Conscious Creativity

Brenda Ueland“Everybody is talented because everyone who is human has something to express . . . everybody is original, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from himself. But it must be from his true self and not from the self he thinks he should be.” — Brenda Ueland

At the deepest core of every human lies a creative spirit. You, me, everyone has it, though many are barely—or not at all—aware of its presence. Nevertheless it is in you. You and I were created from what came before us, and we are given ample opportunity and talent to express that creation forward.

Creative energies come in many forms and arrive from many directions. Freed into the world to be appreciated primarily for its beauty and emotional power, the creative spirit is an expression of imagination. Many good folks channel it into religion and others dance with it. Some paint it, write it, or play it. Some garden. Some live it daily through the raising of kids and backyard chickens. Others close the door to the world and find it in solitude. All creative paths lead to your true self.

I know the creative spirit as a divine, subtle, luminous, overwhelming, and transcendent power. It is the experience of being present in the moment, shedding thoughts, and letting the mind sink into the abyss. Creativity is the deepest part of our being, pulsing below its outward expression. It is the light in the painting, the movement of the words, the rhythm of the music.

Creativity is not reserved for the artist alone—it is a necessary part of every life. Without it life is dull and flat. Creativity lifts you to a grander view of the world; in essence, it makes you human. Through creativity your true self will find beauty and compassion in a world often lacking. It liberates you, raises your vibration level, and lifts your spirits. “Inspiration,” writes Ueland,  “. . . comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing . . .”

To harness the power of creativity we must first unlearn the lessons that continue to nip at our heels—those that tell us we need to fit in or stay invisible. One must simultaneously hold a seriousness and a playfulness when taking up the creative life. The choice to express your creativity requires a stand against conformity, acquiescence, compliance, fear, and tyranny—at times imposed upon us by others but most often, self-inflicted.

Rollo May claims that it takes courage to create. Courage, he says, means going forward in spite of the fear. I first heard these words 35 years ago and as the years pass their relevance increases.

We often have to sift through layer upon layer of cultural, religious, and scientific dogma to reach the place where our creative spirit has been buried. Each of us is a family historian whether we like it or not, and, as Ueland reminds us, “families are great murderers of the creative impulse.” We carry invisible grudges, regrets, shame, and confusion stemming from family life. We carry our family histories in ways that startle and confuse us. We drag it through fatigue, depression, discouragement, and fear. I have filing cabinets full of the stuff.

The question is what to do with it? One option—the easy one—is denial, repression, and distraction. Turn on the television. Read a book. Go out to eat. Go to a movie. Creativity is another option. Write your own words. Cook your own food. Make your own movie. Create your own life.