Creativity: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc. (dictionary.com)
One of the most important values I have is the importance of cultivating a deep, everyday relationship with creativity. Creativity is a catalyst that enables me to burst through perceived obstacles and land as a better person on the other side. It is the doorway and the windows and the tiny, hidden-in-plain-view openings to wonder and the pursuit of my own personal happiness…
Lots of people assume that I always wanted to be an artist, or fashion designer . Not so. My childhood best friend wanted to be a fashion designer, though. We would dress up our dolls with bright neon knee high stockings that we would tie together to make skintight gowns and would tease their hair and try to paint their nails. Garish, but it was the eighties!
Really, I wanted to be a paleontologist. Or, a psychologist. Or, maybe a librarian slash historian.
It’s not like I didn’t create art, or other things. I learned to crochet when I was about eight years old. Tie dye parties and baking bread were wonderful events to enjoy. I was just more fascinated with tidbits of trivia, dinosaur bones and books.
Then, I took an art course when I was a senior in high school. I was unhappy and didn’t really know it. Instead, I filled my life with distractions and drama and did not focus on exactly what it was that was bothering me. I was taking college courses, but still expected to have a minimum of high school classes, too, so took the art class thinking it would be easy.
Instead, the art class was powerful. It gave me a voice without yet having to speak my truth…a visual voice that led to w wide open path to anything and everything I could be. What I created wasn’t all that “good”, but it was therapeutic, necessary and wonderfully important in that it was being MADE.
I decided to take a break from school. My experience in taking college courses and high school classes kind of messed me up and left me exhausted. Within a few months of high school graduation I moved to Pittsburgh, PA via greyhound bus with a backpack and a suitcase. I thought I moved for a boy, but, really, it was for me to find my own ground and learn how to walk it.
Eventually, after numerous hijinks and mistakes, I made my way to Carlow College and majored in Art and minored in psychology and art therapy. I had decided that I could combine my love of art and psychology and help facilitate creative moments in a therapeutic setting. (You can find out more about why I did not pursue art therapy after college on my about page.)
I honestly believe that if I had not welcomed art and creativity into my life, I would have chosen a road way more traveled. Maybe even a bleak, dark, or boring life. Creativity has given me color and texture and eyes that see a layered world that is ripe with possibilities and inspiration. And creativity has given me the knowledge that every day can be a really cool lifetime.
Now, don’t get me wrong…logic and the scientific method and even algebra (!!) get used in my studio. Obviously, I have also created a business and that requires spreadsheets and business meetings and meetings with banks and all sorts of left-brained activities. It’s just that as I problem-solve and analyze by using every tool at my disposal, creatively. And I get a wild rush of accomplishment when I look back at the weird and tangled (yet obvious) road it took to get from “I need this to do this.” to ” Whoa! This is even better than what I thought it could be!”
While I did not choose art therapy as a career path I still facilitate creative moments with other people. In my recent explorations into writing a manifesto (check out Unicorns for Socialism’s awesome cheat sheet for writing your own manifesto here), I wrote this about creativity:
“One of my purposes in life is to facilitate creativity in others by direct interactions in a class, in a volunteer art experience, or by enabling another person’s innate creativity to flourish by being inspired by, being immersed in, or wearing one of my creations. Sometimes, I help facilitate creativity by revealing it as a driving force in my own life…as a real possibility and theme that gives a rich alternative to a life analyzed only by comparing hardships and luxuries and assumed universal landmarks .”
Now, that you know about why I cultivate a creative life, let me know how you do so in yours. Check out my facebook page and leave a comment about how creativity plays itself out in your life.
Want to find out how the ancient Greeks, ancient Romans and Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) have to say about creativity? Check out this TED talk podcast that I can’t get enough of!