Creativity. It is so simple to say we are born creative. We are all creative. Heck, the very act of learning to be in our world is creative. A friend was sharing about her two-year old grandson who knew he wasn’t supposed to do a certain behavior, but he figured out a way to “sneak it in” before she could catch him—creative! So why does my acceptance of my own creativity ebb and flow throughout my life—even sometimes during a day? I recently finished reading Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was one of those books that kept falling into my life, so I decided to take notice. It grabbed me at the beginning, annoyed me in the middle (and I almost gave up on it) and rewarded me by the end. In a nutshell what I discerned from her words: inspiration is available to all, we just need to be open to receive, I need to write (which is my creative passion) for myself and no one else AND do it as if my life depended on it (I’ll unpack that in the next paragraph.) It is okay to have fear but fear doesn’t get to make ANY decisions. And finally, it is okay to invite the playful trickster along on the journey because being creative doesn’t mean toiling in deprivation and seriousness (even if writing about serious topics.)
Unpacking why my life depends on writing: Have you ever been in a season where you felt so drained and lifeless it took all your energy just to put one foot in front of the other? That, to me, is the equivalent of living an uncreative life. Enduring that for a season (and the “season” can be as long as a metaphorical arctic winter) is part and parcel of the human journey. We all go through wilderness times, feeling more lost than connected. I assure folks when they are grieving that there is no right or wrong way to grieve (though I would also suggest there are creative ways to enter into grief). However, if we close ourselves off from our creative energies and fall into a permanent winter, we risk denying ourselves the healing of creating and, maybe more importantly, the pure joy of blowing the dandelion seeds of us out into the Universe and truly letting go. I write in groups, write by myself, write in my head on my walks and while I swim (and try to later get those "words" on paper.) Many of those “word/poems” would embarrass my delicate ego if you saw them (and for good reason!) But, as Elizabeth Gilbert points out, if Inspiration offered them to me and I don’t do something with them, they move on to someone more available. Besides, if I create to offer myself joy, to heal, to laugh at my own lunacy, then when fear or the inner critics invite themselves to a reception I never planned, I can kindly (for they are part of me) bid them adieu and tell them I am having fun and I don’t need their downer messages. Poetry and writing has been a vital part of my personal healing. Why would I not continue to honor it? So, as this blog continues to unfold, I will pre-confess, you may be the victim of some sloppy, imperfect writing. (Not that I won’t edit or rewrite before posting.) After all, when I choose to ignore the inner critics and fear, I risk posting something that “coulda/shoulda" been “better.”
So Elizabeth Gilbert, thank you for your invitation to accept my creative self, to accept inspiration when it “bumps” into me, to put fear “in the back seat.” And now the questions come back to you: What is keeping you from accepting your creative self? What longs to be created in you today?