I was mulling over the idea of creativity, how it manifests in so many ways, and how leaving it unexpressed can feel as frustrating as going without eating when someone has just pulled a pan of brownies out of the oven.
There have been times in my life where I was long on experience and short on expression, and I found myself increasingly antsy, to the point of tears at times. I remember coming across a piano and spending half an hour playing it even though the keys were out of tune, and even though I don't play the piano, just because I needed an outlet and hadn't found a good one.
Something I often say around here is, "We are not destructive people, we are creative people." I dare say that we ALL are creative people, even those of us who pride ourselves on math skills and claim not to have a creative bone in our bodies. Creativity has many faces, and one of them is yours whether you know it or not.
You have to keep in mind that creation is not limited to 'the arts'. I'd say any form of production that engages the mind or heart is also creation. Mindlessly plugging numbers into a graph isn't creation, but putting together a spreadsheet could very well be, just as clipping together pieces in a factory is mindless earning, but building a machine or structure almost certainly involves creative thinking. In the same way, hoeing rows is probably not creative, but planning and caring for a garden is creativity at its best.
I've dabbled in drawing, painting, various crafts, cooking, gardening, and parenting, and all have proven to be functional releases for me, but so far at least, nothing has compared to writing. More specifically, writing books. Blogging is fun, and occasionally even challenging, but writing a 200,000 word novel and making it 'work' is exactly what my little brain needs to keep it healthy and happy.
But why do we feel this need to produce, to create? And why do we intuitively know that when someone becomes a destroyer through killing, bombing, sabotaging relationships or reputations, throwing bottles out the window, or whatever it may be, that there is something wrong with them? That they didn't make a mistake, but they're fundamentally messed up?
It's because we're here to make the world a better place, not to ruin it. It's in our very nature.
Now, I rarely write directly about spiritual ideas on this blog, but in this case I can't even see a way around it. Those who reject spirituality will disagree, of course, but I firmly believe that all creativity is a form of spirituality, even if sometimes it may be misused or misguided. I believe that we have been blessed with a small portion of the Creator's spark, and that when we create we are doing a vital part of what we were made to do. When that spark is smothered, for whatever reason, we feel the same frustration of a cat that can't hunt, a horse that can't run, a bird that can't sing. Because it's who we are. When we destroy, whether it be violence or a hurtful word, we're acting out of a wrongness, a wrongness that not only hurts others, but further destroys our potential for peace with ourselves and the world around us.
Sometimes being creative can be scary. After all, creativity only counts if it's an addition to the world, and that means that someone or something must in some way be impacted by it. This leaves us open to potential criticism or 'failure'. But please don't let that stop you. Find your best avenues for creativity. Pursue them actively and with the knowledge that it won't be easy, but that it's your obligation--your calling.
I'm interested to learn how you create, whether it be in a traditionally recognized way or otherwise. Please share in the comments.