Creativity Runs In The Human Family

Reminders about why we do what we do (with some pointers)
Photo Credits: Vintage shots of Andy Warhol with his famous ‘Silver Clouds,’ a 1966 exhibit
June 13, 2024

Here I am, to say again (the obvious but sometimes not so obvious): we’re here to be creative. We forget it, but CREATIVITY is our way of giving back to Life for giving us Life! To be artistic is to be creative but to be creative doesn’t necessarily mean to be artistic, as many assume. Creativity has so many faces. To me, every beautiful, pure, good way in which we express our being is our creative force, whether it’s through cooking, dressing, speaking, writing, caring for, producing, serving, communicating, managing, parenting, teaching, or simply loving… it really comes down to our own personal flair and the special techniques and presence we give to our activities. When we become more conscious and intentional in all the ways we can be creative, we proportionally invite love and order, joy and exploration into our lives.

 

GET DOWN WHAT BUBBLES UP 

Creativity may begin with an idea, but its fruition happens with getting something down or out. Also, the moment there is a sense that we are trying, we are giving up the very joy and curiosity and play of the process, and immediately giving way to strife and strain. Striving involves being too set on the result. When we stop gnawing on our “result card” bone and just concentrate on getting something down, whether it’s a shitty rough draft or gathering some cooking ingredients together or putting on a pair of pants to begin the dressing process… whatever the action may be, the action is enough to take over. When an artist begins with a plan, the plan usually never wins over the creation’s and medium’s own plan and dynamic. The openness of a dancer’s body to the music is what creates the dance, not the plan in the dancer’s head. We are channels more than we are commanders of our own human expression. The key to keep in mind is to be OPEN and CURIOUS.

 

MASTER BEING A LOSER

In being OPEN, we are also TRUSTING. To be inspired, and be our best expressive selves, we need to trust ourselves and Life. That means embracing the idea that even tasks done imperfectly have value in broadening our possibilities. This also means being comfortable with mistakes and with losses (which are never failures). Every one of us—as with every artist—must become not only comfortable but masters of losing—losing hope, reputation, money, self-belief. Loss offers us valuable perspective. Loss offers us empathy, you know, that fundamental human thread that connects us all, right?

 

ISN’T IT IRONIC? 

We gain when we lose. Such is the paradox of Life, and Creativity. We can use loss as our handy tool. To give us impetus and better knowledge for the next attempt or project. We just need to ask what our loss is teaching us. As far as I’m concerned, THERE IS ALWAYS A SILVER LINING. 

 

WORK BEGETS WORK

Putting something down begets realization. Small actions—baby steps—beget greater movements in our creative lives. Poet Theodore Roethke wisely wrote: 

We learn by going

Where we have to go.

 

FEAR’S A BITCH (not Life)

A self-induced or pressured need to be great, visionary, and creative makes it hard for us to be great, visionary and creative. The need carries too much weight for our creative juices to flow with ease. Why?? Well it’s that terrible thing called “Fear.” In Frozen, the clairvoyant so wisely tells Elsa  that Fear will be her only enemy. Fear may be what blocks us, but it can also fuel us. And sadly but fundamentally, our greatest challenge as humans is our fear of not being good enough

Ah but the remedy for Fear, you ask? Well it seems there is only one: LOVE. Yes, simple powerful Love itself, in all its shapes, forms and expressions.

Reminds me of one of my daughter’s favorite songs, Too Much Heaven by the Bee Gees… but I digress.

 

OPEN THE BOX 

So once we let our fears slide, what else then aligns or misaligns with our creativity? Well, Creativity doesn’t like closed boxes. It works great with certain parameters, but porous parameters. Because of its very essence, Creativity shuns containment and rules. It needs to float. Freely. Warhol let his fears and his creativity go afloat. As you can see.

 

BE ENTHUSED, DON’T BE DEFUSED

Furthermore, and something else we may not immediately realize, is that enthusiasm is infinitely more important than discipline when it comes to expressing ourselves creatively. Surrendering to the process, in joy, is a sort of spiritual experience. When we need external or Higher help, we can be humble to ask for it. And help always comes! I might also suggest being very specific about the kind of help we ask for. Our egos crave all the credit. But the point is, not accolades, but the creation and creativity itself. The point is the fun, the mystery, the not knowing, and the exploration. The fun ends once we reach the end.

 

POOR LITTLE EGO

Our ego also insists that our work, and our ideas, are original. What it doesn’t realize is that nothing comes from nothing. Our work is, just as we are, shaped and formed by other works and people and things. A beautiful melange of influences! As they say, no man is an island and no creative work is a continent unto itself; but NO, our poor little egos don’t like it. What IS or CAN BE original is the melange. The way we combine these influences: the how, not the what. 

Another “problemon” (big problem in Spanish) with the ego is that it craves instant gratification and the immediate security of success (in the form of money and/or recognition). “I WANT IT NOW!” says our Veronica Salt ego. But really what it wants is approval from others. The feeling of being good enough. Oh Bygolly, that Fear again. And that’s where FREE LOVE comes in. That love you can give yourself (as you would your own child!) and that love and trust that comes from a greater higher power. All we have to do is suit up and show up. And trust. And enjoy. And play. And let go and smile. And keep moving. To no end, even when we’re 99 going on 100 years of age. The Universe has got our back and will conspire WITH US. The Cosmos WANTS us to be our best. So let’s show It. 

 

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.

Albert Einstein

 

Why should we all use our creative power? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold, and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.

Brenda Ueland

 

The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.

Piet Mondrian

 

Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.

Eugene Delacroix

 

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.

Carl Jung

 

The function of the creative artist consists of making laws, not in following laws already made.

Ferruccio Busoni

 

You don’t have anything to give that you don’t have, so you have to keep your own self full.

Oprah

 

The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.

Francis Bacon

 

As an artist, it is central to be unsatisfied! This isn’t greed, though it might be appetite.

Lawrence Calcagno

 

Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.

Edgar Degas

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