I had a conversation with a woman yesterday. I asked her, “What do you like to do?” “Nothing ,” she said.
Where do you go with the conversation from there?
So I took another run at it. “So, do you like to do needlework? Play bridge? Do you like to swim? Bake cookies?”
Her answer, “Nothing. I told you I don’t do anything. Nothing.”
Well, okay then.
This is a woman who some time ago had made a decision to disengage from her creativity.
Not only was I at a loss as to where to go in the conversation. I felt a sadness and a curiosity as to what had caused her to make this decision to no longer participate, engage, nor create – so contrary to the life energy that flows through our veins.
Why is creativity so essential to our well-being and our quality of life? . . .
. . . We all came in to being through the creative act of sexual intercourse. We were created. We were created to create.
Our creativity emerged in our innocence. Over time, with socialization, our creativity was shaped by the feedback we received. If we were praised for our creative expressions, we flourished. If we were shamed, we protected our creativity by shutting it down and/or hiding it.
I took a watercolor painting class once, as an adult. I was SO excited. Like an eager puppy, the first class I lapped up everything the instructor taught us. I was fascinated with the colors, the techniques – the possibilities! I learned some of basics and looked forward to playing with my new found creative expression. I came back the next week with a painting done in primarily dark colors, and over in the lower right hand corner was a rose (which I thought was quite lovely) protectively encased in a bubble. I thought it was creative, interesting, and unique; a painting worthy of conversation. I could hardly wait to show it to my instructor the next week.
The instructor took one look at my painting and said, “That is emotional junk.”
I never returned to class.
I encourage you today to reflect on how you want to express your creativity this week. Think about the pleasure you feel. Think about the fun. Think about how satisfying it is to be fully absorbed in the playfulness of creativity.
“The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.” Dan Stevens, actor, Downton Abby
“You can’t just give someone a creativity injection. You have to create an environment for curiosity and a way to encourage people and get the best out of them.” Ken Robinson, speaker and author on education
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert comic strip
“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage change that is inevitable.” William Pollard, physicist
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” Erich Fromm, German psychoanalyst
One thing I have learned from my millions of mistakes is that there are no certainties and that one win, no matter how seemingly small it is, is worth the mistakes along the journey that got us to that win. What a dummy your art instructor was…that is why it is called art…no two people or their expressions through art are alike. What a shame.
Absolutely, there is so much value in mistakes. And as to the instructor, she had no idea the impact of her words. Good teachers and mentors understand how to guide and support students in the creative process.
Susie, I LOVE this! Thanks so much for writing about life’s “juice”. :))
So true, Kathryn. Life without creativity is pretty dry.
My brother just told me that I am mentally ill and delusional…does that count as thinking and coloring outside the box??? Hmmm I wonder:) I had just finished a wonderful day of dancing. I dropped my mom off to let her have some time with my brother and his family. When picked her up I stuck around to visit. All went well as long as I listened to him but when I mentioned limited experience on the topic he was preaching he went ballistic and called me a liar, delusional and mentally ill. His claim was that I did not have the experience I spoke of nor did I do anything I ever claim to experience. He stomped around ranting and raving and proclaimed he was done with me. I told his family thank you for their hospitality but that we were going to take off. He said good riddance and not to return…yikes bad end to an otherwise wonderful day. So there you have it.
We’re not sure what may be going on with your brother. Sad for you and your mother. We do know that some of the most creative geniuses have been considered mentally ill and delusional. That being said, I’ve a hunch you’ve always been one to think and color outside of the box. That would make you at least creative – and quite possibly, a genius.