One of the biggest blocks to creativity once we grow out of childhood is the sense that we can and should be able to have “more control” than we actually do!
Children are generally not afraid to see what crayons can do when moved across a blank page. They may set out to render this or that particular image but seem to delight in the actual process and take pride in the outcome (even if it’s unidentifiable to adults, or, rendered on an off-limits wall rather than on a page).
Past childhood we are much less likely to be curious about the unknown and to enjoy the process, and more likely to be stymied by fear: What if I’m not up to the task, not skilled enough? What if what I create isn’t valued and I am poorly judged?
According to author Elizabeth Gilbert, “creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome”. It doesn’t take much to recognize that, despite our wishes and efforts, those realms are the very landscape of human existence (and, according to Robert Burns’ poem including the line “the best laid plans of mice and men”, also, of certain rodents)!
What I’m intrigued by as we begin to engage with this month’s Soul Matters theme of Creativity is how our various religious creation stories might help or hinder our ability to move through those realms “creatively”, responsive to one another’s needs and to opportunities as they arise.
What were you taught about the stuff of which YOU are made and how that came about? Do you believe you were created from nothing or from something? If the former, what set that creative act into motion? If the latter, what do you imagine to be the various elements that combined to form you, precious and unique, exactly as you are? What are the elements, the raw materials, at your disposal? How might they be employed to the benefit of the present moment or the future? What are you afraid of? Where’s the creative potential?
There is much we don’t know about the past or the future and that can indeed be scary. But over the millennia human creativity and innovation have clearly paved some extraordinarily beautiful paths through life’s most mysterious realms. May we celebrate and be inspired by those paths, as we join together to envision and create new ones!
If you’d welcome an opportunity to share your reflections with me on this topic or connect with resources to help you navigate life’s more challenging landscapes, please reach out to Pastoral Care
In Awe Gratitude,