Creativity in hard times
Hello Creative QB’s,
How are you? really?
Here in our part of the world, we are about to straddle freedom from lockdown with continuing uncertainty of what life might look like living with COVID. It is a pendulum of hope and anxiety.
Are you feeling that too? read on.
3 min read
Beyond the fatigue and general feelings of blah, there is also a slew of other looming worldwide crises that exist in the corner of our mind’s eye. Most days I wish to keep my eyes shut. Harnessing creativity in hard times teaches us to fully open our eyes, despite fear.
These past few weeks I would argue have been the hardest yet. I find life is narrowing into a cycle of wanting to escape into a world that I can control, that I know is safe, where the threaded pieces of ‘normal’ life can be stitched together in a way I am familiar with. So I have turned inward.
The impulse to close our eyes, shut down, cut ourselves off, insulate ourselves from what is happening around us is a reaction we are all dealing with. It’s hard to be with ourselves, the people in our home, and isolation.
A language we can all understand
Thankfully, there is light now, a way forward and it will require a new kind of hope, a new language to help us re-emerge beyond lockdowns.
The language I understand to bring colour to our lives again comes in the shape of creativity.
“I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way-things I had no words for.” wrote artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. She understood better than any the language of creativity as an elixir for wellbeing. She played with the inventiveness of life to connect purpose and meaning in ways that deeply called and moved her.
In essence, what creativity is, is a unique way of describing purpose and meaning to better understand what it is we seek.
Creativity in hard times allows us to better understand ourselves, it fosters the creation of awareness, helps bring feelings and emotions into focus, brings light to darkness, eases pain, softens our hard edges through vulnerability, and gently prizes open our lid of possibility. Creativity is much more than a distraction from that which we cannot control, being in the act of creativity is an act of self-love, a wellbeing practice.
In 2017 when I was in treatment for Ovarian Cancer, I turned inward to find my way out of the uncertainty. I consciously connected with my creativity through writing, reading, and drawing, it provided a pathway back to myself.
Artists, writers, and many creatives are often very used to turning inward. Know for spending days wrapped in the creative process, reflecting in the vulnerability of creating something new. In the days and weeks that were my cancer recovery, healing was my art. I turned inward to build courage, I turned inward to access my deep well of creativity.
Brené Brown says:
Vulnerability is not a weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.
Being vulnerable is being creative, it is letting go of all the tightly wound threads that bind us to old ways of thinking and being. At first, vulnerability can feel like unraveling, as a community dealing with the world as it is now, we are in the unraveling.
To move forward, there is hope and opportunity in the unraveling. The vulnerability we experience right now will be the greatest measure of courage when we emerge.
There is an old poem in Clarissa Pinkola Estés masterpiece, Woman Who Run With The Wolves. The poem is about returning to ourselves, about listening to the ‘something’ that is calling us. We start to listen when we can no longer bear the feelings and emotions we carry. When we listen from the inside, the time comes for us.
‘Come with me, there is something I must show you…”
She turns to go, her cloak falls open,
Suddenly, golden light…everywhere, golden light…”
From the poem, Woman Who Lives Under The Lake.
Here are six ways to help the process of going inward, to build your courage through creativity.
(These are everyday things that I have relied on over the past few months).
- First thing in the morning, reach for the sun rather than your phone. Welcome in the day with a few rounds of stretches, a yoga practice called Salute To The Sun.
- Walk, ride, run or play outside of the house for that 1 allowable hour of exercise per day.
- Grow something from the dirt. I have planted a patch of flowers from seed and am nurturing them to grow each day.
- Read more, watch less.
- Journal then journal some more.
- Create mindfully. I have found myself drawing & painting roses in watercolour in a very mindful, intentional, detailed way. It is a departure from my floral abstracts, but a return to my illustrations, because it is something I know. When I stand with my paintbrush in hand, my body and mind know the drill. It immediately brings a sense of awareness to the activity, I feel my body loosen, my mind quietens, my joy rises. In those inward moments I am being well, creativity connects me to my wellbeing, then to the spirit of creativity that connects us all.
Much happiness, health and creativity to you.
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