For most of my life, I have been invested in creativity. My mother often told the story of me performing at a year old. I went on to take ballet in kindergarten and starred in my first play in second grade. By middle school, I had chosen theatre as my elective and went on to study it as the focus for my undergrad degree. I spent nearly twenty years teaching drama, art, music, and creativity workshops for children and adults alike. Creativity was built into my day.
But a lot of that has changed. I have left the Arts field and migrated….willingly….to the field of counseling. But there is a little saying I hear often in the South. You can take the girl outta the country, but you can’t take the country outta the girl. Well, the same holds true for creativity. I may be outta the arts field, but I will always be a Creative.
When I worked in the arts, my life had a rhythm. It often mirrored the rhythm of the school year, which is designed to mirror the cycle of the seasons. And so my creative life ebbed and flowed. I had projects that correlated with each season and built-in breaks. I expected dips in my creativity and wild, pulsing self-expression as well.
But having stepped out of the arts arena, I am witnessing the cycle of creativity as if through new eyes. Even though I actively use creativity in my counseling practice, somehow it is quite different than spending my days in front of an audience or feeling the rush of witnessing a team of kiddos collaborate on a mural with me. I am on unchartered ground.
Some things are the same. I still create, but I am not bound by anyone’s expectation of what I will create for or with others. This is MY show now. I feel the drive to create swell and push me towards the expression of what is within. Then, I reach out and dive into the inspiration, begging it to pour out of me. On the other side, I see myself or some part of my world reflected in what was created.
See there in that line, the way it twists and rests at the edge of the open space on the page? That is an expression of my vulnerability. And here, where this color reaches out to meet that word, this is how I experience relationship. Look up to this layer of mist in the room that beckons my hand to dance through it and then around it. That is the mist-ery of life and my curiosity about it.
And once explored, my expression has a life of its own. It can take on another’s story or mirror some aspect of humanity that I never anticipated.
But somewhere in the run of creating and witnessing what I have created, my energy changes. I can become spent. The pull to create more can be layered on top of the spirit’s need for rest, so that Should wrestles with Can’t and Won’t.
This is one place where my experience of the cycle of creativity is heightened. Can’t and Won’t didn’t have to wrestle with Should in the past because a natural break was built into the cycle. Should was not a factor. But now there is no designated space for a break. So I am left wondering what has happened when the drive runs out.
The other place where I am more mindful of the cycle is in the way Creativity rises up again after Can’t and Won’t have rested. Ideas start to brew. Images and metaphor form. And suddenly I am over-come with a passion for giving life to my imaginings. Here I go! It’s exhilarating.
I have been a year without the rhythmic guidance of my arts-for-others career. Which means that this year has been MINE to create. The journey itself is collaborating with Creativity. And as 2011 inches along, I intend to play the witness to Creativity’s dance, mindfully following her where she leads me, and honoring her cadence as if it were the elixir of life…..because for me, it is.
As LUCK would have it, the Universe brought me a gift just minutes after writing this post. An affirmation. A celebration. Deep sychronicity. I offer my gratitude for Jamie Ridler for forwarding this video. I hope you will find it as moving and inspiring as I do!