Thursday, October 29, 2015

On Creativity

It feels weird writing a blog post.  So much for my writing streak I started this summer.  That didn't last long.  I'm ok with this.  I think this blog has served a very beautiful purpose in my life and it's ok that I don't write here much anymore...or at all.  But I'm writing here now.

I guess I should start with saying that I've been reading Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic.  If you know of the book, you know.  If not?  Well, you're probably not reading this post anyway or you'll google the book and read a description.

I. Love. This Book!

I don't think everyone will love this book.  In fact, I don't think the world works that way..where everyone digs the same books and ideas.  I think this is a GOOD thing!  How boring of a world it would be if everyone thought the same and was interested in the same same same! But I love this book.   So far, most pages are met with a nod of my head and a "Yes, yes! Yes. She's saying it.  She's talking about this in a way that is so damn easy to read and relate."  She writes the book in a way that makes you feel like you are sitting right across from her having a coffee.  Her chapters are short.  Wording, real.  And she nails VOICE as far as good writing goes.  This book is an easy breezy read that inspires some good ol' reflection and thinking on a concept/topic that is one of my all-time favorites to chew on:  Creative Living.  And more so:  Creative Living Beyond FEAR, that tricky little shit that likes to get in the way and keep us from so much!

Last week, Muse Magazine sent out a post saying they have one free ticket to a sold out creativity/writing workshop here in Bend with none other than Elizabeth Gilbert herself.  WHAT?  Back the bus up.  Really?  Why hadn't I heard of said Creativity/Writing Workshop (yes, I'm capitalizing incorrectly here. Because it's important.) with E.G before this? So, they are giving this ticket away to one lucky winner who muses to their liking on Creativity.  I took it as musing on what creativity means for us in our lives.  What creativity is for us.  How we find creative inspiration. Who our creative muses are.  So open ended here.  The reflection on this topic is endless.  And it is incredibly energizing and inspirational in and of itself so really this "contest" if you will, is a win, win, win no matter who the lucky chosen one may be.  Those of you that have read this blog for awhile will not be surprised that this creative musing or musing on creativity is right up my alley.  Creative exploration with kids, inspiration, women inspiring women, creative healing, creativity and running,  journaling and collaging, and on and on and on...  surely a topic that has taken up a huge chunk of my blog hat here at Runninghood.  

Rather than post one. more. long captioned Instagram photo (which is what I've replaced this blog with) on this topic, I decided to blow the dust off my REAL blog and share some overall thoughts or reflections on creativity in no particular order:

  • Creativity is always there but not always awake.
  • Everyone has a creative side to them.  
  • Children are one of our greatest teachers of what it means to unguardedly tap into creativity.  I think this is one of the reasons working with children inspires me so much.  
  • Creative inspiration and inspired ideas almost have a life of their own...Creative inspiration is creativity awakened.  
  • Creative inspiration can consume us.  In a good way.  
  • The initial stages of creative inspiration (for me personally) are maybe the closest I get to feeling almost possessed with ideas... possessed isn't the right brings horror movies to mind.  Inspired.  Spirit.  It's spiritual.  Energizing.  A constant flow of very real ideas that almost seem to project their full potential on a movie screen for me to see...feel... hear...Believe!  Then the work part comes.  The part where I have to take one idea out of the many and truly live with it.   I work for awhile. Then I get scared.  Self doubt, Fear, Someone-has-already-done-it-better, Overhwhelmed, Who am I to think I can.... Yup, all these old friends (even though they aren't any kind of friend I'd want) invite themselves over to hang out.  And they stay awhile.  And more often than not, they convince me to keep myself from freaking making magic happen!  And I know my ideas are good ideas because every time I come back to them after getting those stupid monkeys off my back, I am inspired all over again.  
  • Creative inspiration needs to to be nurtured.  It is worthy of cultivation! This nurturing will lead to a more fulfilled, passionate, purposeful life.  
  • Creativity or Creative Living doesn't mean we create something that makes us famous.  It isn't an impressive publication or degree.  It doesn't boast status.  
  • I've reflected lots on when the creative inspiration or awakening is in my life in the biggest sense.  I want to think more on this.  Lately, it has been during some pretty big changes or life events (moving across the country, surgery for my child...).  I wonder why this is.  I'm making a note to think more here.  
  • NATURE is one of my greatest muses.  When I am in nature (particularly when I'm running in nature), I almost always come back INSPIRED.  After a long trail run, I am filled with renewal, love, energy.  I'm given new perspective.  
  • Henry David Thoreau sums up the truest essence of what creative living means for me:  
It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do.  To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.  Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.  

Which brings me to:
  • Creative living is being a maker of our own life...the way we dream for it to be.  
  • Creative living IS intentional living.  Authentic.  
  • Creative living is not being a passive consumer...waiting around for life to happen TO them. 
  • Creative living involves telling our stories.  In whatever way that means for us.  
  • Creative living is seizing with it...breathing it...saying hello to inspiration and welcoming it into our lives.  
  • Creative living inspires gratitude.  Or is it when we have an abundance of gratitude in our hearts that we are creatively inspired?  What is the relationship/connection between creativity, inspiration, and the spirit of gratitude?  Coming back to this.  
  • Creative living involves actively participating in our dreams and expressing our heart.  
  • Creatively living is healing.  
  • When we let ourselves create or do the work we feel called to do--the work we are passionate about--we thrive. 
  • Creative living is listening to our hearts. 
  • It is passion in action.  
  • Creative inspiration can be be exhausting when we are creating a labor of love.  It can require all those powerful tools that help us accomplish anything worth doing:  dedication, hard work, goal setting, focus, pushing away self doubt and fear and continuing towards the goal.  All the good stuff we learn from training for and running marathons.  :)
  • Creative inspiration can be found in the most unexpected of places. We can have more than one Muse.  
  • Even the most creative people are not always creating or inspired to create. 
In wrapping up all my creative musings, I come back to the above Thoreau quote. It expresses so much of what creative living means to how we can affect the quality of our inspired, awake, intentional, purposeful!  For me, my children are a huge part of this...of this life I've created for myself.  They inspire me and I see magic when I see the world through their eyes.  They are part of the BIG magic picture for sure. They have been my greatest idea.  I dreamed for them long before they were born.

I could keep going for awhile here but I want to go to sleep so I'll stop with the bullets.  I think it is so easy for me to see all the things I haven't done with my life.  It's easy to see all the ways I feel like I've let big ideas die or examples where I feel like I failed or didn't pull through.  I could tally up all the accomplishments or dreams I've let fly off into nowhere.... 


If I stop myself and look at my life from another perspective without that critic in the way, I can also see how much I HAVE created in my life.  I can see huge goals/dreams I've made reality.  I can see all the miracles and big magic moments that ARE.  I can see how creative inspiration has shaped my life all along.  I see a beautiful beautiful life that is exactly the way I would have dreamed for fact, it IS darn close to exactly what I dreamed for myself.  My career, marriage, being a mother to my three children who inspire me daily, the freedom and flexibility to be doing exactly what I'm doing.   I've followed through on many of my ideas and dreams and gone with creative inspiration a plenty.  I've taken from my creations what I've needed at the time and left the rest. Maybe I'll go back to the ideas I've dropped and maybe I won't.  Either way is ok.  Either way, I plan on living my life with inspiration and one where I nurture my creative spirit and find extraordinary in my ordinary.  For me, my BIG Magic is the life I am living right. this. second. It's my ability to "affect the quality of the day"...for myself and my family.