unfolding into JOY

 
 
Creating Creativity — and why it matters

Are you creative? Some consider themselves to be so, others do not. I've heard many people say, "I'm not creative," or "I'm not artistic," and what they mean is "I can't draw." They intertwine creativity and artistic skill as displayed by some accepted masters. However, in it's essence, creativity is simply an expression of your true self. It can arise through creating art but it does not need to. There are many other forms of creative expression: writing, dancing, critical thinking, even solving mathematical problems can be creative. Opportunities for creative expression are abundant; think about the joy or struggle of organizing your house. Creative acts are not a matter of how skilled you are at your technique, or even what that technique is. What matters is that you allow yourself the time, space and freedom to experience yourself and to paint, dance, write, decorate, solve math equations, play or sing form the authentic YOU. To allow creativity to arise means to move beyond the patterns and habits we all fall into over time.

Why is creativity important?

When I took a poll on "What is creativity?" one of my facebook friends answered: "The mundane, straightforwards path is often not the easiest one...with creativity, we find new ways to navigate ... which are easier but take a creative approach to discover." I believe that creative expression is not only helping us navigate a path that can be hard but it is an expression of our deepest core. When we allow that core to express itself we feel more at ease — we become more whole, as Jung said. Creativity taps into the depth of who we are; it is an expression of our soul. Creativity helps release tension that accumulates when we cannot truly be ourselves or when we have to perform in a certain way. It restores balance to the psyche and has an important function in keeping emotional health. Creativity is not only the force that allows us to carve out our very own way through life. It is also a central tool for maintaining emotional well-being.

There are innumerable stories of painters and writers who are (or were) haunted by a creative impulse. They have to express their creativity in order to function. Now, this is an extreme example of how creativity will induce balance—and a profound satisfaction. Not everyone is haunted (thankfully!). But all of us can benefit from a safe outlet for expressing what is preoccupying our souls. And I am not just talking about thoughts and emotions (anger, strange fantasies, tremendous love) that don't get to have a voice. Creative expression will also give a voice to things beyond the threshold of the conscious mind, things that we are not aware of. These may or may not rise to consciousness. But as long as we give them a chance to be expressed we prevent unconscious outbursts and keep ourselves in balance. Creative expression is essential for a healthy psyche.

Creativity is a powerful tool.

We can all see and understand that creative expression is important for a child's psychological well-being and maturation. Why do we cut ourselves off from that tool at some point during adolescence and do not apply it to our adult selves? Because we have so little time and so many duties, right? We have to pull ourselves together and live up to the expectations of our families, society and ourselves. Even Jung, who is famous for using mandalas (circular geometric images that have been used in Buddhist and Hindu traditions for ages) to approach his own inner worlds as well as using them in his work with many patients, and who believed that creativity played a major role in communicating with the unconscious, admitted to feeling self-conscious when he first followed a particular creative idea.*

What you can do

Allowing ourselves time for creative play and dispensing judgement around it might be a foreign thought to you too. Take a leap of trust and give creativity a chance. Most likely, you will feel a release right away. To express your soul any medium will work. Start with something simple. Sing a song; make up the words and rhyme them to a favorite tune. Play with a twig in the sand. Arrange some fallen leaves gathered on the sidewalk. Allow your body to move freely in a way that it wants to once a day. Find a different way to get to work or try a new hiking trail. Take crayons or highlighters and get wild. Write a poem or story - even if it's only three sentences long. Or form a collage from images found in magazines.

If that feels silly, daunting or difficult, come participate in one of my creative workshops. I believe in the power of collage because it is a medium that is accessible, inviting and easy to work with, allowing everyone to put together a satisfying piece of self-expression. That's why I offer two modalities of collage workshops: a vision board collage workshop (about 4 times per year) and SoulCollage, as often as once a week. I highly recommend both. If you can, check out SoulCollage which is a practice that helps you stay connected to your inner world and has tremendous benefits. For those who are more contemplatively inclined I will offer a new group in which we will paint and meditate on mandalas. We'll meet on Wednesday nights and start on September 19. And for those who are more verbally oriented I will offer an exciting new group, a combination of story telling and visual expression - coming soon!

collage by Eva Ruland

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*In his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung describes how, at the age 37, in response to a dream, he felt the creative impulse to build houses from stones and mud as he had done as a child.  After battling down the judgement that this was child's play, and not appropriate for a grown man, he ended up creating an entire village. And yet, allowing himself to build this miniature village appears to have been a stepping stone that eventually led to the postulation of one of his central tenets: the idea of the Self (the dynamic, mostly unconscious, psychic center). 

 



 

 


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Eva has been my coach for one and a half years. She has helped (and continues to help) me to become clear and see what I really want and need in my life. With Eva as my coach I have manifested more than I ever expected.
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