The Death of Ideas (The World of Creativity: Episode 7)
This week I had the honour of sitting down with Lis Allen, an astonishing woman who has been dancing with death all her life.
I talked to her about how she looked at creativity and death, but before I give you her answer I have to tell you more about her and her many different connections do death.
1) Her grandfather was an undertaker so her mother grew up playing hide-and-seek between the coffins.
2) Her mother and father were medical staff in Iraq during World War 2 and fell in love while people where literally dying around them.
3) Because of a childhood trauma Lis describes it has having had “her childhood killed”.
4) Her brother, who was severely handicapped died when she was young.
5) Her aunt, who was like her second mum, was murdered by her husband.
6) Her Niece died by suicide.
7) Lis suffered two miss-carriages
8) And due to a difficult divorce Lis became very sick and almost died, she calls is “slowly dying” for many years, until she was able to recover and come back to life. (She was so depressed she was losing her hair)
9) and finally, Lis worked for 5 years as a Palliative nurse – which means that she was providing specialised medical and nursing care for people with life-limiting illnesses.
In 5 years she was present in the room when close to 200 people’s lives ended, which means she saw one person die, on average, every week for five years.You would think a person with so many facets of death in her life would be sad or serious, but Lis is the opposite, a women full of positive energy. She told me: “Done right, death is beautiful”.I asked her what she had learnt about creativity and death from caring for so many dying people.She told me: “People who are at the end of their lives regret much more the ideas they did not do than the ideas they did.”When I asked her for some advice to give to people about their creativity she said: “Do not be stopped by other people. Do not let other people kill the ideas you are passionate about.”Those sentences resonated with me.I am a firm believer in people trying to make their best idea happen. Even if others do not believe in them. Yes, even if the idea, in the end, turns out to die.I once wrote an article about how I felt when an idea I had been working on for three years was killed. We had bought a private island in the Philippines and build houses on it for three years, and just as we where about to open up for guest a typhoon totally destroyed everything we had built!In the article I wrote: “The joy of giving birth to ideas is greater than the sorrow of seeing ideas die. Immensely bigger. We have nothing to fear. You have nothing to fear.”(Read the full story here: https://www.linkedin.com/…/what-typhoon-thought-me-creativ…/
)Sitting down with Lis to learn about her insights about death, about dying – and about living a life to the fullest – was humbling and inspiring at the same time.So do not wait until you are dying to realise which ideas you should have made a reality.I hope you had a creative week, now make it a creative weekend – and in the spirit of the theme of this post – make it a creative life.
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