This article is written in partnership with Pilgrim Soul. They’re dedicated to helping people rediscover their inner creative genius and build more productive habits with their groundbreaking journals & cannabis products—we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.
If I mentally travel back to the far-away years of my youth (basically, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth), one photo always comes to mind.
It’s a buck-toothed me wearing a mismatched pair of Converse: one green and one orange. To top off this eyesore of an ensemble, I added orange parachute pants and my hair in two high buns. All of this was held together by a pukka shell necklace—and a fearless confidence in the fashion trend I was creating.
Over the years, luckily, I’ve refined my wardrobe—but something else happened too. As I’ve aged and toned down the mojo of my inner child, my soul-deep creative side has taken a backseat to the adult me—who overanalyzes every. dang. detail.
I think it happens to all of us, really. We don’t live in a society that, you know, jumps for joy when we make “mistakes” or color outside the lines of the “norm.” So, we avoid it all; we fear taking risks and pushing boundaries and colorful expressions. It’s a pity, really, because that unique fire of ingenuity is what changes the world. It’s how Steve Jobs was able to turn a generic fruit we see every day into the Apple that we all covet.
And when I think of that silly old picture of myself and then look at myself now, one thing is certain: I’ve gotten lost on the hamster wheel. I eat. I work hard. I get stressed. I binge Netflix to relax. I go to sleep.
I can’t remember the last time I invented or dreamt up something…just for the fun of it rather than for the need to produce?! I’ve just been going through the motions—following the unwritten, black-and-white rules of “how to adult efficiently.”
If you’re like me, it’s easy to get locked in this cage of wanting to blend in or not go against the grain—just get it “right” rather than find joy in the process. And this is where Shawn Gold, the founder of Pilgrim Soul, draws the line (or draws outside of them, if you will). The company’s focus is on digging up that innate childlike curiosity and creativity we once had such easy access to, so we can use it in the day-to-day of adulthood.
Enter the “Creative Thinking Journal.”
Despite the large collection of blank journals that already deck my halls (too early for Christmas puns? Never!), I was thrilled to try this out. The “repressed/adult” part of me immediately thought, “Oh, yay! I’ll use this baby to create to-do lists and stay oh-so organized. I’ll be Stepford Wife status (a.k.a., so perfect and so tidy).”
Well, newsflash to me: that’s not what this journal is about.
Having been the creative executive at many innovative companies (we’re talkin’ MySpace, Wattpad, Engadget, and TechStyle), Shawn was able to employ variations of proven tools, frameworks, and concepts in the journal—to guide us beyond our existing comfort zones. Basically, he’s the master Yoda of reawakening our innate creativity.
Whether it helps us break the habit of flopping onto the couch to binge on Netflix or get through a creative block or even just offers some good, ol’ fashioned funnzies (remember that? Fun?), everything is geared toward unlocking our creative power.
Then, the first thing I saw on the cover, in bright orange (younger me is loving that), was: “Please use this Journal while YOU ARE HIGH.”
And I said, “Oh, this is not for me.”
If the same thing just went through your head, fret not, my non-ganja friends: you don’t have to be high using only weed for this journal to be of benefit.
“It’s all about getting into your flow state. You can also try meditation, exercise, music, nature, math, poetry, love, religion, sex, fasting, sleep, play, yoga, mysticism, aromatherapy, baths, dancing, magnets, and space travel.”
Personally, I just whipped up a margarita and plopped on the couch with my dog.
This is how our lovely Ele-editor, Juliana, approached it:
“Oh my goodness! I had so much fun with this journal. At first, I was feeling a little bit skeptical about whether or not this type of journal was something I would enjoy, but I was completely wrong. It really pushed my creative limits and took my mind to entirely new places.
Except, I have a confession to make: I did not get high before playing around with this journal. However, I have an edible that has been sitting in the cupboard for months now, and I am finally inspired to eat it because this is exactly the type of stuff I like to do when I’m high. Also, who came up with all these amazing prompts?! I am genuinely so impressed by all the little games and creative thinking prompts. I especially enjoyed the “creative awareness” section because I found that it really challenged me to expand my imagination. Now all I can imagine is how much more fun this will be once I finally eat that edible!”
This journal, quite literally, hits different.
If you are more herb friendly, you’ll be ex-high-ted to hear how your fellow THC-ers experienced it:
>> “I seriously love this journal! It is the most fun I’ve had with any journal and has really stretched my creativity. I bought two, so my friend could do one too. She brings it over for our weekly get-togethers. We get high and do a page or two and have a blast.”
>> “This book inspires creative thinking, but even more important—it’s fun! I laughed a lot using this, much-needed laughter! I don’t want to give too much away, but It makes me smile every time I pull it out. Enjoy your journey!”
Also, if you’re a cannabis lover and your eyes perked up when you saw those words, know that you’re in good company! Many of the household names we adore have also used marijuana for inspiration and focus. To name a few:
Oprah Winfrey (yes, you read that right)
By the way, I think it’s safe to say these Greats weren’t (aren’t) messin’ with granny’s average green. But, if you’re a California native, you’re in luck! Your friends at Pilgrim Soul analyzed hundreds of cannabis strains that index high for creativity and gifted you…this: .5G LIVE RESIN PREMIUM DISPOSABLE VAPE PEN
As for me, when I flipped through the different mind-bendy exercises, I felt my inner critic tense up.
“Eh, I’m not doing that one. I can’t think of anything for that.”
I could feel that part of me that wanted to be “perfect” and “get it right” much louder than the creative genius wearing bright mismatched shoes. I was again alerted to how much of myself is repressed.
But as I explored the pages a bit more, and my salt-rimmed marg worked its own kind of witchcraft, I felt myself let go. “Okay, maybe this can be my creative escape after a stressful day.” I went from consciously trying to be anything or do something and simply let my imagination take the wheel.
Each page was pushing me to rethink, well, everything: what I think of myself, my idea of humor and fear and anger, and the world around me.
As I gave in to the creative mindset, I:
- Limited judgment of the outcome
- Viewed “mistakes” as anything but
- Went with my gut
After all, new trends and, literally, all the creative geniuses we admire didn’t come about by doing the same old thing that was comfortable. They pushed barriers—even allowed themselves to fail. Gasp.
Let’s also keep in mind that I’m no painter and I would never call myself an “artist.” I can craft a pretty damn delicious alcoholic concoction, but I’m no Van Gogh. It ain’t no thang! The brains behind the journal make it abundantly clear that creativity isn’t something we should pigeonhole into one type. Creativity is everywhere—I mean, seriously, everything from my hair curlers to the concrete we walk on is a product of creativity.
As Shawn says, “We’re moving from the Age of Information to the Age of Creativity.”
Nowadays, being able to access the genius of our inner child isn’t just good for our mental health and well-being; it’s essential if we want to keep up with the creativity curve that’s sweeping every industry across the board. Yes, it’s all fun and games…but it’s so much more. It offers that much-needed competitive edge in our jobs. It’s what turns a “good” idea into a great one. (I’m beginning to think of it as the Superman–or Wonder Woman–suit underneath all our layers of everyday clothes.)
Sure, my parachute pants might not revolutionize the fashion world. I might spend the next 100 nights laughing and scribbling into this journal with no evidence of it happening besides my dog’s word and the empty margarita glasses.
But, honestly, who knows?
When we let go of judgment and fear, we open the door to a new frontier—and anything is possible.
“How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.” ~ William Butler Yeats, Nobel Prize-winning poet & cannabis consumer