For a long time I'd forgotten I was a creative soul. Have you? Unless you're obviously gifted in the arts, chances are you haven't been encouraged much in developing and celebrating your creative capacity.
I really believe that if you're not connected with your innate capacity for creativity, you are leading a smaller, more restricted, less fulfilling life. Because you're not being fully you! This doesn't mean that you have to become a fully actualized artist, or create anything that others would call "great". You just need to let your creative self out to play now and then, in some way. You will feel so much happier and more alive.
Many people think they're not creative—are you one of them? Let's think back for a moment: when you were a child, did you love imaginative play? Did you love to draw, fingerpaint, or make Playdoh masterpieces? What did you love to do? That child is still a part of who you are, and that child surely was creative in some way.
When I was a little girl I loved to make up dance routines and wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer (my parents didn't know I was obsessively watching this show, I was an adult by the time my mother heard about it and by then it was much too late to do anything about it!). I also loved to read and dreamed of writing stories or being a journalist. I loved the crafts that came with the Christmas Season, and still dream of the days I used to get to arrange brightly colored gumdrops on the icing of a big gingerbread house.
When my teachers pronounced that I was "smart", around the time I was ten years old, I discovered that this seemed to have more currency in the world than any creative activities. It wasn't until almost two decades later, when I was drowning in depression during my Emergency Medicine residency and desperate to find a way out, that I remembered my creative dreams of the past.
Here are some fabulous quotes on creativity to get you back in touch with the playful, imaginative you that wants to be let out:
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
In order to create good art, you have to create bad art first. Don't be afraid to be messy, imperfect, and incompetent. Just let yourself play.
Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things.
One of the best skills I've developed in my life (which I still fail at sometimes) is to just do it already. If you're thinking about something too much, chances are you're killing it. Forget what other people might think about your attempts at creativity. Get them out of the room, and out of your head.
Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.
–T. S. Eliot
Much of my work with coaching clients involves talking them through their anxiety. Whenever you're doing anything new, anxiety is virtually certain to accompany you. It's a hallmark of the new, the extraordinary, the brave, the courageous. Anxiety and uncertainty doesn't mean you should stop or run away - it very likely means you're right on track. Outside the comfort zone is where the best creativity typically lives.
The chief enemy of creativity is 'good' sense.
Forget what makes sense, pay more attention to what calls to you. Give airtime to the crazy ideas you have, take them seriously. Don't be too quick to dismiss what to you seems impractical.
For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity.
Don't be afraid to dream, to imagine, to toy with the idea of creating something wonderful. If you make time and space for creative pursuits, you might act a lot less crazy and frustrated and be a lot more peaceful and content (and therefore almost appear "normal").
Let us be about setting high standards for life, love, creativity, and wisdom. If our expectations in these areas are low, we are not likely to experience wellness. Setting high standards makes every day and every decade worth looking forward to.
Write out the highest standards and dreams you can imagine for these areas of your life which Anderson refers to: life, love, creativity and wisdom.
Artistic temperament sometimes seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling.
When you embark on a creative dream, or really anything at all in life that's deeply worthwhile, you're going to battle demons (literally and figuratively; I'm Christian and believe that these exist). There is a fallen angel of destruction that wants to keep you down, to make you distract yourself with addictions and distractions and superficial cares of life, to prevent you from doing what you're here to do.
If you take a tiny step towards your creativity (such as signing up for a class or getting out those paints), it's like a bright angel shows up, takes you by the hand and dances with you along a bright sparkly new path.
You just have to show up.
Dr. Susan Biali, M.D. is a medical doctor, health and wellness expert, life and health coach, professional speaker, flamenco dancer, and author. She is dedicated to helping people get healthy, reduce stress and enjoy more meaningful lives. Dr. Biali is available for keynote presentations, workshops/retreats, media commentary, and private life and health coaching—visit www.susanbiali.com for more details.
Copyright Dr. Susan Biali, M.D. 2013