Lately I’ve been thinking about creativity, specifically my own. I haven’t considered myself a very creative individual. When I worked in corporate land, I thought of myself as someone who executed and followed through on other people’s ideas, but lately I’ve been getting glimpses of my lost creativity. I don’t know when that door started to open because it’s been so very gradual, and I’ve started to become more curious about everything, more open to new ways, new thoughts, different-to-me ways of living.
This drew me to Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – because two people had mentioned it to me in passing in as many days (thanks, Universe, I got the message). Reading this book has brought up long-buried creative nigglings, so I sat down to look at them. Reflecting and meditating about creativity I was shown snippets, memories from my past. I recalled in grade 4 the teacher commenting about my creative and imaginative short story. I don’t remember what it was about but I do recall its fantastical nature as my child-self lived in make believe. When I was very small I played without structure with those Little People who had a hospital, a barn, an airplane (does anyone else remember those Fisher-Price toys?!). And they went on some amazing adventures.
After the toys were boxed up and put or given away, I gobbled up historical fiction (think Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables), trashy romance, horror, sci-fi/ fantasy, and later on, Canlit. And I wrote. It was how I made sense of my world, how I processed my teenage angst, and the feelings of overwhelm that ran my life.
And then I stopped – I put on my suit, grabbed my briefcase and headed out to pay the bills. But the worst part was I forgot that I was creative. I thought inside the lines and forgot that I could colour outside and round everything. I closed the lid on the box and lived there tightly confined, in the shadows – in that uncourageous place of complacencies and shoulds.
A few nights ago I was sitting on my neighbour’s porch, drinking wine and chatting about the ebb and flow of creative pursuits. She found ways of adding creativity in her life while raising a family, but now that she’s retired she’s gone back to the painting that she loves. That got me thinking about how I’ve been unknowingly creative in the last 20+ years since graduating university (where I took creative writing and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts – sheesh, that involved creative stuff!). Teaching yoga feels creative. Coaching clients means sitting in curiosity and asking thought-full questions.
Now I’m constantly being reminded that I can be, that I am, and probably always was, creative. It’s taking time and it still feels a bit sticky and sore, so I’m working on my sacral chakra (that’s where your creative energy swirls and percolates until you can bring it forward in whatever form your creativity comes).Being creative is starting to feel like freedom and courage; it’s light and flowy.
So I can hear some people ask, who the hell cares about creating and creativity? Good question – we’re human and we’re meant to create because it’s innate in each of us on some level. Without someone’s creative innovation we wouldn’t have cars, the Internet, social media, beautiful works of art and literature or theatre … You get the point.
It’s my nature, apparently, and now that it’s been unburied I’m off to explore it more, and to get curious about what inspires me again.
What about you – what makes you creative and how do you express it?