Michele and Robert Root-Bernstein

Imagine That!


Creative resolutions involve recreation not wreckreation.

Posted Dec 31, 2009

Andy Mangold, creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

A New Year's Resolution

Source: Andy Mangold, creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

It's New Year's, time to pitch unrewarding habits and catch on to new, soul-satisfying behaviors. But how to choose what to toss and what to try? When it comes to the promising hobby or two, it pays to know the difference between wreakreation and recreation.

We take Sir Frederick Banting, M. D., for our guide. Banting is best known to the world as the man who discovered insulin in 1921. But in Canada, where he lived and worked, Banting is also known as one of the nation's most prominent painters. In fact, he was nearly at the point of retiring from medical research to paint full-time, when he undertook a war-time mission for the Canadian government and died in a plane crash. Both science and art lost a hero that day. Science, because of the life-saving drug that makes it possible for millions of diabetics to live a full life with their disease; art, because of Banting's testament to the personal value of aesthetic practice.

portrait of BantingUp until his death at the age of 49, Banting's science and his art coexisted in a healthy give-and-take. While medical research required dogged work (as any history of the discovery of insulin will attest), painting offered the replenishments of play. Banting identified painting as "recreation," explaining that while some people relaxed through activities that made them "wreckreated," others undertook projects that "recreated" them. Creating a painting was Banting's "recreation" and "re-creation." Filling his mind with the beauty of nature, and creating the means to re-create what he experienced, provided the inspiration and resolution to forge ahead with defeating diabetes.

Banting painting, village sceneBanting knew what we all discover sooner or later - that everyone needs to recharge their mental batteries. Creative people know that there is nothing like recreations to recreate the creative charge. Make things and make them your own, whether paintings or quilts or songs or poems or birdhouses. Avoid what wrecks you and resolve to "recreate" yourself through recreation!

(c) Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein

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