“Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.” – Einstein
Reclaiming and exercising our creative mind is essential to our survival as humans and is key to creating long lasting change in our lives and in our world. We are born creative beings. I cannot find a separation between creating and being. Creativity is imperative to our existence. In order for us to thrive we must be adaptable to the ever changing nature of our world.
Creativity is inquisitive and open to that which is unknown. Creativity challenges us to not rely on the old, but bring our own experience and wisdom to our living. Creativity makes new connections through reorganizing and reframing, as well as peering through the superficial to illuminate the truth. Creativity allows us to see the world fresh. This gives us the advantage of organizing and mobilizing our resources into the most effective approach available for any given moment.
I used to think I was being creative because I made art, but making art is like a beautiful ritual that reflects the kind of art we are really making. The real art is the art of our selves and our lives. We are the art. We are living art. The power of our creative expression can be made more full and life changing when we allow it to flow through every aspect of who we are and how we live.
I was drawn to a great article recently titled, The art of sustainability: imagination, not spreadsheets will create change by Dr Joseph Zammit-Lucia, an independent scholar and commentator. He writes,
“I indulge in artistic practices because they take me out of the mind I spend too much time in – the rational, thinking, analytical mind – into a different space where almost everything is possible; where the challenge is to look at the world in a different way,”
Using our creative mind connects us with what makes our lives valuable and helps foster a sense of emotional connection with others. Freeing the imagination supports emotional, social, even moral intelligence. In contrast, as Dr. Zammit-Lucia highlights, recent neuro-imaging studies show that strong rational, analytical thinking actually suppresses these cognitive processes.
We need creativity. The world needs our creativity. Making art is a revolutionary act. Everyone has the potential to develop their creative mind, because everyone at heart is an artist. It is our birthright. Each of us living our work of art. We knew the power of our creativity when we were kids. We may have forgotten it along the way, or were told someone else was the artist, but our creativity is right there.
Start Now! Practice these 4 fundamentals to reclaim your creative power.
1. RELAX your mind, relax your body
It can be challenging to stop, fully stop and relax during the day, but the benefits are endless and begin immediately. Taking time each day to fully relax opens the door to your creativity. Take even one whole minute today, to just stop. Look around. Feel your feet on the ground. Breathe deep. And relax.
2. See it, REMOVE it: JUDGMENT
If you want to keep your creativity close by, provide lots of breathing room. When I go into classrooms, I always tell kids about my second rule of art, THERE IS NEVER A RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO MAKE ART. I notice adults are often in need of this reminder too. Choose something in your day that you need to do. It may be something you are totally confident at or totally not. It doesn’t matter which. As you do it, repeat to yourself that there is not a right or wrong way. This sort of practice frees up creativity in all directions as you begin to realize that what you may have thought of as a “wrong” way, may actually provide exactly what you needed to learn, and what you thought of as a “right” was is actually just one of countless ways!
3. be here now. PRESENCE is where it’s at.
Often our minds are so full of layers and layers of distractions we are only half paying attention to what we are doing in the moment. Experiment with paying attention to what you are doing fully, no matter what it is. Look at your hands-what are they doing right now? Feel the quality of your breath in your chest-is it deep and strong? Shallow and fast? Regular and easy? Notice your thoughts-are you thinking about this moment or are you off in tomorrow or something that happened yesterday? Notice every little thing about this moment that you are experiencing. Presence keeps creativity flowing.
You have full permission. PLAY! This is the most important work you can do. Don’t know how to play? Look at the children around you. This is the wisdom of the free mind. This is the essence of creativity. Play changes everything. Absolutely everything can turn into play. Open your mind to the possibility and see what you can turn into play. It may just be your whole life.
Practice these 4 fundamentals throughout your day. Whether you’re making art or making dinner. See how these simple things can begin expanding your creative mind and open up areas of greater and greater creative expression.
And if you’re interested, read more of the article I referenced, The art of sustainability: imagination, not spreadsheets will create change