A recent conversation stirred my mind- the topic? Creativity, or- more specifically- a creative lifestyle. We batted back and forth the ideas/notions that creativity is a thing some people have and some people don't. 'Creativity is for 'art people' not everyday people.' That confused me. I don't see myself as 'art people', yet I do see myself, my family, my kids as creative.
I decided to define creative as I see it:
Create: to make something new; to bring into being something that was not before
Creative: engaging the imagination
A creative life: setting an environment for involving the imagination
These are my personal definitions; the ones that lead me to believe each and every one of us has creativity- even a need for it. Most of us have either buried it ourselves or had it buried by someone/ something along the way.
Sit still, Keep clean. Don't make a mess. Study hard. Take a test. Be entertained. Work hard. None of these statements invoke notions of creativity, instead they stifle it. These things are not necessarily wrong; just out of balance. The realities and demands of our lives need a creative balance to them.
The work side educates, provides, and produces. The creatives side relieves, relaxes, and rebuilds. They go together, or they should. Where do we find creative? You may say, like my friend, 'I'm not crafty or artistic.' You don't have to be. Creative is self-expressed and grows from our individual interests... but it must be fostered.
Our minds are so numb from everything pressing us, we no longer know our interests!
So how do I foster it when I don't know what it is?
Put stuff in front of you and see what happens.
When I introduce children to creativity, I simply put stuff in front of them and let them go. Various paints and papers, craft items, glue, natural leaves, sticks and string, fiber supplies such as yarn and fabric are all items to put in front of you. Dig a small corner of your yard and stick some plants there. Doodle or color... give yourself a child-like opportunity to relax and do something new.
If you have children at home, like I once did, designating a 'creative space' is wonderful. A small table in the corner, a desk, or even a spot on the porch can give opportunity without pressure. Sit and do it with them, but be careful not to dictate perfection; that is not the goal. Expression, release, and rest is what we are going for. Let them, and yourself, display your results- no matter what they are!- A note: your child might scribble black crayon all over a paper; beware your reaction. Only they know what emotions, feelings, frustrations, or interests sparked that. Let them release it safely here. You might feel like doing it too one day (some work days go that way, am I right?)
A word of caution: be open to the possibility their creative niche is not the same as yours...their creative language, their medium....may not match you!
My son plays guitar, works with leather, and build things- one daughter paints, sketches, and does digital arts- another knits, crochets and does beautiful thread work... I quilt, garden and humbly paint/sketch. We are each drastically different in our medium, muse, and approach to creativity! Be open to the reality... we are all different!
Growing up, it never crossed my mind that I was allotted creative expression... but I was. Gardening, sewing, nature, time to color or play.. these things were always in front of me and available to me (I even studied art for a time). The key to fostering a creative life is to let it happen without pressure or force. Make it available to you and your family- you will be surprised how relaxing it is!