Some people think creativity is a magic bullet, is an impossible property of some few people whom somehow manage to be creative in their lives. Truth is everybody is creative, everybody can take care of creativity and grow it. Creativity is like a plant, a plant we can take care of inside us, garden it, protect it, give it space to grow. Creativity belongs to everybody and no, it doesn’t die, it is us who kill it, or it would be better described as storing it in the closet, in the garage, in the attic, so dusty, so far away, we no longer see it, and once we start taking care of it, it springs back to life with such a force it can even make us scared. “Crazy ideas” we call them, “Insane”, “I don’t really want to do that” we lied to ourselves and then go ahead and beat ourselves up for being creatives, when in reality we are masking a hidden fear we feel so ashamed of, we don’t even want to recognise it as fear, and so we send creativity back to the same rotten place it was.
Truth is, creativity is healthy, expansive, boundless, ruleless, creativity is free. It is a free force and like any force it can destroy us the same as heal and let us grow. Creativity is not what many people think: “Art”, art is a practice form of creativity, a manifestation of creativity or maybe both, I wouldn’t know. Creativity is a way of life, it is a way of living, a very powerful and healthy one. It is manifested everywhere, it shows up when we bake a bread, make a salad, play table-tennis, mix drinks, but since we don’t pay attention to it we let it dry. We follow the fried rice receipt instead of getting inventive, playful adding a new mix, a beer or maybe two, and so we lose the chance of failure, of learning by mistakes, the chance of enjoying the process regardless of the results. We lose the joy of everyday life.
Have you ever noticed how people get so creative coming up with excuses not to go on that trip they have longed for a while? How people get creative justifying the job they no longer want? How creative they get clinging to old habits instead of breaking them and adventure into the world? Yes, creativity exists, it is always there, it is how we use it that define us. It can lead us to a never-ending grow thru a series of exciting and adventurous expansions, or it can lead us to a never-ending series of justifications of old habits, getting us stuck in the same life full of regrets of “I could have done it”. We even try to shut up creativity by getting distracted on another routine, so we don’t feel bad with ourselves betraying what we really wished we were doing.
Much of the time, computer games, movies, restaurants, news, Facebook, you name it, are excuses we come up with to escape getting a bit adventurous, a bit out of our comfort zone. All the sudden we have to check Facebook, the latest news, or entertain ourselves with something else instead of following that “crazy idea” we just had, that “interesting thing” it crossed our minds. So we postpone the action with excuse after excuse, and like an alcoholic, we try to bury boredom, regret, inactivity, on the same life of yesterday, last month and last year. We teach ourselves to grow numb and then proceed to bury any attempt of cure by repeating time after time: “I can’t do ….”, or “I am not creative”. Ohh yes you are! we all are, you are just not letting yourself be creative, you are not letting that little plant take a bit of sun and grow into a tree. Yes, creativity is scary at first, exploring the unknown, out of our comfort zone is scary by itself, so what? Fear is not an enemy, we all have fears, it is what we do with it that matters. Fear is a map, a map of where you could go, of what you should try, fear point us the doors we can open to expand our lives, to enrich ourselves with new experiences. Fear also lead us to self exploration, can also lead us to know why are we afraid, and if used properly, it can take us very far.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” – Anais Nin
I like to think of fear as a following companion and let that first voice in my head come to action, that’s exactly how creativity wants to be nurtured, that’s what creativity teach us also. By following that first voice we let our playful side out, a fearless side of ourselves who is not concerned about “What if”, a joyful side of ourselves that just wants to conquer the right now by cheerful action, by happiness. Give yourself a chance to let creativity out little by little into your life and you’ll notice how healthy changes starts to occur.
“With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity”
By committing to be creative you are letting yourself be humble, confident, self-loving, trusting, compassionate, accepting, understanding. It clears your mind, it make you know yourself better, get focused. It make you free from self-doubts, from shames and fears. It teaches you the importance of living the moment, the joys of saying yes and going after the unknown. It shows you it is far harder not to live than to live. It shows you what your dreams are, to declare them your own and more importantly, to act on them. It shows you there is no stupid idea, no grandiose schema, no ridicule action. It proves you anything can be done once you start taking yourself seriously. At the end, it teaches you what matter the most, your own life.