A friend once told me that she was not creative. I remember the moment clearly, because I did a double take and started to try to convince her of her error in perception immediately. How could she believe that about herself? And recently, with a client, I had some ‘soul collage cards’ that I had made that we were using in a session. This person drifted away in thought for a moment and when I asked him where he had gone, he said that he was thinking ‘I should be more creative.’ This particular person is highly creative and is also in the process of rebuilding his identity and re-wiring himself, which is perhaps the most creative act, any human can do. But he wasn’t recognizing this. Instead he was seeing that he wasn’t ‘making’ something tangible, like my cards.
There is a common error in thinking that if we cannot render – meaning draw something ‘realistically,’ like drawing an apple, to look like an apple – that we are then not creative. Or that if we are not making an object that exists in the external world that we are not creating. I can only say ‘wow.’ Who misled you? Who told you that you aren’t creative? Don’t you know who you are and what is possible?
Life is creative and creativity. Creativity is how bacteria adapt to antibiotics. It is how sea animals evolved into land animals. It is how somebody came up with the idea of sending a man to the moon and how Einstein imagined E=mc². We are being creative when we explore new attitudes or new ways of thinking or behaving. Creativity is how we engage with our world so that we can adapt, make sense of, improve ourselves etc. It is much bigger than being able to draw or make a piece of art.
We grow our lives. We do this with our attitudes and perceptions. We use our minds to transform our beings. For me, this may be the most creative act possible. We look at what we have chosen to believe. And we get to see the results of our creativity and then make another choice, have another outcome. For example, as a species, we believed that we could ‘use’ the earth and all would be okay. We have found out differently. As we explore other beliefs, for example the belief that we are part of the earth and both her caretaker as well as being supported by her, our actions change, and the outcome changes. Or for example, if I am in a difficult relationship and I believe that I don’t deserve more, then things probably won’t get better. But if I choose to believe that I do deserve more, that relationship will undoubtedly change or end.
We grow our lives. Using our beliefs and attitudes, as well as using or cultivating qualities such as patience, persistence, courage, wisdom, joy etc., we take where we are, and build a future that has the potential to be different.
This concept can be a bit tricky. Do you tell yourself that you are ‘bad” because of how your life is? Like it is 100% up to you? That creative act probably isn’t going to work for you in the long run. Nor is the creative act of telling yourself that none of it is your fault, that somebody else messed things up for you. (Of course if you are in that category, you may not have any idea that you are creating your life.) Luckily, if you want, you can look at yourself (another highly creative act) and find a new belief.
Some of us grew up in households where we survived by trusting only ourselves. We may not trust life. If something happens that we don’t like, or are disappointed by, we may make it our fault. We forget that life is bigger than us – a web of interaction. This is a paradox that we must hold. We are both the creators of our own lives yet we are not 100% in charge. For example, if you are trying to get a job, you can do your best, but ultimately, the person looking through the stack of resumes has to say to him or herself, “I like that one.” That is not your decision and not in your power.
Our control resides in our attitudes and perceptions. Regardless of how we were raised, we can revise our beliefs or our attitudes. So when I don’t get that job, do I say, “Why does this always happen to me? What’s wrong with me? Or how long do I have to deal with this shit?” Either way, our attitude is off. Our use of our creativity is not serving our own empowerment.
How do we not take disappointment personally? If you looked at yourself as a little kid cleaning their room, would you want to say, “I hate this, I always have to clean my room” (not very empowering). Or “This won’t take that long and its not that bad and this is just what kids have to do.” Can you hear the difference in self-support?
People, who hold more positive and self-supportive attitudes, tend to have doors open for them more quickly. They are the ones who find the parking space right in front of the store when nobody else can find one. How does that happen? Read or Google Masaru Emoto’s book, ‘Messages from Water,’ if you want to see the physical response of matter to thought.
Our attitudes impact our world. This also applies to our relationships. What are you doing in your relationship that doesn’t work? Hiding? Controlling? Assuming? How we treat others and our selves is paramount. It is part of what makes up the fabric of who we are and our lives. Are you treating yourself with an open heart? Your partner? Your friends? If not, what are you doing instead, and why? Our histories have a lot to do with how we act in the present. If you start unraveling why you do what you do, you will find the answer in looking at how you coped previously with difficult situations. Every ‘issue’ is a strategy to avoid a wound or get a need met.
Exploring wounds and traumas allows us to understand ourselves better and allows us more choices in the present. Instead of being on cruise control, we have more space to make a choice, more room to be creative.
Can you send yourself gratitude instead of dissatisfaction? Can you send your world gratitude instead of dissatisfaction? Can you send your partner gratitude instead of dissatisfaction? This creative act alone will change your life. It doesn’t feel good to be generating criticism.
Sit down and see if you can FEEL gratitude for the many aspects of your life, your pet, friends, the color of the sky, your job, whatever. Put your hand on your heart. Let yourself feel. Gratitude is an uplifting emotion. Remember, you are a creative being and you are growing your life.
For help growing your relationship, check out www.weconcile.com. It will be launched later this year.
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