Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing. William Blake
Humans are innately creative. It’s what we do. I’ve been having that drummed into me by Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way book that I’m enjoying very much working through at the moment.
But perhaps I still wasn’t convinced, or didn’t give myself complete permission, to really believe that and to live it 100% by creating without limitations. Limitations put upon us in childhood where at some point many of us came across someone (or possibly just a feeling from society at large) that said, “it’s all very well being creative, but it’s not all that serious or responsible, is it?”
Well, I’d say it’s both. Serious and responsible.
This weekend, as part of a an art course I’m taking, we were asked to observe another adult creating freely with plasticine for 40 minutes. To observe them from a standpoint of complete curiosity – what are they doing? What are they going to do next?
And as I watched the person’s hands working so meticulously and carefully with the plasticine to create a beautiful 3D image on a piece of paper, as I saw the changes in her face from flow to happiness to tension, then to happiness and flow again, it struck me as profoundly obvious – we are meant to create. It’s as human as breathing. I’d go as far as to say that it is as healthy and necessary as breathing too.
I recently went thourgh a long phase where creativity took a back seat in my life, and was replaced by administration – administrating life, rather than creating my way through it, and it was, frankly, awful. Modern life pushes us more and more into tasks of administration… that and consuming. And up against those two, creation takes a back seat.
Don’t let it! Much better to see what happens when, like children, we give free reign to our creativity again.
How? Wait until you’ve got some time on your own. Do it privately. There’s no need to show anyone else – it may even be better not to. But find a space to create! Then Cook! Paint! Draw! Knit! Write – a poem, a song, a short story! Get some wax crayons, put on some music, and just draw what you hear, filling the page with colour! It doesn’t matter if we do it at home, or take a course, it’s just great, in fact innate, to create.
Later in the same class, while I was drawing with wax crayons to music, lost in colours and textures, I suddenly found myself in a state of fluidity, interest, happiness, peace, spaciousness, freedom and relaxation that I’m not used to in everyday life – all my usual worries and aches simply evaporated while I worked effortlessly on the paper in front of me. And that state of effortless creativity is, I believe, a profoundly healing one. How can it be otherwise? And how can it be anything other than serious and responsible to allow ourselves that healing, creative space?
“…creativity is by its nature a growing and developing thing, and when we hold it back, it ruins us with its ferocious energy.”
“When people say that art is a luxury it is because they have never known its healing power.” Both quotes by writer Jeanette Winterson