us to fully inhabit our best possible self! To be kind, compassionate, cordial –and playful with those around us. I couldn’t help but notice that the word genial has a similar root. A very long time ago, genial meant “marked by genius.” Some wise elders of antiquity knew that our true, magical, creatively expressive and loveably talented selves are also naturally nice to be around. Shining deLight, Marcia –and these folks:
YOU came into this world as a radiant bundle of exuberant riddles. You slipped into this dimension as a shimmering burst of spiral hallelujahs. You blasted into this realm as a lush explosion of ecstatic gratitude. It’s your birthright to fulfill those promises. –Rob Breszny, author, astrologer
THERE is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you I all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium. It will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. –Martha Graham, dancer/choreographer
THE transfiguration of matter occurs through wonder.–James Hillman, psychologist, author
EVERYbody is a genius. But if you judge a fish in its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein