“Q: What is creativity?
A: The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration.
This month will focus on how we can spark creativity in our lives. As a new year begins, how do we stay curious? By being creative. And I’m not talking about the arts, necessarily. I’m talking about how we keep inspired to show up. What inspires us to be curiously creative in our lives? In our jobs? As adults and as the children we still are at times?
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels – that’s creative living.”
Sparking creativity challenges us to clear our mind and be curious. Curiosity can hold new answers to old questions which scares us sometimes. Beyond the fear is the creativity. Can we keep asking questions to allow us to find our spark?
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”
Sparking creativity allows us to reach higher, further, and longer than we do normally. Creativity does not abide by the rules we place on ourselves and does not live quietly. Even if the volume only increases within us, it is louder, prouder, and resonates clearer. We just need to listen.
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.”
Going outside removes physical limitations. The sky stretches onward and upward. The air is not recycled. The wind swirls, the clouds dance, the rocks lead you ahead. The lack of parameters creates a space for intuition, creativity, and unknown adventure.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
Capturing moments that spark our creativity multiplies that same creative spark. It’s like how a spark leads to a fire – it feeds off the initial brilliance. Our lives are meant to be lived creatively – and whatever that means to you.
“Curiosity is the art of creativity.”
So how do we spark creativity intentionally? How do we be more aware of where creativity lives in our hearts and minds? I think we get curious about everything. The more curious we are the more questions we ask. The more questions we ask the more we have to listen to that which is outside of our own minds. When we are open to interpretations that differ from our own then creativity is curiously sparked.
“And at the end of your days, you can thank creativity for having blessed you with a charmed, interesting, passionate existence.”
I want the creative life I live to be rewarded in the effort and not the jewels. It means that how I feel from day to day does not get to determine whether I succeed. The practice of being inspired, inviting wonder, and sparking creativity are the tokens that I can identify success.
“To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
Fear of being wrong derails the spark of creativity that ignites change. Sometimes I wonder if we really always need to seek change? When is what we are doing okay to stick with it? In our world of constant change, being still often is a change. When we don’t do something differently because we are afraid of making the wrong choice or taking the wrong path is when we let fear decide. There is a difference between that and not changing because what we have in place is providing the creative life we seek.
“The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.”
Creatively contributing to life means we listen to our inner navigational system. It means we quiet down the chatter within to find what we can let shine. We make it challenging. We put rules around what this is and what it isn’t. When we are willing to let go of our control, we will spark the creativity that resides in us all.
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.”
Sometimes our creative spark is in the attempt. We try to draw a picture, write a book, sing a song. We try to plant flowers, cook a new dish, invent a new tool. Creativity lives in the journey to attempt, in the invitation for an idea to spark into life. Why not forge a trail for thousands of miles up the East Coast of America marked with white paint? At one point in time, this was a crazy idea. Today it is called the Appalachian Trail.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
The mindful flow of creativity feels fun and free. When we are in the flow our ability to create, dream, and invite new ideas into our life happens.
“I dwell in possibility.”
Creative living means we quite the rules we place on our imagination. We dream. We imagine possibilities without limits. And then we keep dreaming. All dreams first start as mere possibilities.
“Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act.”
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.”
Imagination fuels inspiration. Unabashed dreaming paves the road to new possibilities. Add a spark of creativity to new possibilities and you have the perfect recipe for adventure.
“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.”
Often the creative process feels like it winds through conflict. The greater the conflict and struggle, the more rewarding the journey.
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.
Mental determination mixed with a creative vision leaves no other path than the one of creative struggle. Once an idea lights that spark, when it is flamed by effort, struggle, time, and attention, it grow into the fire that will continue to fuel creative living.
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.”
If I’m not careful, I can easily let my to do list overwhelm the desire to create. When that happens, it’s like I’m on a repeating loop that feels as if life is one big to-do list of responsibilities. I’m left with a void. If I’m not paying attention and let the loop take over then I fill that void with shopping, eating, or anything else that provides a quick fix. When I do pay attention, creativity drives my life and the void is not even present – even with the same responsibilities – since I am filling that desire to be creative then everything in my life is approached with a spark instead of a chore.
“When learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms. When creativity blossoms, thinking emanates. When thinking emanates, knowledge is fully lit. When knowledge is lit, economy flourishes.
“What keeps life fascinating is the constant creativity of the soul.”
Our souls yearn for a creative outlet in order to express, spark and engage in a bigger purpose than ourselves.
“Love is the only creative, redemptive, transforming power in the universe.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we celebrate MLK day, we honor his radical leadership. He faced injustice with love and hope and paid for it with his life. This day remembers his vision, inspires his hope, and ultimately, challenges us to reflect on how far we have come and how much further we have to go.
“Diversity is a great force towards creativity.”
Variety expands creativity. When we add that which differs, we acknowledge and recognize the contrast of life. Contrast keeps a balanced perspective that aligns beauty and starkness, morning and night, fear and faith. Both extremes have a place and a price.
“The two terrors that discourage creativity and creative living are fear of public opinion and undue reverence for one’s own consistency.”
Living a creative life is one driven by curiosity. The more questions we ask the more we challenge our beliefs. Fear and ego shut down our curiosity. Lucky for us, at any point in time we can start to ask questions once again – allowing the creative life to be a guiding force.
“In all the creative work I have done, what has come first is a problem, a puzzle involving discomfort.”
This quote made me initially disagree. How is being creative uncomfortable? If anything, I think suppressing creativity creates discomfort. Yet the more I think about it, the more I can see both perspectives. To create something from nothing, from merely an idea or a dream, often does feel like solving a puzzle. The struggle can cause discomfort.
“Creativity is just connecting things.”
Connections create meaning. Connections to others, connections to purpose, connections to nature – all give us meaning and add value to our experiences. When we cause that connection we are putting action behind intentions. We are giving an idea life.
“There is no innovation and creativity without failure.”
As we struggle with the constraints we face, with failure we get clarity. We better understand the direction we need to go. Keep going. Keep failing. Keep seeking.
“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”
Share your vision. Share your wildness. The world needs it.
“Unused grief is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgement, sorrow, shame.”
We are either using our creativity to make and express something uniquely ours or we are using it to fuel fear. We are always using it in some manner.
“If you want to express your creativity, then don’t choose a path where someone else tells you what to do and how to do it. Choose a path where creativity is rewarded, not punished.”
I would argue that even when we choose paths that initially promise creativity, we can easily fall into living by rules. Those rules can be power we’ve given another to impose on us or rules we put on ourselves. In either instance, the common ground is us. We are the only one who can change our experience, for better or for worse – to spark more creativity or less. The choice is ours alone.
“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.”
How big can we dream? How wild can we hope? How determined are we to see it through?
“Creativity is just learning to do something with a different perspective.”
What can we look at differently today? Is there a challenge in front of us we can look at as a gift? What if the our next creative moment can only come once we face that challenge?
“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”
Markers serve us in showing us the way. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and visual reminders. They guide us when we are lost and let us know when we are on the right track. Our lives are full of these reminders – these indications we are facing and moving toward our North Star or warnings that we are not.