About Us

Creative States is a design research studio exploring creative approaches that move us out of the rational into the relational, and beyond sustainable to truly life-giving change.

Life is More Than a Machine

The world we have created is a reflection of what we value. Shaped by Rationalism, our current worldview views reason and deduction as superior to sense perceptions in the search for truth. From the Enlightenment to the Industrial and Technological Revolution, we have perfected our ability to quantify, objectify and commodify everything around us. As a result, we have built a culture focused on enriching ourselves and enabling incredible progress, but at great cost: disconnection.

Our outsized faith in reason creates a mechanistic conception of the world, where nature works according to mechanical laws, and everything in the material world can be explained by the assembly and movement of parts. Focusing our perception on the mind’s logical capacities elevates the rational over the relational. We ignore our ability to attune to the varied intelligence of other life forms and lose sight of our fundamental interconnection to our feeling bodies, our fellow humans and our fuller ecosystems.

From a Rational to Relational Worldview

A relational worldview helps us shift from having a body that is separate and above, to being a body that is among and within a web of beings. When we begin to see the world as an organism full of living systems that are interdependent, sensing and alive, we can create more embodied approaches of belonging to and enlivening it.

Creative States offers a framework to help creative practitioners shape a relational worldview using the Felt Sense & Feeling States. Increasing scientific evidence points to the vital importance of our body’s sensory intelligence. We are now able to measure our cells’ abilities to tune to our environment and translate our body’s emotional signals to the brain. Our bodies are fundamental channels for sensing and integrating with life flows around us.

Attuning to Our Felt Sense

“Most of us see ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, but we are actually feeling creatures that think.” – Jill Bolte Taylor

The way in which our body physically senses our environment is as old as our species. Originally developed as a means of survival, our Felt Sense processes cues alerting us to proximity, danger and symbiosis in our surroundings.

Our Felt Sense combines:
Physical Sensesintegrating our bodily awareness with what is present in the world around us
Intuitive Sensesnoticing synergies and flows that are in sync to nurture or protect us

When we design ways to ground people in Felt Sense perception, we pull them out of their heads and soften their self-centric, mechanistic understanding of the world. They begin to see themselves not as separate and sovereign in an inanimate world, but co-creators of a living one.

Promoting Enlivening Feeling States

“All things change according to the state we are in.” – Robert Henri

Recent studies show that the more we focus on our own selves and personal well-being, the less satisfied we feel. Enlivening Feeling States are expansive emotions known to release neurochemicals in our bodies that foster generous connection and integration with the world around us.

Our six enlivening Feeling States are:
Joyuplifting one another with expansive moments of warmth, beauty and delight
Thoughtfulnesshonoring the local cultures, past histories, spirit and ingenuity of each place
Playencouraging us to explore in a light-hearted, child-spirited and invitational manner
Wondercultivating deep reverence and curiosity for our wild, imperfect and precious existence
Authenticitymoving beyond social constructs and surface appearance to create space for vulnerability and uniqueness
Dignitycommuning from a place of humility, openness and respect for all backgrounds and experiences

When we design for enlivening Feeling States, we orient people away from how much they can get and towards what they can give to the world. We invite them into imaginative spaces across disciplines, perspectives, belief systems and species to create collective new possibilities.

Beyond Life-Sustaining to Life-Giving

By creating in ways that attune people to our Felt Sense and promote enlivening Feeling States, we reintegrate our rational and relational intelligence. We encourage embodied perception and interconnection. We shift into a life-giving mindset that inspires spaces of mutual flourishing.