What can we learn about anxiety, love and creativity from Rollo May?

If solitude is the yin of creativity, connection is the yang of creativity. Connections to our external world provides the source of inspirations, that in turn nurture internal creations.

While we are increasingly connected, I believe that we must practice filtering.

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.”

Solitude is proposed as a way to nurture creativity by several people, among them Rollo Reece May (19090421 – 19941022). I first learned about the work of May through Leo Babauta.

I admire May for making significant contributions in the field of psychology, in spite of his difficult childhood. Being the eldest in a divorced family with a sister suffering from schizophrenia, May physically and emotionally shouldered the responsibility. Sometimes, I worry that honey panda might had suffered from very mild symptom of schizophrenia. Thankfully, honey panda is now a more optimistic person than before.

I believe that the most important project of our lives is how we live our lives well (like May did), with whatever resources we were bestowed at birth and throughout the periods of our lives.

Sometimes, I wonder if when one gains something, s/he loses something. That’s why nobody is perfect. It seems that every thing is good in some ways yet bad in another ways. Think of duality like yin and yang, like solitude and connection.

On a sunny day in an Icelandic summer that felt like a British winter, I attended a liberal lecture by Kari Stefansson. He highlights that genetic factors that raise the risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are found more often in people in creative professions (artists, musicians, writers and dancers).

Since both creative people and schizophrenics have fewer D2 receptors for dopamine in the brain region known as striatum, Örjan de Manzano et al. suggest that the brains of both creative people and schizophrenics do not filter out as much information as other people’s brains do.

Rollo May concluded that anxiety is essential to an individual’s growth and in fact contributes to what it means to be human.

Few minutes ago, I discovered the destination of my latest work. How true “it is dangerous to know, but it is more dangerous not to know,” as Rollo May highlights in Love and Will (1969). I am worried, but it seems that there is nothing that I can do now. I will be more careful next time. I must continue working, doing, and trying my best.

If we cannot do what we love, love what we do. “Writing is tedious for everyone. Thomas Mann once said that writing is something that gets more difficult the more you do of it. But there can be moments of ecstasy that will make the whole process worthwhile.” ~ Rollo May via Stephen A Diamond.

Dear God, please grant us the patience and perseverance to nurture our inner strength because “finding the center of strength within ourselves is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men.”

“Intimacy requires courage because risk is inescapable. We cannot know at the outset how the relationship will affect us. Like a chemical mixture, if one of us is changed, both of us will be. Will we grow in self-actualization, or will it destroy us? The one thing we can be certain of is that if we let ourselves fully into the relationship for good or evil, we will not come out unaffected.” The Courage to Create by Rollo May.

That’s why it is important that I pray everyday for little prince to find his soul mate who sincerely and deeply loves him and both of they can grow together for self-actualization.




  1. […] love writing + master the art of writing + just write! Write well, very well. Write early and often. Provide regular written feedback to your team members, ask for written feedback from those superior of you in terms of knowledge, expertise and experience. You also need to write eloquently and persuasively (think of sales + marketing). […]


  2. […] Having lived in California for an unforgettable summer, I am interested to learn from Journey to Ixtlan (1972) by Carlos Castaneda. I will also always remember the determination of my Mexican friend to visit me at San Diego, crossing the dangerous borders. He is indeed a traveller, having done the trans-Siberian rail journey, the longest railway in the world which has been one of my dream destinations [1], in spite of being considered as the most boring by some people. Perhaps, the rail journey will give me both new connections with new people and solitude for my creativity. […]


  3. […] [9] In Summer 2016, the favorite page of Little Prince from the story book Let’s Play by Gyo Fujikawa, is a boy sitting on a tree, gazing at the full moon. He remembered the phrases "At the end of a busy day, it’s good to be alone to think about tomorrow". Hopefully, he will grow up appreciating the value of planning and solitude for creativity. […]


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