Every action, choice, decision and mistake has brought me to exactly where I am today.
I've started and stopped hundreds of times.
I've taken many wrong turns.
I've let roadblocks and detours change my course over and over again.
I've been impatient because I want it all and I want it NOW!
I've pushed when I need to step back.
I've panicked when I needed to remain calm.
I've fallen into despair when I needed to focus on gratitude.
I was feeling this frustration long before the Covid 19 became a factor in most of our decisions. I was way too focused on the final outcome and had neglected to appreciate all the new experiences that were happening along the way.
The way I see it is we all have to make a choice. We can wallow in self pity and frustration where we continue to complain about all the bad things happening in our world. Or we can choose a different path.
Each day I try to look with gratitude for the gifts this crazy time is offering me. More time to connect with the people who are important to me. More time to try enjoy things like learning to bake bread, writing, making art or playing my piano. More time to just reflect and be still.
In retrospect this down time has offered me a huge opportunity and lots of inspiration. I've been able to redefine my focus so I can begin again with fresh eyes and a new attitude. And I'm ready to get back to focusing on the core belief that's at the center everything I do and teach.
Creativity is a superpower.
I truly believe that creative thinking is the most powerful tool inside each and every one of us. When we get elbow deep into the creative process it can be a magical experience. And the outcome is so often a surge of new ideas to solve all kinds of problems and challenges. That's because creativity is the key to unlocking the imagination.
Mihaly Scikszentmihalyi has written several books about this very topic. He can be described as a "happiness researcher" and was one of the first to research and write about the creative flow experience. In his book, "Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention" he describes the importance of creativity in our lives:
“Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives for several reasons… First, most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity. We share 98 percent of our genetic makeup with chimpanzees… Without creativity, it would be difficult indeed to distinguish humans from apes.. . . The second reason creativity is so fascinating is that when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.”
When I'm leading a workshop on art techniques I constantly remind my students to enjoy the process of whatever they're doing without being attached to the product. I encourage them to allow creativity and intuition to be their guide. I give them structure and techniques, to help build skills and confidence while inspiring them to enjoy the journey.
And when we step back to reflect on the piece, we don't judge if it's good or bad. Each person has artwork that's as unique as they are. Together we reflect on the experience of the process, discuss the strengths of the piece and celebrate the accomplishment.
Every time I take someone through a workshop or lesson to activate a creative flow experience I feel incredible joy. I can almost see the idea that turns on the imaginary lightbulbs floating above their heads. It's in that moment, when the expression on their faces changes from a frown of concentration to a surprised "Ah - Ha!" That's the moment my heart begins to feel so warm. Because what I'm seeing is a spark of creative delight filled with joy, peace, inspiration and hope.
I'm writing this post for all the other creative minds out there to remember that there are some amazing things to discover on this wild ride of life. We can't predict the future but we can make the present better.
So when you're feeling doubtful and frustrated go do something creative.
Your imagination will help your find new ways to begin again. And you'll be exactly where you're meant to be.