“Creativity takes courage. ” – Henri Matisse
Do you spend five minutes a day checking your facebook?
Do you spend five minutes a day living creatively, tending to your goals and dreams, and expressing your most authentic Self?
Our logical, realistic, pragmatic minds have squashed the amount of creativity that we allow ourselves to express on a daily basis. It can feel like desk jobs, families, household tasks, and existing commitments all work to suck us dry, frittering our precious moments away until we have nowhere to fit in the time to “be creative.”
Or maybe we have convinced ourselves that we just aren’t creative to begin with, that our brother or sister was The Artsy One, that being creative means being artistic, and that the need to express our wild and colorful sides is something reserved for others far more interesting, neurotic, passionate or weird than ourselves.
When we trap ourselves into these kinds of thinking, we put a damper on the sparkling part of ourselves that makes us so unique. You don’t need to be naturally talented at painting or writing to appreciate the goofy beginner’s joy that comes with creating your own new recipe, or by turning your day into an extraordinary adventure by going somewhere new just because you feel like it.
There is room in this Universe for everyone’s voice to be radiantly expressed. It is natural, necessary, and joyful to unleash the stories and feelings inside of us, even if we have no interest in becoming professional artists or writers. Whether we channel our efforts into making a computer program or a tea company, a lesson plan or a knitted scarf, a snowman or a farmers’ market, opportunities abound to direct our energy towards something meaningful.
It takes courage to step into our own creative power and decide to live every day in an expressive and authentic way. It takes an upheaval of our stale and deeply-rooted thought patterns to allow ourselves to be creative every single moment of our lives, even in the daily mundane situations that we bumble through.
I believe we have a channel of creativity flowing through us all the time. When we don’t express our true feelings in the course of a conversation, we block that flow. When we unhappily resign ourselves to living a certain way just because social convention says we should, we block that flow.
Lately, I have been working on establishing the courage to follow through on the visionary plans and ideas that crash through my mind. It is easier to damper or ignore those creative impulses than it is to take ownership of them, to aid and abet the muse and commit to the miraculous ways that these seeds of self-expression can transform the trajectory of our lives.
I want to have the courage to write as if I am telling stories to my friends – huddled around a bonfire, weary-eyed in a cheap student apartment, flailing my hand gestures at a coffeeshop to emphasize the intricacies of the exact moment that I’m trying to recreate. I want to have the capacity to write books that my nephews can read when they’re older, books addressed to their budding identities but also to my future Self.
I want to scribble my hand across a page without fear of breaking the people I love, infusing my words with a soft yet vigilant conviction that this is indeed how it all unfolded, in all of life’s brokenness and complexity and joy.
I envision a world where everyone I know decides to express themselves with abandon – without stopping to look up grammar rules online, without giving up hope when someone says their entrepreneurial idea is unrealistic, without self-doubt gnarling its snaky knuckles around the fragile necks of our dreams.
What if we all wrote our office memos with gel pens, admiring the glistening change of color as the words settle into their places? Can you imagine a world with more doodling in the margins, more smiles, more new ideas, and more eclectic small business owners determined to live their dreams and heal the world?
By invoking our commitment to self-expression, our days can become lighter and more meaningful. When we feel empowered to forge our own way in the world, we feel more comfortable in our own skin and more willing to dive into the looming fears that stand in our way. We own our stories and look eagerly ahead to an even more fulfilling future, while embracing the loveliness of the present day.
Next time you find yourself frustrated that you have no time to invest in your creativity, I invite you to turn off your computer and cell phone and notice how much spaciousness this creates in a mere few minutes. Whether you spend this time daydreaming about how to transform your secret sheltered goals into reality, writing down a plan of action, or dusting off your scrapbooking supplies, this time to nurture your playful expressive self is valuable to the transformation of the world. I want to see where this kind of creativity can lead us.