Stepping Stones for Living Creativity: A Holistic Approach to Critical and Creative Thinking

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


This paper synthesizes the current thinking of Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatley and Robert Fritz, and presents the development of personal mastery in a relational context as a way to facilitate an individual and collective shift in consciousness to a more creative orientation. I contend that it is the natural desire, and indeed the responsibility, of each of us to create what we want in our lives rather than to be bound by the status quo or past patterns of acceptable behavior. When we do, we make possible a new collective future based on a critical viewing of our current reality. Fundamental to this new frame of reference are the development of connection-making and meaning-making capabilities. This paper offers various tools, methodologies and experimental exercises to build these capacities for action, based on the recent work of Richard Paul in Critical Thinking, George Prince in Creative Thinking, Matthew Lipman in Caring Thinking and Robert Cooper in Emotional Intelligence. Group process practices are based on tenets that are the foundation of Dialogue as proposed by physicist David Bohm, spiritual teacher J. Krishnamurti, and Alcoholics Anonymous. As a practice laboratory I agreed to design and facilitate a workshop of eight two-hour sessions for ten to twelve people using these methodologies to enhance life skills and supplement the recovery process defined by the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step Program. Participants were a group of men living in a half-way house, The Answer House, for a four month period during which they practiced strengthening their new-found sobriety and prepared to enter the “real world.” By providing these tools as “Stepping Stones for Living Creatively” at this particular time, I sought to build skills that would allow these people to observe with clarity, expand perceptions of what is possible, and increase capacity to learn and interact effectively. My thesis was that with practice, these skills could become embedded in a way of life that enabled participants to experience and observe themselves in relation to themselves, to others and to the whole (group) in a way that continually opened options and possibilities and made room for creativity to take place. Participants at the end of the program reported they experienced an expanded sense of self and increased confidence. Managers of the Answer House confirmed this, saying individuals displayed openness, appropriate vulnerability and resilience in daily interactions.


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