I remember seeing a question on line recently about creativity; wondering whether we are born creative or if it is something that can be learned and honed. I tend to think that it is a bit of both. Since we ARE creations ourselves, it would stand to reason that we are capable of creating. Think about a child who plays with his or her food, or makes mudpies or finger paints. All exquisitely messy and fun endeavors. There may be no conscious intention to make anything in particular from the ingredients, just being led by guidance. One of my favorite authors, Richard Bach, describes it beautifully: “You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don’t turn away from possible futures before you’re certain you don’t have anything to learn from them.”
What does your inner learning creature look like? Mine is a cross between a kool-aid hair-colored punk rocker (minus the tattoos and multiple body piercings:) who looks a bit like Cindy Lauper, sings like Annie Lennox, paints like Georgia O’Keefe, dances like Gabrielle Roth and writes like Nora Ephron. A composite creative soul, indeed. Creativity is in my blood, since as a child, I loved making up stories about things I would see around me. I would create faerie villages in a wooded area in a nearby park, I would color, paint, sing and dig in the dirt, imagining that I was tunneling to China and once, hitting a water pipe a few feet down in the garden near the strawberries my father had planted, really thought I had arrived! My imagination was encouraged by the adults around me. I think that is one way we become thriving (instead of starving) artists. Unlike many stories I have heard, I don’t ever recall being discouraged from following the beckoning of the Muse. She has become a close companion and lover, accompanying me 24/7, in my waking and sleeping dreams.
Sometimes she calls in night images that aren’t particularly pretty, but they serve a valuable purpose that stirs up and spurs on even greater depths of creative wisdom. In the past few nights, I have immersed in visions about tyrannical storm troopers who kill family members who visit a man who is encased in a cyber-suit that he has traded for relieving horrific headaches. His deal with whoever offered him that option is that he never see loved ones again, lest they be vaporized. Another included offering aid and shelter to a woman who was fleeing an abusive marriage and a third was about witnessing chains around the heads of three generations of a family also caught up in violence and destruction. What the heck is going on in the psyche’ of this self proclaimed pacifist? When this has happened in the past, it has been a wake up call for me to take a look at areas in my life where I am terrorizing, vaporizing and otherwise abusing myself. Where am I obliterating my creative flow even as it is being called forth even more vibrantly? Taking a deep, cleansing, letting go breath as I am typing these words.
I love being around creative people and among my friends are musicians, dancers, actors, writers, directors, producers, radio show hosts, photographers, graphic artists and designers. Like attracts like and each of these folks are what I call works of he(art) who put their hearts and souls into their work in the world. In their presence, I am inspired.
Last week I taught a class on creativity for professionals who work with folks that have mental health diagnoses. One of my favorite exercises that I led them through, was designing a Creativity Tree on whose branches, they would hang words and images that represented their own playful inner learning creature. Each person (with one exception) used crayons and markers on vividly colored paper to draw their picture. One woman ‘ordered off the menu’ and cut out a tree and pasted leaves on it and wrote words that expressed her own creative genius. I hope that they all took them home and made them ‘frigerator art that they proudly displayed.
Everything that has ever manifested in physical form was once an idea in someone’s mind. Take time each day to envision at least one thing, experience or person you want to call into your life.
You have the capacity to derive immense enjoyment from the challenge of creating in form what you have pictured in your imagination. –Martha Beck, Enjoyment in the waiting…Insight from Martha
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dipFMJckZOM Vincent by Don MacLean