Making The Commitment To A Creative Life
Each of us is endowed with a gift: the gift of creation. It’s in our bones, our breath, the very fibers of our being. But often we don’t recognize this essential part of us. Maybe we don’t see it clearly because we don’t paint or write. Maybe we were told as a child that our passion for music was a nice hobby but wouldn’t be lucrative as an adult. Perhaps our lives were (or still are) so difficult, so unordered, so devoid of creative inspiration for whatever reason that we simply never discovered that one spark that is unique within each of us.
Yet it’s there. And deep down, though we often deny it, we feel its truth. When we see someone else with a talent we admire, and we think, “Why can’t I do that,” it’s not that we are unable; it’s that we haven’t yet tried. We’ve doubted our own talent; we’ve clung to our learned sense of unworthiness, and we’ve allowed that to be our excuse for not exploring our creative being-ness. The fact that we’re even asking the question tells us that it’s there inside us. We just have to let it out. And lest we not forget, creativity is housed in our bodies, though not in the mind and not even fully in the heart. But rather we tap into it in the sacral region, the space that is uniquely designed for the most basic form of creation, that of new life. What better place from which to spring forth creation of all manner!
Of course, we know that new life requires a birthing process, and that process can be painful, difficult, shrouded in darkness, the unknown, and sometimes loss. There are no promises, only the hope embodied in the delicate creation that is to come. For so many of us, that unknown and risk of loss is too great. We use it as an excuse to keep ourselves in the dark about our true power and the ever-present need to create. And without it, we wither. Because creativity is our birthright. It is our honor. It is who we are.
And so how do we tap into that place inside where we once freely created as a child, and how do we go back and grieve that moment where we turned away from the creator we instinctively are? How, in this world that most places a high value on productivity over creativity (or perhaps more accurately, the act of creating, for we do so love the outcome of a creative endeavor) do we find the intrinsic value in a creative life? How, in this busy life, do we make time for creativity?
Honestly, how do we not?
Step 1: There’s no Right or Wrong
Perfection wasn’t the goal, of course, yet the belief in our own perfection allowed us the freedom to start the process in the first place. Messy paint hands, clothes covered in the evidence of our creation: constructing the highest tower, designing the most fabulous fort, singing the most beautiful song, devising the most ingenious story adventure for our dolls or action figures. Where in our childhood did we become aware that the pure joy of creation must give way to right and wrong? Not so that we can blame those who took that joy away, but so that we may properly grieve its loss – and then take back that with which we are rightly endowed.
Step 2: Re-Experience the Joy of Creating
Intentionally re-experience the joy of creating, without the pressure of perfection or end result. So many aspects of our lives are measured not by their sheer enjoyment or satisfaction, but by their extrinsic value – their value to someone else. Can we prove the worth of our actions? Instead, let’s write a poem for no one at all. Let’s spend hours painting our kitchen because creating a new look and feel provides intrinsic satisfaction. Let’s take photos all day of the nearest woods. Let’s make a puzzle out of one of those photos, put it together, then tear it up before anyone else sees the fruits of our labors. Because the end result is less important than the doing: building, drawing, writing, organizing, redefining, creating.
Each of us will be drawn to a different creative action, but no action is less important than another to our souls, so long as our souls are fed. And that’s really what this is about: feeding the beast of our creator souls.
Step 3: Commit
Commit to creating, even though it may seem difficult or impossible. Even though we wake up and our head screams, “Not today,” that is fear talking, the fear that we may rediscover something deep and dark about ourselves as we peel back the creative layers buried for so long. The fear that we may discover a hidden truth about those who pushed us in a direction of conformity rather than creativity. Awakening to the truth that it was really their fear all along and now here we are, wading through what’s mine and what is theirs and what is someone else’s altogether.
We must wield the tools of our creative nature while also fortifying ourselves against this divisive fear, which claims to protect but only serves to continue to obscure our true selves. Perhaps this looks and feels like outcome-based work for a time, until we have re-awakened ourselves. But we keep moving forward anyway.
Step 4: Release any Guilt
Release yourself from any lingering guilt resulting from forgetting your creative nature in the first place. By doing so, we keep that fear at bay, allowing ourselves to continue to move deeper into our creative being-ness to any level we desire. We also release those outside of us for their role in obscuring our truth. They didn’t know better; they likely meant no harm and were told the same early in life. Or maybe they did know better and they did it anyway. And we release them anyway, if we can.
Or we at least hold space for the fact that it was in the past, and through the very act of creating, we intentionally bring into being for ourselves the option to leave it there, with all its baggage, pain, and guilt. Perhaps we embark in a creative endeavor around this past, as a part of our letting go. Perhaps we simply leave it be, and we move forward the best we can.
Step 5: Find Your Direction
This is up to each of us. What comes next depends on the direction we take, the passion we make, with our unique form of creative spirit. Be bold! Be brave! Be a creator!
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