The Heartstorming Philosophy

Ian Summers


Like most of you, I think of myself as a damned good problem solver. In fact, that’s how I earned my living as a creative director for a couple of decades. As a consultant, I traveled the country helping clients maximize their creative potential via creative problem solving. I was well rewarded as a problem solver, however I felt something was missing. Then something changed. I discovered that creating and problem solving are the antithesis of each other. In problem solving, energy usually flows from the outside. Someone presents you with a problem; a client for example. Depending upon the complexities of the problem, alternative solutions are created, one is chosen, and if there is enough energy produced the solution is implemented. The problem is replaced with a solution. So problem solving is about making something go away — the problem.

Problem solving has often been confused with creating. In fact, many workshops have been developed to teach creative problem solving. And they usually are about solving someone else’s dreams. They promise to unleash your creativity, as if it was a monster that needs to be tied back up when you’re through with it. These dated methods reinforce the erroneous concept that creating is a shadowy activity. I believe creating is joyous and celebratory.


Don’t Unleash The Monster!

Creating is about manifesting. Its energies come from within. I define creating as causing what you love or what matters to you to come into being. Heartsorming is a process — a journey — that helps creators identify what they love and to empower themselves to bring those loves into being. It is an adventure. Heartstorming uses your own loves and dreams to produce an abundant source of energy resulting in creative growth.

Imagine rediscovering the love you already are. Imagine being out of your mind and into your heart. Imagine knowing what you love and finding ways to integrate it with your life’s mission. Imagine a heart based career producing prosperity and abundance. Imagine making a difference. Imagine learning new ways to deal with growth, change and risk. Imagine manifesting your loves in the world every day. Imagine…


Imagine Being Out of Your Mind

Creating is a process that originates in your body. Heartstorming helps people to drop from the place of judgment and into the body — the place of feelings. It is not that judgment isn’t important. It is. However, it comes later in the process. Good judgment helps to choose which ideas to manifest and problem solving will help you to bring your concept into being. If creating and judging go on simultaneously, it is like driving the car with the brake and the accelerator on at the same time. Movement is impeded. New ideas are blocked from emerging.

Heartstorming starts with a broad concept. For example, you may say you wish to have a career as a professional photographer. Many people go immediately from a broad concept into the action phase. There is very little energy produced. If that person has a career as a professional photographer, chances are that he or she will have a career left to chance. It is more likely that the person who operates from too broad of a concept will never fulfill their dream. Another broad concept might be to want to put some personal images into your portfolio. I have discovered that there is not enough energy in that statement and that many photographers complain they do not have the juice to take this further. So where does creative energy come from?

The second phase of the Heartstorming process includes visualizing the concept in order to make it real in your mind’s eye. This is adding flesh to the raw bones. What would your career look like? What is your dream? What do you care about? What do you love strongly enough to do what ever it takes to bring it into being? Again, people go immediately from this phase in the process and attempt to bring it into being. Well, there is a little more gas. And if you did bring it into being, chances are you would recognize it.

There is a step left out. It’s called current reality. This is the place where creators take a fearless inventory of all the things that are present and all that are not present for making their dream come true. And there is always a discrepancy between the dream and what is so; otherwise it would already exist. It is the space between the dream and what is so that produces torque. Torque creates energy.

And if the vision comes from heart space; that is that you love it enough, you will have all the energy you need to manifest it in your life. And that energy goes out into the universe and touches other people’s hearts in very positive ways. Yep! The process is exactly the same if you are bringing something you do not love into being. There is that space between the dream and the reality. Energy is produced. However that energy is negative. It goes out into the universe, hits the wall and comes right back at you. It returns and hits you in the heart causing heartache, heart attacks, broken hearts, and all the other appropriate euphemisms. The energy turns into stress and stress kills. I judge that many commercial creators are feeling this stress right now.

Heartstorming is not exclusively about producing art and artifacts. Instead it is about manifesting your loves in the world. I invite you to take a fearless inventory of your loves and to find ways to manifest them. Think of your loves and the ways you synthesize them as your unique gifts to the world. Think of your creations with the spirit of giving.


Be who you is, Not who you ain’t.
‘cause if you ain’t who you is,
then you is who you ain’t.