I believe the creative process has a magical way of connecting us to the mystery of life and living. To live artfully is not just to live our lives, but to actively create our lives- exploring our passion, purpose and promise along the way.
I believe we are all creative and that creativity is not an acquired attribute but a given. We have been gifted with lives upon which to write or draw our days. How we create them is up to us. Life, by the virtue of living it, is a creative act.
However, from a young age we are commonly informed that creativity is a commodity of the few. What creativity we have is knocked out of us. We are told to join the dots, colour between the lines, make things neat and pretty, get good grades and behave. But life is not neat and pretty, and nor is the creative process. Both are messy, non-linear, complex, beautiful, exhiland when lived fully, can be deeply rewarding. Life, like art, is not a ‘colour between the lines’ exercise.
I believe there has never been a more urgent time for us all to engage with our vital and innate creativity.
Our world is in chaos. There are divisions, antagonisms, fractions, tensions, differences, disorders and schisms around every bend. There are problems with such complexity that no amount of linear thinking is going to solve.
It is time to step fully into our right brains and allow new approaches and solutions to emerge, then collaborate with our left brains for new strategies to evolve. Creativity is not just a nice side plate, or an accessory to our being, but an integral component of how we as a human race and a planet are going to survive. We need more creative thinking and creative leadership for things to systemically change at a personal and a collective level.
Working with complexity
Creativity and the artistic process works with complexity. At the heart of it is diversity, contrast, opposites and friction. To create we learn to take risks, work with our edges, experiment with the contradictions, uncover the unknown and collaborate with the mystery of it all– all vital skills to navigating this complex world we live in and finding new solutions to entrenched problems. Creativity is our lifeline.
Leaning into Risk
Boris Pasternak once wrote, ‘Talent and the art of writing is ‘Boldness in the face of the blank sheet’.
I believe that how we face a blank page, or a blank canvas, the viewfinder of a camera, or a yoga mat can teach us a lot about how we engage with life.
Through the perameters of the creative process we can lean into risk and approach creation with boldness- what would it be like to explore that canvas with wild abandon, or what would it be like to write from our truest edge? As we lean into our creative being, we come right up against our blocks and barriers, fears and vulnerabilities. How we approach to those barriers and trust in the creative process and practice to carry us through them is a metaphor and learning tool for how we show up to our lives and how we navigate a path forwards. That blank canvas, and that blank page, are rich and safe grounds for experimentation. In them we can discover worlds and lessons previously unknown to us and lean into the risks we know we need to take.
Building Blocks of Innovation
To create is to innovate. To innovate is to solve problems, find new ways, grow new businesses, discover cures and reimagine what is possible. Innovation and imagination are healthy bedfellows. When creativity is in the mix there is a veritable slumber party. It is time to throw an all-nighter.
Beyond skills, Deepening Humanity
Creativity goes beyond acquiring skills. Engaging with the artistic process whether through music, painting, photography, dance, yoga, cooking, singing, writing or crafting, links us to one of the most vital elements of the human experience: to create is to express the richness of our humanity and the vitality of our spirit. It can capture our joy as well as our sadness, our wonder as our despair. Art is a link to the mystery of it all. Art, and creativity, deeply matter.
‘Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up’- Pablo Picasso.