People tend to categorise themselves. Do you consider yourself creative, or academic or a ‘maths and science’ person? Believe it or not, we all have our own creative adaptor. It’s just that some people have learnt where to plug it in, and some haven’t.
We are also quite constrained by what we think is a creative undertaking. Being creative is not just about painting pictures or doing ‘art’. It can be anything you want it to be. What characterises creativity is that it is done with a passionate outpouring.
Mindfood’s theme for this month’s edition is ‘Creativity’, which is what has inspired this post. Carolyn Enting interviews art therapist Irena Stenner in her article ‘Unleash your inner artist’. Stenner explains that creativity is a way of connecting with something ‘beyond our intellect’. I think it’s important to remember this; not every activity you undertake needs to be cerebral.
When Mum was very sick, I was having a hard time managing my emotional stress levels. My very thoughtful and intuitive brother presented me with a sketch book and a set of artists pencils, and reminded me that when I was younger my art was a strong force in my life and a means of expression that I was heavily reliant on. My practice fell away over the years and was replaced with going to work, studying and looking after my children. It had been many years since I’d sat down to draw.
Mum passed away not long after this, and so for his birthday I decided I would take his advice and make a piece of art for him to take home to Queensland, where he lived with his wife and family. The process was incredibly soothing and I had forgotten how healing it could be. I had transcended to a peaceful happy place, right there in my living room, with my baby kicking on the floor and my older kids happily drawing at the table with me.
But you don’t have to draw or paint to be creative. You can sing, or bake, or whittle some wood. Try something that you’ve always admired other people doing, but believed you wouldn’t be good at. The point of the exercise is not what you produce at the end, but rather, the process of creating and where that process takes you.
There was a time in my life where I was stuck in a bit of a rut, with not much money or support to change things, and I read an article that suggested doing one thing each day, that you wouldn’t normally do and see how it feels.
So the next day I wore red lipstick out to the supermarket. I felt fabulous all day. The day after that I wore a beret. The next day I walked, instead of drove. These simple acts were acts of creativity, without any effort, expense or time required from me. And I tell you, they were a salve to my soul.
I still struggle to make time for creativity, but when I do, it feels like I’ve been on a little holiday. What about you? Is there something you do that makes you feel brand new?