“Unused creativity is not benign and doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.” ~ Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, American research professor, author.
The sound may be as soft as the flutter of butterfly wings or as loud as a rock concert in the park. Or you may not hear a sound at all, but feel an urging, an inner pull, a sense of enthusiasm and longing that resonates from within.
It’s the call to create.
It’s right there within each one of us, and it invites us to bring something new into being.
Despite what you may have been told or are telling yourself right now based on past experiences, you are creative. We all are. Creativity is as much a part of us as our voice, our fingerprints, and our breath.
We just have to activate it.
Creativity isn’t just about making “art.” Cooking, gardening, handiwork and crafts, keeping a journal are all creative acts. Arranging flowers or rearranging furniture, painting a picture or painting a room, singing on stage or singing in the shower—these are all responses to the call.
Creativity is a way of living. It is being spontaneous and playful, exercising the imagination, finding solutions, embracing possibilities, and doing it all with passion.
Many of us have become uncomfortable about expressing our creativity, afraid of judgment, criticism, and rejection. So we lose our willingness to actively, intentionally and joyfully engage with life.
We are influenced by societal messages like “time is money” and “art is frivolous.” And old messages like “stay inside the lines” or “you can do better than that” or “his sister’s the creative one” have remarkable staying power.
Some of us have always expressed our creativity but then all of a sudden it’s like the well dries up. Our creative pursuits feel empty and pointless; we feel like we have nothing to say. Life loses its sweetness and we lose faith in our creative selves.
I don’t recall the details of my own creativity “squashing.” I only know I was completely disconnected from it for about two thirds of my life.
Of course I was “creating” myself and my life all along. It just wasn’t from my true nature and it often was more destructive than constructive. The good news is, the reconnection to my creative energy happened about ten years ago and it’s been a joyful process of discovery ever since.
“Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity that you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach – how you look at things . . . Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing is not purely economical, then it is creative.” ~ Osho, Indian spiritual teacher (1931-1990)
Some Ideas To Spark Your Creative Expression
I now get tremendous pleasure and peace from my creative activities. Maybe these examples will spark an idea in you:
Nature photography is a favorite. Just me and my camera out in the stillness of nature. It calls me to slow down, be fully present, and appreciate nature with a quiet mind.
A few years ago I decided to teach myself to play the Native American flute. I’m still learning and I’m still delightfully astounded that someone like me can make music at all. Plus, I haven’t had to learn music theory to do it.
I’ve also been composing haiku poetry for a while now. It’s a form of Japanese poetry in three lines, often describing nature or a season. Like photography, it brings a centered, calming energy as I immerse myself in the world of nature.
Another, more recent favorite is hand coloring mandalas. The word mandala, from Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, translates as “sacred circle.” Making a circle brings order to things. Even chaotic scribbling achieves a certain harmony when enclosed in a circle. Also, a circle suggests a center point that always attracts your eye, so you take less notice of what is outside the circle.
I never developed drawing skills but I have always loved to color and hand coloring mandalas is a meditative practice for me. It concentrates my attention and produces relaxation every time. Plus I love the colorful results.
And then there’s writing. My morning writing discipline has turned into a spiritual practice connecting me to my source of creativity, my true nature. Rising above resistance and carving out this time to write has become one of the most loving things I do for myself.
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” ~ Alan Alda, American actor
Why Activating Creativity is Important
Here’s everything I’ve learned so far about why it’s important to rekindle our creativity. I hope these ideas help you awaken, or reawaken, yours.
We create in order to express our unique visions and perceptions. We create to communicate and to form a bond with our fellow human beings. Creative expression helps us feel connected to the world and builds bridges of understanding. It nourishes us and helps us grow, fosters awareness and deeper insights.
Creativity is not about producing something “perfect.” It’s meant to be fun, stimulating and exploratory; uninhibited and messy. It relieves stress and releases tension. Creativity increases self-awareness and helps develop critical thinking skills.
It provides a way of communication when normal channels may be blocked or are insufficient—when we must speak in colors, textures and flavors; in shimmering visions, movement and music.
Creativity is love expressing itself; it heals and renews. Our creations are manifestations that say, “This is how I saw it” and mirrors in which others may see themselves.
Creative expression requires risk-taking. It asks us to surrender, to lose control and to trust. “Committing to our creativity is an act of faith,” wrote Jan Phillips, in Marry Your Muse. “A promise to believe in ourselves.”
Honoring the creative self means finding time, making space, being patient and taking the chance of looking foolish. You can’t care too much what others think or say. You must be willing to start over and stay with it; creativity takes stamina and courage.
There are no magical secrets or absolute rules. Creativity can’t be taught. It’s already there within you. You just need to get out of the way and allow it to come through.
Because when you allow yourself to just enjoy whatever it is you choose to do, you will feel full of calm contentment.
Like the body’s natural urge for motion and the human need for connection and community, the spirit longs to express itself. So when you hear the call to create, care enough about yourself to answer “Yes.”
Please share your thoughts about creativity by leaving a comment.
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