Studio 5 Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Liz Hale sets us straight on the creation of creativity.
Do you remember the story of the little girl (who showed no fear) who’s drawing a picture in school and the teacher asks, “What are you drawing?” She replies, “I’m drawing a picture of God!” The teacher says, “But no one knows what God looks like.” And the little girl states, “They will in a minute!” But, somewhere along the line we lose our confidence to create. Sadly, there are many killjoys to our creativity: Schools, teachers, parents, peers, society….the list is endless of those who want to tell us what we can and cannot do. Unfortunately, these voices seem to trump the voices of teachers, parents and peers who strive to help us thrive in our limitless creativity.
In order to live a creative life, we need to face our fear of being wrong. How do we rid ourselves of fear? By feeling fear itself…and doing it anyway! We are creative beings just by our very essence. Every area of our life is in need of the expression of creativity; our physical being, as well as our emotional, mental, intellectual, social and spiritual beings. We are all creative; we just may not be living creatively.
Faith is a key principle for creativity. In any given moment, we either have a lack of faith or we are ready to take a leap of faith. Any time we undertake a creative endeavor, whether that is going to the easel, the page or the stage, or the paint, the fabric or furniture store, we have to muster enough courage and faith to get ourselves there, and face the possibility of making a mistake. What’s the worst thing that could happen? We re-do-it, return it, or replace it. These matters of creativity are not life and death; we need to keep that in mind and jump!
Everything we do requires making creative choices; the way we dress, set up our home, do our job, the movies we select, the people we embrace – all of these are our expressions of creativity. We have the capacity to create “a mess” or “a way to bless,” our life as well as the lives of others by these relevant choices we make.
C = “Censor”
This idea of getting in touch with your inner critic or censor is from “The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It’s easy to get caught up in the minute details and minutia of our lives. Begin every morning by putting the pen to page and pulling out all your worries, frets, and anger that block your creativity, preventing yourself from being available to the day at hand. Think of this as going in and cleaning out all the corners of the mind with a whisk broom, preparing a clean slate for creative living.
When a woman unleashes her creativity, there’s no stopping her in her problem solving, bridging relationship gaps, and expressing her soul in her own intimate corner of the world.
R = Repetition
<>p>Have you ever noticed that sometimes our best ideas come to us in the shower? Showering, shampooing, scrubbing, and shaving, are those regular repetitive activities that allow answers to bubble up because they allow us to tip over from our logic brain into our more creative artist brain.
Steven Spielberg prefers driving to showering; I’m sure he does both…but claims that his very best ideas comes to him while driving on the freeway. Negotiating the flow of traffic, the non-stop flow of fast-flowing images triggers his artistic brain. Some artists prefer to keep a notepad or recorder next to them in the car. Do what works best for you!
E = Exploration
It’s important that we allow ourselves little excursions and opportunities to explore the world around us. Again, in “The Artist’s Way,” the author suggest you set an artist date every week with yourself. You do not take anyone else on this date with you but your inner artist, a.k.a. your creative child. An artist date is an excursion where you set a definite block of time, usually about 2 hours, solely committed to nurturing your creative consciousness. We all fear intimacy; the fear of self-intimacy is no different. Get to know yourself; the only cost is time. Spending time in solitude is self-nurturing. A long country walk, or a visit to an ethnic neighborhood with wonderful yet foreign sights and sounds, are just two particular date ideas to enjoy with your creative self.
A = Attentiveness
Sometimes we are too busy to notice the details in a day. This is probably why pain is our great attention-getter; it’s hard to ignore. Art involves grand schemes and broad strokes, but it’s the attention to the details within art that stays with us the longest. Pay attention to the details of your own world; notice what a child sees; a plane, a bug, a flower. It takes time to see a flower – they are small and it requires time to notice and appreciate; much like what is required in building a friendship. What are you noticing and appreciating?
T = Time
Can we really create time, you might ask? You bet! How much time is wasted watching mindless television or surfing the Internet. Every doctor appointment or car pool should be accompanied with thank you cards that need to be written or bills that need to be paid. Set your clock earlier; carve out time in your calendar for classes, friendship-building, family dinners, and personal time. Protecting your private time often leads to great satisfaction in both work life and personal life, greater productivity, and more creativity. If we don’t schedule it, it won’t happen and something else will.
E = Enjoyment
You might be thinking an artist’s block is anything from enjoyment. But is there really any such thing? “Artist’s block” is a literal expression. Blocks need to be acknowledged and dislodged. Filling the well with enjoyment is the surest way to do this. In filling the creative well, think delight! Think fun; not duty. Do not do what you should do; do what intrigues you; explore what interests you. Think mystery; not mastery. A mystery lures us in. A mystery can be very simple: if I drive this road, and not the known one, where will it take me? Changing a known route throws us into the now. We become aware of the visible, visual world. And, sight leads to insight!
RESOURCE: “An Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron.
Dr. Liz Hale is a licensed clinical psychologist and a regular Studio 5 Contributor. Your comments and questions are welcomed! Please visit www.drlizhale.com to add your thoughts to today’s discussion or learn more about her private practice.