Creativity, which is the expression of our originality, helps us stay mindful that what we bring into the world is completely original and cannot be compared. And without comparison, concepts like ahead or behind or best or worst lose their meaning.
Are you creative?
If your answer is no, keep reading!
Oh, and please keep reading if your answer is yes!!
Many years ago, if you asked me this, I would have immediately said, "absolutely not!" because my view of creativity was very limited and defined by my childhood artistic experiences. However, this perspective changed when I took Brene Brown's course based on her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. In Brene's book, she outlines ten guideposts for wholehearted living, and guidepost number six is cultivating creativity and letting go of comparison. During the course, Brene asked the question that went something like this, "Was there a time in your life when you felt like your creativity stopped? Did something make you feel that your 'art' was not good enough?" Then, she had us write out our "art" scars. She used art loosely to mean any creative outlet, whether drawing, painting, music, writing, sewing, cooking, photography, knitting, building, etc. I did this, and I knew exactly when my art scar occurred!
Here's the story ...
When I was in the first grade, our teacher explained we would have a contest, and there would be a prize for the winners. Oh, I loved a competition (still do). So she handed everyone a piece of paper with some squiggly lines on it and said, "Make a picture out of this, and the best drawings will win." I was so excited I knew I could do it! I remember how the room went silent, and everyone was working hard to produce their best work of art. The teacher then gathered up all the papers, and we waited anxiously for her decision. I sat with fingers crossed, hoping it was me. Then the teacher showed us the top three, and mine was not one of them. I was crushed, and when I looked at the winning pictures she had chosen, I then told myself, "Of course I didn't win; my picture was awful compared to the others." Ahh, comparison. Brene Brown says that comparison is about conformity and competition, and it's easy to see how difficult it is to make time for important things such as creativity, gratitude, joy, and authenticity when we are spending enormous amounts of energy conforming and competing. So as guidepost number six states, to cultivate creativity, it is essential to let go of comparison.
How about you? Do you have art scars? Are they keeping you from a creative outlet? Maybe you think, "I don't care about creativity; it's not all that important, and I don't even have time for that anyway."
Well, here is how Brene Brown answers those thoughts with three points on creativity:
"I'm not very creative" doesn't work. There's no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don't. Unused creativity doesn't just disappear. It lives within us until it's expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.
The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.
If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing - it doesn't matter. As long as we're creating, we're cultivating meaning.
This month my theme has been sitting with creativity. I've thought about my favorite ways to be creative; writing, organizing, decorating, hosting a gathering. I even pulled out a watercolor set I purchased for the Gifts of Imperfection course and painted a picture for my last blog post, Holding Patterns. I often draw in my journal, and I don't worry anymore about how it looks. Creativity just feels good when we let go of the comparison and try it!
So I invite you to think about how you can make time and space in your life to nurture creativity. It doesn't have to be some big monumental project that takes up lots of time. Start Small and Just Try It! Drop me a note at email@example.com and share your creative endeavor.
The picture above is my most prized art possession, Mickey Mouse (if it wasn't obvious). I made it in eight-grade art class. I was pretty proud of it, and I remember not caring what anyone thought even though my friends laughed. Of course, now, my kids laugh at it too! I keep it on a shelf near my desk, and it reminds me that I am creative! And so are you!
Blessings for being creative!
Walking the Journey with You,
*Brene Brown recently published her 10th Anniversary edition of The Gifts of Imperfection which you can find at The Gifts Hub. She also released a six-part podcast series on Unlocking Us. Click to listen.
**If you would like to join me in a year of sitting, subscribe below. I will feature one of the following topics in my monthly posts and suggest ways to sit with them: God, Family, Myself, Community, The Present Moment, Writing, Creating, Moderation, Gratitude, Joy, and Love.