Would you describe yourself as creative?
In the past, if someone had asked me that question, I would have been the last in the queue to say yes. I never saw myself as being creative, as I associated creativity with the ability to self-generate new ideas out of nothing. It did not help that I was also comparing myself to other peers who seemed to be able to churn out unique and fun ideas at whim.
It thus came as a surprise during breakfast one morning as I was writing my gratitude journal, to realize that I had actually written “the opportunity and context to exercise my creativity each day”. I wrote so because I was grateful for having a piano readily accessible to me to work on that childhood dream of learning to play the piano (there, the secret is out!), and for having a safe context where my basic needs are taken care of, I did not need to worry about daily survival, and I could have the inner space and peace to explore my creativity.
When those words came out, I stared at my journal and blinked. Me… creative… each day?! I started to list down the different ways in which that creativity has been expressed on a regular basis, and the list came out as such:
- Playing the piano (why, of course :))
- Cooking (I have fun experimenting with different food and ingredients)
- Designing trainings (I love being able to create transformative learning experiences for people)
- Writing (that’s what you’re looking at now)
It seemed to make perfect sense then. My creativity has found its own way to be expressed even when I have not been consciously taking care of it! So many spiritual teachings tell us that there is an artist in all of us, and that our life’s work is related to the expression of our unique gifts and talents. It is in exercising that creativity where we find joy; and that is something special and unique which we have to offer to this world. I used to know it mentally and now, I think I understand it a little more.
I have not been paying much attention to my creative side. Much of my adult life has been spent chasing personal and professional success; my gifts and creative genius have been ignored, suppressed by pursuits of what I had been conditioned to believe is important. In those deliberate pursuits, it feels as if I am swimming against the currents and the act of achieving is a struggle, a fight. However, on occasions when I am not attached to outcomes and I am just enjoying the process, I find that doors open for me out of the blue and I am in flow. I don’t need to try, I just need to be.
This is not to say that we should abandon all challenges and stay in our comfort zones. This is for us to know the distinction between holding a creative tension and fighting against nature.
In case you still find it hard to accept that you hold a powerful creative genius within you, allow me to stretch the discussion a little bigger. How are we created? There are many different religious, cultural and scientific responses to that question, and I do not intend to go into them. One thing is for sure though – we were created out of particles that were found on Earth and that created all other life… our Earth was created out of the same particles as the galaxy… our galaxy was created from what is found in the universe… and our universe was created from… nothing?! We hold within us the same ingredients that created our world, and if these ingredients can create that, just imagine what we are all capable of!
So, what can you do today to take care of your artist?