Day 13: Creativity [31 Days of Possibility]

by Lani Voivod | @LaniVoivod

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”  -Carl Jung

Do you consider yourself creative?

It seems there’s a fairly notable segment of the population that insists they are simply not creative, and nothing you can tell them will change that opinion of themselves.

I often wonder what the heck these folks think it means to be “Creative.” As if, because they don’t make an elaborate quilt every week, or take pottery classes, or paint religiously, or have a degree in interpretive dance, or sport blue hair and a pierced nostril, they simply cannot and will not accept the label.

But Creativity is not an arbitrary trait some of us have and others don’t, like the ability to curl our tongue the long-way onto itself. (I, alas, cannot do this party trick. <Sigh>)

Creativity is in us, because we’re human. We’re ALIVE.

The urge, ability, and impulse to create are part of our biological makeup. Our bodies themselves are in a constant state of creation – systems working together, cells multiplying, synapses triggering actions, absorbing information and input, then processing it all so it can interact with and/or reenter the world in new ways and forms.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” – Steve Jobs

Embracing our Creativity is paramount in our epic and awesome quest into POSSIBILITY.

It wasn’t until fairly recently in the spectrum of human evolution that “Creativity” took on such gravitas that so many people don’t feel like they can call themselves card-carrying members.

Not so long ago, folks were just plain ol’ creative as part of their everyday lives. There was TIME to be creative. Needlepoint and butter-churning and cornhusk dolls. Tinkering in man caves, working on cars for hours. Making meatloaf and fancy schmancy Jello molds to bring to neighborhood potlucks. Building a tree house, or a rock wall. Writing letters to friends. Singing in the church choir.

Beehive hairdos, for cryin’ out loud – now those were creative!

The act of Creativity didn’t have to have an art gallery opening or a producer or publisher attached in order to feel worthy or justified. Sometimes it was out of necessity; other times, out of joy. Either way, it was an outlet that most had access to, and that was a very wonderful thing.

Letting our minds wander. Seeing our hands happily absorbed in the task in front of us. Feeling our hearts playing with the objects they love. These gifts of Creativity become active meditations of life and Possibility. They feed our souls and fuel our spirits.

Perhaps most importantly, they remind us we’re here to do more than send some emails, check our cell phones, watch movies others created, sit on furniture others designed, and eat crappy food other people packaged and processed.

We are here to live and love and EXPERIENCE ourselves in these bodies, and to create with the playthings around us.

We’re here to make connections no one else can, based on our unique experiences and perspectives. We’re here to synthesize ideas, follow the cues of our joy and the clues of our bliss, and CREATE what we will.

And sometimes, what we must.

One thing we must do is create spaces in which we can unleash, express, and share our Creativity!

“Every creative person has myriad ways to block creativity. Each of us favors one or two ways particularly toxic to us because they block us so effectively.” – Julia Cameron

Hey, we all get blocked sometimes. It happens! But in our culture, it seems Creativity has lost its priority seating to pretty much everyone and everything else in the stadium.

Unless you’re being “Productive” – i.e. doing very practical work that in some way directly or indirectly contributes to: a) Your bottom line, b) An up-leveling of career or status, or c) Your muscularity – you’re considered any or all of the following:

Flighty, cute, lazy, indulgent, selfish, weird, irresponsible, lost, dismissively adorable, ego-inflamed, anti-social, uncomfortably mysterious, a freak, immature, unambitious, or directionless.

I think society puts these unattractive labels on non-closeted Creatives because they make society feel uncomfortable. Seeing a Creative CREATE in any medium, in any way, without excuses or “justifiable reasons” reminds the Blocked Masses that it CAN be done. There ARE ways to live differently, make other decisions, and find outlets for creative exploration. But change is hard, and the blocks are all too easy to come by.

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh

If you count yourself among the Blocked Masses, and you want to free yourself once and for all, here’s the book for you:

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron.

It’s a 12-week course, and it works miracles. If you can find or create a group to keep you accountable along the process (and it IS quite a process!), I highly recommend it. It’s amazing, humbling, exciting, and terrifying, depending on what week you’re in. Along the way you’ll feel everything from vulnerability to invincibility and everything in between. It’s truly extraordinary. I can’t recommend it enough. Even if you don’t consider yourself blocked but would love to reach a new level of Creativity and Possibility, do it. You will not be disappointed.

If you’re saying to yourself, “Oh, I’d love to do something like that but I just don’t have the time,” then you really, really have to do it, NOW. Make the time. Your Creativity needs you! Besides, as Julia Cameron says herself, “The essential element in nurturing our creativity lies in nurturing ourselves.”

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” – Ray Bradbury

Unblock. Play. Engage. Experiment. DO!

A lot of people don’t even try to dabble around in their Creative playpens anymore because they think they have to be good – or even perfect! – at something before they even try it.

Fugghedaboutit!

Get messy! Screw up! Laugh at yourself! Surprise yourself!

Take a belly-dancing class. Learn Mandarin. Buy (and use) a watercolor set. Write a Haiku a day for a week. Knit a hat. Carve a pumpkin. Design an exotic flower arrangement and give it to your best friend. Bake bread from scratch. Learn the Macarena, once and for all. Like Maya Angelou said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Still need a little bit more of a nudge to get you off and running into the truth, beauty, light, and delight of your Creativity and its Infinite Possibilities?

Check out this wonder-filled TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love: “Your Elusive Creative Genius.” Not only does she describe the many facets of the untamable Creative Process with passion and flair, she tells it like it is. And even in its daunting majesty and mystery, it is beautiful.

If you don’t have 20 minutes for Ms. Gilbert’s TED Talk right now, don’t worry. Just cruise your eyeballs over this little ditty by Lewis Carroll:

“When you are describing,

A shape, or sound, or tint;

Don’t state the matter plainly,

But put it in a hint;

And learn to look at all things,

With a sort of mental squint.”

Learn to look at all things with a sort of mental squint, and you will forever be tapped into the flow and magic of your singular, spectacular Creativity. :)

And now, a word from today’s video portion of this whole “Creativity” riff:

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Enjoying this 31 Days of Possibility series? Why not share it with your friends and favorite connections so they can go on this adventure with you and expand their own possibilities! Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – wherever you like to connect and play the most. 

And if you’d like to connect with us on any of these channels, please make it happen! 

You can find us on Twitter at @LaniVoivod@AllenVoivod@EpiphaniesInc@AhaSummit, and @AhaYourself. Plus, you’re always welcome to ask questions, give feedback, and share some of your own experiences (and hopefully your big “A-Ha!” victories along the way), here in the comments, and on the Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page. Allen and I love to hear from you. Here’s to you and your vast and wondrous possibilities!


 

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