Creating An Imaginative Life
Creating An Imaginative Life
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"Michael's stories have the same combination of clarity and intuitive richness as his music. A fine,contemplative guide to the artist's dedicated life."

David Whyte
author of The Heart Aroused and Crossing the Unknown Sea

Michael Jones' inspiring and award winning book about his life at the piano offers many rich insights to help the reader find this story for themselves. "Who will play your music if you don't?" He asks. "What is emerging at the periphery of your awareness now? When do you feel that you are fully living your own 'signature in creation' - a place to which you often long to return?"

Too often we focus on building our careers, based upon an identity crafted from our trained skills and abilities - an identity that does not accurately reflect our primary strengths, wants or needs. Michael suggests an alternative - through personal narratives that burst with wonder and magic - he offers vivid portrayals of how, through seemingly ordinary people and events, we can discover clues for living a fulfilling and imaginative life.

Each story builds upon another as Michael reveals his journey toward creating a life that feels whole and complete. Throughout he offers others an invitation to reconnect with the essence of who they truly are. To begin he suggests that we learn to trust that there is a dimension of life behind life, one that lives through us and brings with it a renewed sense of dignity and grace each time we do what we love, feel what we feel and simply be ourselves.

Virtually every page of this truly beautiful book provides wise and wonderful clues for allowing the creative impulse within us to emerge.

Throw out your books of creativity exercises and read this book instead!


"Do not be content with the stories of others," the Sufi poet Rumi tells us, "Unfold your own myth." Pianist and composer Michael Jones does just that in this beautifully-written and compelling spiritual autobiography. Past experiences including a walk in the woods, being ridiculed by peers as a boy, learning to improvise while working with a dance troupe, playing music in a hotel and prison all serve as catalysts to bring out his creativity. The author locates his "signature in creation" and reveals that everyone can find the song he or she was meant to sing. Readers will rejoice in the 70-minute sampler of Jones's piano artistry on a musical CD sewn into the jacket of the book.
--BodyMindSpirit Magazine-1996

A myriad of rich and evocative stories of the author's own journey toward integrating himself back into a whole and complete context. it is an invitation to reconnect with the essence of who we truly are, to trust that there is a dimension of life behind life, one that can live through us and bring with it a renewed sense of dignity and grace each time we honor it by doing what we love, feeling what we feel and simply being ourselves. Includes a 70-minute CD selected from a catalog of solo piano compositions recorded by the author during the past 10 years with Narada.
--Arizona Networking News-April/May 1997

An award-winning composer and pianist takes us into the very heart of creativity. The eloquence with which he describes his own musical journey applies directly to the creative process itself, no matter what outward form it takes. Jones is an inspiring teacher. "Each of us is designed to create," he says. "It is our 'birthright.' “Virtually every page of this truly beautiful book provides wise and wonderful clues for allowing the creative impulse within us to emerge. Throw out your books of creativity exercises and read this instead. A CD of Jones' Narada-label music is packaged with each copy.
-- Napra Review-Fall 1995

Creativity flows an unpredictable path. That belief rests in the shadows of the pages of Michael Jones's book, Creating an Imaginative Life. Michael Jones is a musician who became a management consultant, and then became a musician, and then a management consultant who uses music in his management consulting. "This is your gift-don't waste it." Michael Jones' advice and music are gentle, like a little brook insistent with its quiet sound. It is easy to walk away from, but not so easy to forget. his voice is the voice of the artist, one who has been there. As gentle as it is, it is still scary for those of us who haven't been there, who stay within the tight and clear edges. The haunting question it left with me is "if we knew that we were being deeply listened to, what is it that we would wish to say?"
-- A.H.P. Perspective: Association for Humanistic Psychology-July/August 1996

If reading about crises has you depressed, pick up Michael Jones' book, Creating An Imaginative Life, for a sensitive, inspirational portrayal of the creative process. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, (author of Flow, HarperPerennial, 1990) uses "flow" to describe the positive aspects of human experience-joy, creativity and "the process of total involvement with life." Jones' book presents a good example of what it means to live a life in "flow." He gives us insight into the process he uses for staying in a flow state and through wonderful, "magical" stories shows us creativity at work.

Anyone who has experienced the creative process will relate to Jones' experiences. And for many of us who want to be able to tap into our creativity, what some call our most "powerful resource," Creating An Imaginative Life can help us explore inventiveness in our own lives.
-- Ethical Management-July 1996

If you need to step back from your work and renew your creative well-spring, here's a book to inspire you.

"As we discover how to follow the stories' unfolding trails of meaning, we can appreciate how perfectly suited they are for us: they become our teachers, subtly and exquisitely revealing to us our next steps."

Jones writes in a clear, direct style about finding and following the creative impulse in dreams, everyday experiences, and the "wild part of our natures."
-- Training and Development-Sacha Cohen-November 1996

Jones tells highly readable stories about what has informed his music inspiration-everything from observing and internalizing the authentic, energetic body movements of his first puppy to having a burly convict walk out of his first, nervously performed prison concert, only to return and wordlessly offer him a glass of water. These were the kinds of experiences that turned his musical world inside-out, dissolving the constricting armor of forced technical practice and freeing his heart and body to soar into realms of musical possibility. The stories speak for themselves, and speak deeply, to the creative spirit in any of us who yearn for genuine content and joy in the activity of our choice. The message that keeps percolating up through Jones's stories as well as his gentle, moody solo piano music is that setting aside our thoughts about how to do life opens other possibilities for life to "do" us, which is far more effective, passionate, and fun.
-- New Dimensions-January-March 1996

One of the things a musician learns, if he is ever to have an audience, is how to feel the room. This is one of many lessons imparted by Michael Jones in this collection of stories with life lessons. To connect with the room, you need to connect with yourself first.
-- Book Page-July 1996

This book is like Michael's music-absolutely unique, yet when you find it, you feel as if you're meeting someone who knows you very well, someone who can tell you delicious secrets you haven't even told yourself. Creating An Imaginative Life makes joy accessible-a dangerous gift because it can change your life. Luckily, Michael's courage is infectious. An inspiring book.
-- Betty S. Flowers, Editor of The Power of Myth

Over the years, Canadian Michael Jones has quietly established himself as an inspired speaker and facilitator, accomplished composer and pianist, an evocative storyteller, and a fresh and gifted voice in weaving together metaphors from the arts to introduce new perspectives in leadership, learning and change. Michael is best known as the founding artist with Narada Records where his many CD's of original piano compositions, including Pianoscapes, Touch and After the Rain have served as benchmarks for contemporary solo piano recordings for over 25 years, Since then he brought his depth of experience in artistic and leadership practices to introduce new concepts for leading artfully to extraordinarily diverse sectors, including healthcare, corporate, religious, consulting, military, voluntary, education, municipal, and more.

He was a core faculty member with the MIT Dialogue Project and Dialogos facilitating programs in leadership and the art of thinking together. He is a charter-consulting member with the Society for Organizational Learning, a Senior Fellow with the McGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, University of Maryland where he is also chairperson of a knowledge circle on arts leadership and community and a Leadership Fellow with the Center for Professional Excellence at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

The primary focus of his work is to envision a new leadership story that involves a transformation from performance to presence, problems to possibilities, abstraction to beauty, efficiency to improvisation and instrumentality to the expressive power of metaphor and story. Together these awaken a commons of the imagination - a space of wholeness in the personal and collective imagination that may contribute to a more sustainable and transcendent vision that is creative organic and whole.

He has written two books on leadership and creative practice; Creating an Imaginative Life (Conari Press, 1995) (Trafford, 2007) and Artful Leadership: Awakening the Commons of the Imagination (Trafford, 2007).

Through his music, writing and speaking, Michael holds a candle for those seeking to find a deeper sense of purpose and as they learn to navigate a more complex and changeable world.

He has a BA in music and psychology from Mount Allison University and an MA in Adult Learning from the University of Toronto.He lives in a lakeside community north of Toronto Canada with his partner Judy, a practitioner in the healing and fine arts.

Michael's web site is



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