Are You Creative?
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be a newborn baby, to lie there on your back, looking at this marvelous world you’ve just arrived in without knowing where you end and the world begins? Have you thought about how you ever determined that your fingers are yours and that you can learn to pick up things with them? That the fuzzy thing that is next to you in your crib plays a song if you touch it with those fingers? That if you cry (Wow. I can cry whenever I want to), that certain face appears at your cribside to feed you? Part of the answer is that you didn’t have any preconceived notions about what you CAN’T do. Somewhere along the road through childhood and adolescence to adulthood, we seem to acquire a longer list of things we CAN’T do than those we CAN.
It’s my experience that no where is this more true than with regards to creativity. If I had a buck and a half for every time I heard someone say, I can’t draw … I can’t paint … I can’t write … I’d be rich. How many times have you heard someone say, I’m not artistic? To which, by the way, I say bullshit. How about, I’m not creative? Double, maybe even triple, bullshit. We have allowed the word creative to be applied only to certain types of creation, mostly art. And we’ve let artistic be restricted the creation of certain art, art that is somehow good enough to be called art. We’ve let the ability to create become a matter of ego rather than a God-given gift. Just watch an ego-fest like the Golden Globes or Oscars if you doubt that. Somewhere along the line we’ve let certain types of creation be tagged with heartless words like productive or useful and certain kinds of art to be designated crafts, beneath the serious artist. Is the parent who comes up with a way to get through to a child in trouble less creative than someone slapping paints on a canvas? Is a friend finding a way to cheer up a friend less so than someone pretending to do it in a movie? Is a beautiful garden less creative than a painting of one?
Here’s what I believe. We each are born with a spark of the Divine within and our purpose in life is to continue the act of creation in partnership with the Divine. Creativity is as natural to us as breathing. Each of us is creative … and the good things we create come not from us but through us. As Rabbi David Aaron, whose books have led me to these beliefs, might say, The bad things? They’re on us. So, it you answered the title of this post in the negative, go back to your roots, that place you came from as an infant. Forget what you can’t do. I’m no New Age Pollyanna. I’m not saying you can do anything. We each have limitations. I’m not even saying you can do everything well. We each have certain gifts. But you are creative, dammit, and probably more artistic than you know.
Have a creative Sunday.