During these last 2 turbulent weeks, I’ve been in self-isolation with lots of time to reflect on the work I do in the world. This has given me a chance to reconsider my focus on creativity.
I believe it’s a good practice to periodically take a fresh look at what we’re doing. If we were making that decision for the first time today, would we still decide to do it? Would we choose something else?
When we’re willing to go through a periodic process of redeciding, we’re never a victim of our past decisions. We’re always doing the best thing for us right now.
So I reviewed my main activities: painting, coaching people on how to reconnect with their creativity, offering experiences at my rural centre for creative expansion. And I asked myself, “During this period of such huge anxiety, fear, pain and suffering, are these activities still worthwhile? Am I offering people something truly valuable? Is this the best way I can use my skills to serve humanity?”
More fundamentally, “Is creativity even relevant?”
This morning, I came across this definition in an online dictionary: “Creativity is the ability to transcend the ordinary.”
When I read this, I could feel the answers to all my questions at a gut level.
I looked up transcendence: “existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level”.
And another definition of creativity: “Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is found.”
It struck me that people who think of creativity as a mere hobby, and art as a “nice to have”, are missing the point.
Art isn’t about enabling someone with more stuff than she already needs to acquire yet another pretty object.
Creativity isn’t about finding something to do if you don’t have anything more important to think about.
Creativity is transformative.
Creativity is how we get to the other side. Creativity is the only way we get to the other side.
Transcending the ordinary is exactly what we need, especially right now.
We’re all so fatigued by the chaos, anxiety and uncertainty we’re been grappling with every day. Our spirit is tired. We feel beleaguered.
As we all hunker down to the physical experience of living through a global pandemic, it is useful to be reminded that we haven’t lost our power to create something extraordinary.
Creativity is exactly the fuel we need right now.
I’m noticing that, more than at any time before, I’m proud to be in the business of helping nurture other people’s creative spirits. And I’m honoured to be an artist who gets to express her own creative spirit every day.
I love what I’m doing. I’m in love with the creative human spirit. I’m in love with using creativity as a tool for transformation. For expanding what is possible. For healing the soul.
I confess to having a mystical attitude towards my artwork. And why not? It makes me happy to think of my paintings as having a magical, healing force. It makes me happy to paint with the intention of reminding my viewers of the goodness that exists within each of us.
I paint each of my paintings feeling so much love for the person who will buy it. I paint with a knowing that my painting is destined for a particular person. A person who will see my painting and see in it the beauty of the external world reflected in her. I apply each paint stroke with her in mind. I imagine her one day, troubled, glancing at my painting hung on her living room wall, feeling suddenly a bit lighter. A little bit more connected. A little bit less alone.
Most recently, I’ve focussed my paintings on themes based on the words from my daily mantra: Light, Love, Joy, Gratitude, Forgiveness, Trust, Peace, Still, Calm. These are not unimportant themes. They are what we need to move gracefully, creatively and with the least amount of harm to the other side of the pandemic.
If my paintings inspire these ways of being in even one person, I’ve changed a life. I’ve provided value.
I like to think of art as an incredibly effective tool to help people who are struggling in some way. If the art captures beauty, it reminds us that the world is a beautiful place and we are beautiful inside. If the art captures darkness, it reminds us that we’re not alone in our own darkness.
The same is true of all creative output. It all eases the human spirit.
Fiction, blogs, poetry, the telling of our stories. Connecting us through shared human experiences. A beautiful garden, an indoor exhibition of flowers and plants, a greenscape in the middle of the city. Reminding us of our essential aliveness. Theatre, a comedy show, a YouTube video, performance art. Broadening our perspectives, teaching us, amusing us. Songs, a symphony, a concert, our friend playing guitar at a dinner party. A universal language helping us transcend our differences through shared emotional experiences. Inventions, discoveries, breakthroughs. Enabling us to live better and accomplish more.
These are the gifts of creativity.
That’s why I’m inspired, each day, to help other people step into the delight of their own creativity.
So my answer is yes. I decide to continue my focus on creativity. I decide to continue creating my healing paintings. I decide to continue helping other people create what they want to create in the world.
Together, you and me, we’re going to do more than get through the pandemic. We’re going to transcend the ordinary by creating the extraordinary.
In the meantime, if you’re struggling with the crisis and feeling lost, worried, anxious or afraid, I can help. In addition to my regular 10 week coaching program where we focus on creative expansion, for the next few weeks I’ll also be offering coaching by the hour for people who need a little extra help coping right now. We can coach for as little as one hour on any aspect of the crisis you’re struggling with. You can sign up for a one hour session by sending an email to email@example.com. I’ll let you know the cost and we can arrange a time outside my normal coaching schedule that works for both of us.
Or, if you’re feeling the yearning to create, I offer free personal strategy sessions where we talk through your issues and we can decide if my creative expansion coaching program is the right option for you. Remember that, no matter who you are or how constrained you feel, it’s never too late to step into your creativity. You can schedule a free strategy session by cutting and pasting this link in your browser or clicking on one of the many scheduling links in this website.
In the meantime, keep well. Stay creative.