For way too long, creativity took second place to my ‘real’ life. Like most of you reading this, there was a family to raise, relationships to nurture and a living to make.
A year ago I was devouring Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” and decided to embrace her concept of “Wholeheartedness” as a way to live. I had no idea at the time it would lead me to a completely new life by the ocean in Nova Scotia.
The journey wasn’t easy
The greatest casualties of a scarcity culture are our willingness to own our vulnerabilities and our ability to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. — Brene Brown
It’s a conscious choice to live wholeheartedly and trust myself. Every single day it takes awareness and commitment and work. However, as I rebuilt my ‘intuition muscle’, a surprising thing happened.
I found my creative voice
As my creative practice evolves, so does my perception and focus. I no longer ask “What will I make today?” Instead, the question has become, “What do I want to say today?”
That may sound kind of serious and heady but it’s not meant to be. My life these days is fun and fulfilling. I think that’s because I get to choose how I wield my creative superpowers.
Some days the answer to what I want to say is simply “I love you”. That might be expressed as a quilt to for a family member or the painting of a shared memory.
Other times I want to share how something made me feel. That’s when I bring out my paints or sit down to write. In other words, my creativity, no matter how I choose to express it, is about communicating something and connecting with someone.
My husband expresses his creativity by putting delicious meals on the table and making updates to our home. I have friends who build successful businesses as their creative outlet. The point is, each one of us is unique and we each have something different and wonderful to add this mix called life.
Here’s what I believe
The world needs you to be your one-of-a-kind self and not a carbon copy of some guru or expert. Your wholehearted creativity should be a primary goal of our lives, not just an ‘add-on’ when there’s time.
Embrace the practice (and not perfection) of wholehearted creative expression and you’ll stopped feeling guilty about using your gifts to say what you want to say.
Creativity is an expression of love
Once you start asking yourself “What do I want to say today”, creativity becomes who you ARE. (That’s why I believe creative people never retire.)
Creativity changes our own lives and those closest to us because, at its core, creativity is vulnerable. The willingness to be vulnerable is an act of love and courage, which is a pretty powerful way to live a life.
Taken all the way, creative expressions can even shake up the status quo by shining a light on where something is out of whack. It’s no coincidence that oppressive governments often try to silence the artists and writers in their countries. They understand the power of creativity to make people think and question.
Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change. It can not only move us, it makes us move. — Ossie Davis
Creative power is an expression of hope
It’s not always about earth-shattering paradigm shifts and political agendas.
When I paint, it’s usually to say, “Gosh! Will you look at that! I want to share this moment with you.”
Painting beauty is my antidote to the negativity that’s so prevalent these days. It’s my personal way of pushing back when others try to divide us with talk of carnage and “us vs them”.
If there’s beauty and we both appreciate it, then we’ve found common ground for conversation. Who knows what else we’ll find in common!
So yes, I believe we need to stop hiding our creative gifts, how ever we choose to express them. As creatives, we also need to support each other because it can be a scary world out there. Having a tribe behind you certainly helps.
You know, I see a Creative Manifesto developing here.