“I’m not at all creative…I don’t paint, I don’t write songs, I’m not a poet…” Have you ever heard anyone say something like this? Have you said it?
Creativity is usually associated with the arts, and perhaps because the arts are so harshly curated and judged, most of us have a difficult time claiming our creativity. In school, we lined our art projects on the wall alongside those of our classmates, and then waited to see whose would be deemed the best. We have been taught that some of what we create is art, and some is not.
But thankfully, creativity is not limited to artistic expression. Each of us needs creativity just to get through our days…problem solving, dreaming, making choices, trying new things, seeking connections, fixing the broken.
Peggy Taylor said: “Creativity is our ability to dream things up and make them happen.” Conjuring up new ideas and possibilities is what creativity is all about. Using “what is” as the starting place, we imagine the “not yet.” But sometimes, we stop there, find the fun in the dreaming and neglect the part about making those imaginings real.
Making it real can be hard, and it can be scary too. Trying new things requires courage and the willingness to fail. Being our most creative and unique selves might cause others to cheer, but it can also lead to being laughed at or excluded. Yes, there is joy, beauty and play in creativity, but there is also insecurity, loneliness and self-doubt.
Maybe we should also talk about “co-creativity” this month. Where did we get the idea that artists and inventors are isolated, independent geniuses? In fact, new ideas come from the clash of difference. New art emerges only after inspiration from those who’ve gone before. Better forms of community are built by those who stick with the chaos and the struggle.
Simply put, creators need companions. It’s all a way of reminding us that the creative self-expression needs a venue. Those sacred sources of inspiration inside us – our imagination, unique voice and inner muses – want to come out and play, and they need playmates! Creativity asks us to stay connected to each other.
So as we wonder about creativity this month, ask “What do I want to create?” but also ask “Who are my partners?”
The universe is predicated on the open possibilities of newness. With gratitude for all of our sources of creativity – within us and all around us – let us begin.
With you with all my heart,