Next Berlin speaker
March 15, 8:30am • Pinguindruck • part of a series on Water
Februar’s Theme is Symmetry
What do a planet, an attractive face, and a snowflake have in a common? Symmetry.
Symmetry is prevalent throughout life. You can fold a sunflower in half, stories have an arc, and the human body can bend and create mesmerizing shapes. There are also irregularities that enhances life; it adds beauty and complexity. If there’s symmetry in nature, then there must be a kind of symmetry in the way we lead our lives.
Symmetry cannot be possible without asymmetry, the same way sadness magnifies joy.
Alan Lightman wrote in The Accidental Universe, “I would claim that symmetry represents order, and we crave order in this strange universe we find ourselves in.” But chaos will happen whether we like it or not, it’s how we respond to it that either creates order or more chaos.When in chaos, create your symmetry.
Januar’s Theme is Surreal
When you look at the artwork of Frida Kahlo or Salvador Dalí, there’s an element of surprise. Why does it feel familiar yet also otherworldly?
Surrealists sought to break free from the shackles of the rational mind and dive into the deep end of the unconscious. The canvas, then, became a mirror for what emerged out of that process. This movement was inspired by events in the 1920s on the heels of the first world war and continues to influence artists, writers, photographers, and filmmakers. This cultural and artistic movement ushered in new techniques that helped humans expand their minds.
Today, we recognize a sense of the surreal in unexpected moments in daily life. Art exhibits like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room are becoming readily available, encouraging people to immerse themselves in experiences that break reality. A ballet performance or a silent meditation retreat can be a dreamlike experience.Whether we experience a surreal moment or dabble in processes like drawing without thinking or writing without self-editing, there’s something to be learned about ourselves and what lingers under the hood of our desires to keep life orderly and controlled.London, Lausanne, Zurich, Cologne, or Hamburg?
December’s Theme is Tradition
Traditions are sacred because they cultivate consistency and a sense of belonging. It’s the bread and butter for fostering connection and community.
We’re in a time where traditions are being challenged and remixed. We question how they came to be and the context in how (or if) they fit into the future.
“This is just the way it is” is a statement of fear, not possibility. It undermines the human capacity to adapt and create change. Traditions are made by us, for us, so therefore they can be reinvented with intention and imagination.
You may not start the next national holiday, but you can bring to the table your generosity, your kindness, your vision and heart to create a more welcoming future.
November’s Theme is Restart
I need to disconnect. There’s too much noise in my head. I am burning out. I need space to rethink everything. I need a hard reset.
Exhaustion is like dehydration—when you feel it, you’ve gone too far.
So we finally cave in and heed the words of people who’ve found their centers again: take a trip into nature, go for walks, unplug completely.The challenge with restarting is that we often save it for the end rather than creating pockets throughout our weeks where we prioritize reflection and solitude.
Restarting is essential. It’s a way to digest experiences, reflect and cultivate self-awareness, and remind ourselves that life is to be enjoyed. It’s refreshing and feeds greater intention and momentum into our creative endeavors.
If you find yourself feeling like you’re on a treadmill with an invisible hand increasing the velocity, remind yourself: only you have the power to get off and recalibrate.
October’s Theme is Honesty
Honesty is the currency for connection. It’s a gift we give to each other that strengthens bonds and deepens relationships. Honesty is a practice where we start from the heart.
Being honest isn’t always easy and being honest all of the time is impractical. Giving honest feedback or sharing our opinions requires sensitivity to the context and meeting others where they are—with kindness and empathy.
Honesty is about providing the information that you would want if you were in a similar situation.
Another way to look at honesty: it’s a flower born out of the soil of trust, connection, and conversations. The more we nurture conversations that breed trust and forge a connection, the more honesty becomes baked into the way we lead our lives.
September’s Theme is Chaos
When you think of chaos, you might think of utter confusion, a jumbled mess, destruction, or Slack being down.
But previously the word “chaos” had a different meaning. In ancient Greece, writers and thinkers described chaos as more of an abyss, an empty void that existed before life. It wasn’t until the 1600s, when it was adopted by the English language, that it grew undertones of mass confusion or pain.
Life, by nature, is chaotic. And the human brain is beautifully designed to turn chaos into order. Whether through storytelling, art, or through the veneer of self-delusions, we’re built to handle the randomness and uncertainty of daily life.
When a tornado rips through town, one person may see chaos where another sees a fresh start.
So, then, a creative addendum: We are in control of the story we tell ourselves about the events that unfold before us. We can view chaos as a freight train hitting our soul or we can see it as a catalyst for clarity.
August’s Theme is Community
A community is a reflection of what we crave: belonging.
Belonging is the heart of human connection. Our hardwiring is to be social creatures, to need one another. We cannot become our best selves without feeling like we belong to a tribe that sees us, respects us, and lifts us up.
A sense of belonging can be fostered in many ways: food, music, volunteering, a cause. You can scan a room and see a diversity of backgrounds, ages, and skill sets—yet the common thread is shared desires and aspirations. It's magnificently profound how simple this connection is, how deeply we all crave it, and how it changes the trajectory of our lives.
The work of community is when a person walks into a room with fear and self-doubt, only to leave with a new narrative and a feeling of possibility and hope.
We can give that experience to one another. It’s the work of being human.
Please note: CreativeMornings Berlin will skip in August. See you on September 7.
July’s Theme is Intention
If you look closely, you can see the intention behind the action, a project, or a sassy tweet. Intention is palpable. A hand-written thank you resonates in our hearts more strongly than an email. One person standing for something pales in comparison to a community fighting for something. Beautiful work is not on accident. Beauty grows from the seed of a clear intention.
How do we get better at setting clear intentions?
The same way we improve at anything: with practice, self-awareness, feedback from friends, and learning how to show up more wholeheartedly.
June’s Theme is Craft
A craft is the instrument in which the authenticity of your being is communicated.
Your craft is like a portal to your inner world, and as an artist, it’s your duty to pull it out of the vortex. Craft is a catalyst for our identity and the soil for cultivating meaning.
It behooves us to realize that who we are and become—our values, beliefs, thoughts, observations—influence what comes out of the violin, sketch, or photograph, not the other way around.website, Instagram, Behance, and Facebook.
May’s Theme is Commitment
A commitment is a promise to show up whether you’re having a good or bad day.
It’s a behavior and mindset that signifies the posture of a professional. It’s about saying yes with your whole heart.
A creative life is built on the commitments you make to projects and people. It can feel like a leap of faith. But is that not the very essence of leading a creative life?
This month’s global exploration of Commitment was chosen by our Vienna chapter and illustrated by Florine Glück. Thank you to our global partners MailChimp, Adobe, and WordPress.com for their ongoing support of the CreativeMornings community.