When people see my art, they often exclaim, "You are so creative! I cannot even draw a straight line!" My answer is the same, "I cannot draw a straight line either; when I need one, I get a ruler!" Creativity has nothing to do with art, although it can invade the art field.
Creativity is about the dynamic forces and impulses within us. It is the constant catalyst that generates so many aspects of living, the beautiful, ever changing flow of life. We generally do not learn this in kindergarten and we need to, because it would reinforce and confirm what all healthy toddlers know instinctively. Little ones usually do not have big bullies who attack their creative life force. They don't have to battle (yet) poor self-esteem, routines, and mental tapes; they don't have an image to project and protect, no ego to feed, and addictions to satisfy. They are free; simple stuff. They deal with imaginary worlds, they see angels, light tunnels, they remember past lives, they can be cat, mimes, or superman; they live their dreams.
It may not last forever; this glorious state of beingness is soon trapped by various shapes of parental and societal molds. Soon, the freedom gives into carefully analyzed programs handed down through generations. Whole codes and rituals develop and become law. The early child shrinks into dark recesses of the psyche and the adult comes to rule. Does the adult remember where the child has gone? I believe that in the measure, the adult can remember and rise with the little one in plain daylight, to laugh at the sun and dance in the air... creativity is still at hand.
I knew a child who pinned his mom's nightgown on his shoulders and ran through the garden with the uniquely charged power of delight and discovery. He had just read "The Little Prince". He had power. He led his cousins to great games from the lofty perspective of a large ficus tree. When this child found himself in an adult body, he demanded to be heard. He guided the adult toward paint, brushes, canvases; together they created art and made movies. Unless caught up in a negative environment, children are all artists, they are poets, actors, performers, and yes, as such, they so delight us!
My little cousin heard her mom mention a sigh... strange word. She had never heard it before. Like a new lollipop, she tried it, turned it around her tongue and her mind, then stored it like a fresh treasure close to her heart. When the family went out for dinner that night, she was asked what she wanted to eat... so, out came the wish, very deliberate, "I want a sigh!"
My daughter recently told me how she reacted to the beads in my jewelry studio. "When I found a bead that was truly beautiful, I took it in my hands, then in my mouth, then I swallowed it!" Good grief? Am I glad I only just found out, now that she is safely twenty-four! Yet, fed on beauty, the soul thrives. So how do we keep this sense of awe, the ability to see anew, to discover, to question, to act intuitively, to create, to investigate, to treasure, the ability to make things happen; not just anything, but the ones that truly matter to the heart, the ones that put laughter on our faces and joy in our eyes?
Somewhere in our development, we let go of that wide eyed, wondrous child. It is not hard to do. How often have we heard, "You are not a baby any more." "When are you going to act like a responsible adult?" "Grow up!"
Eventually, we do, which is O.K. -- but in doing so, we also shut the inner child and the creative power we possess. I often suspect that teenagers act so sullen and angry because they have crossed the bridge from childhood to adulthood without enough help to handle the new role. Without grace and ease, they become resentful. They get stuck in an interim time of awkward reticence and rebelliousness. Teenagers are rushed toward the serious world while they grieve the creative power lost. Must it be this way? Must we give up such a vital part of our creative beingness to live in our society?
In a planet charged with challenges, disease, violence, disasters, fears, and frustration, I sense a great cosmic need for major creativity to team with all of what we know spiritually. We need to question our leading concepts and find new approaches to education, health, life itself. Now this is a creative challenge! Can we look at creativity as the expression of our higher self, guiding us through our life purpose? May it be in parenting, in public service, in the finance world, in teaching, in playing, in dreaming -- we need a fresh way to respond, which means we need a fresh way to think.
Human emotions are deep and lead us to identify with their passion. We say it everyday, "I am angry, I am scared!" Am I? I feel anger, I feel pain but am I these emotions? We need to free ourselves of the many molds and limiting formulas we have accumulated over the centuries. The dogma of civilization weigh heavily upon our daily lives. We are so easily indoctrinated into a whole set of concepts and routines that fossilization sneaks in, and we take it at face value.
Sometimes I listen to the radio when I work. The weather news reflects a set of concepts about good and bad. Gray days are all bad. Rainy days are worse. Nothing short of sunny is good -- yet days don't judge themselves. They are just being whatever they are. Storms do challenge us greatly, but are they bad? When someone dies we do hurt, we grieve, but is death bad because we hurt? Do our concepts of good and bad enhance our well-being or do they perpetuate a set way of thinking that dictates crippling responses? Imagine waking up to a few clouds and discovering all the rich tones of gray, the cool, refreshing shade, the sense of quiet as we go within to find our center of peace.
Creativity has no formulas and no dogma. Creativity fuels happenings, finds solutions, heals and empowers. It keeps us fresh, young! You embody it as surely as the life force within you. All you need to do is give it permission to be, to speak for itself, and it will. I need to warn you that once you do so, you may find yourself on the edge of an exhilarating world -- your inner self and wisdom.
Maybe the better message is not to grow up after all, but just to grow wise. Creativity teamed with wisdom will challenge your assumptions, question your habit patterns, dispel many myths and plunge you into the domain of personal references and experiences where your intuition and inner guidance reign supreme. You may start acting like yourself. You may stop buying many things to make your own; and if you never liked office work, you may take up flying. Go dream now, and cry too, then sing on rainy days, that's what the frogs do.
Living Juicy: Daily Morsels for Your Creative Soul
LIVING JUICY is jumping for joy on the inside. Sark gives us the juice to nourish our creative souls with this map and miniature guidebook. Weekly topics include "procrastinating," "energizing," "adventuring," "aging," and "shouting." Each daily affirmation is designed to stop those dry and cracked feelings and give us those sweet, wild moments we crave.