I want to start by asking a question: Why does creativity matter?
This is a really pressing question because I think most of us feel like we don't have enough time for our creativity, and we get caught up in the things we do for our career, for our families, for other people.
We live in a world, too, in which there is a lot of emphasis on science and technology, and less and less value is placed on personal creativity; sometimes we even feel it's an indulgence, not quite necessary.
Before we can answer the question of why does creativity matter, maybe we need to back up: What is creativity anyway?
I invite you to sit with this question.
What is creativity for you? What is creativity in your own life? How does your body feel when you think of creativity?
Take some time. Maybe close your eyes and just feel what you feel in response to that question.
Then you may ask yourself when you feel most creative.
The answers may surprise you. We don’t always feel most creative when we are doing activities that others might define as “creative.” (I personally know many writers who feel their least creative when they're sitting down to write.)
Each of us will have our own answers to these questions.
I’ll share with you mine.
For me, creativity is an experience of life-force.
It’s spring in Cambridge, and I can finally see new leaves outside my window as I write. The birch tree to my left has long braid-like seed pods hanging off the tips of the branches. The tree on the right, outside the kitchen window, has tiny green leaves, the size of quarters, slowly unfurling up towards the sun.
In spring, it’s easy to see the life force running in everything, this urge towards new beginnings, towards creation, towards life.
But this life force is present all the time, this constant process of change and transformation.
For me being creative is not an act of self-exertion, but instead an act of self-alignment: when I am in line with the energy around and within me, when I feel my own aliveness and pulse and ever-changing nature, I wake up to what is. And this process of waking up to what is and participating in this ever-moving being is my truest form of creativity.
It is true, I love to write. And it is true, I love to move my body through yoga and walking and hiking and dance. And it is true I love to sit quietly and quiet the mind so that I can be more present for what is. So for me writing, yoga and meditation are all creative acts, and I try to engage in these as often as I can, and love teaching these forms to others.
But for me, those forms of creativity are ultimately just forms: the true creativity is this deeper life-force that we can all tap into all the time through our awareness and awe for our own aliveness.
No matter what is happening around us—whatever difficulties or challenges--tapping into our creativity is tapping into that which is. Tapping into our creativity is at once accepting what is even as, like the plants outside, we turn towards the light and stretch out our bodies and grow.
So why does creativity matter? I leave that to you to answer.
Emotional Healing & Mindful Writing Blog | Nadia Colburn
I blog about creativity, writing, yoga, meditation, justice, women, the environment and integrated well being for the individual and society.