Creating comes in many forms – creative living, creative problem solving, creating artwork. Creation means to come into being as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes. NOTHING about this YEAR has been ordinary.
Uncertainty makes me uncomfortable and fills me with anxiety. I bet I speak for a lot of you with that statement. Things like pandemics, elections, the economy are a few examples of uncertain outcomes. Uncertainty brings up fear (real or perceived) and fear has many faces which include blame, judgement, and anger.
CREATIVITY REQUIRES IMAGINATION
I create for a living, so I am well acquainted with uncertain outcomes. Each time I approach my art using new mediums, tools, or techniques, I’m in uncharted territory which can be scary. When I’m anxious sometimes, I do one of two things – blame (these damn art supplies aren’t cooperating), or avoid (hmm, what’s in the fridge?, maybe I need a nap, but the windows need washing). When I get stuck in blame it means I’m not taking responsibility, and I do NOT want to be helpless. Avoiding . . . well that only prolongs the anxiety, and I cannot create in a state of anxiety because I need my imagination for SOLVING problems, not creating them.
FREE MY MIND
If art has taught me anything, it is HOW TO SEE. Did you ever get “in your head” and you miss what is happening around you in that moment? I do it when I’m driving sometimes or when I’m not paying attention to what someone is telling me because I’m either already thinking of my response or distracting myself with other thoughts. Creating requires my FULL ATTENTION so I need to free my head of distracting thoughts and BE IN THE MOMENT as often as possible. A good time to practice this skill (and it is a skill that requires practice) is when I’m listening to someone I disagree with. Chances are great that you share this challenge – especially if you live with someone. I love when people are agreeable, but when we see things differently it’s even more important I pay attention and ASK QUESTIONS.
CURIOSITY SEEKS SOLUTIONS
CURIOSITY is a friend of imagination which leads to problem solving. So, when I’m puzzled, I work at staying open and curious. If I’m curious, I am seeking to understand. Art has taught me to be curious. If a problem arises in my world I can choose to blame or avoid, but if I remain present, open, and curious I have a better shot at solving it. Stubbornness, close-mindedness, and yelling never led me to a solution. Staying curious has helped me learn, and I value knowledge and education.
PERSEVERANCE SOLVES PROBLEMS
In addition to teaching me how to see and stay open and curious, art has also taught me perseverance. If something doesn’t work the first go-around, then I come back to it time and time again to “get it right.” Yet, right does not mean perfect. As Voltaire said, “The best is the enemy of good.” While I persevere to improve and get better, I know perfection is an impossible goal.
Intuitively, I see a larger plan at work here. Problems get our attention. They are labeled as problems because we do not yet have a solution. Our imagination inspires new ways of doing things and helps us to evolve. By clearing our heads and paying attention to the whispers of our minds and by spending time imagining what we want our life to become, this world will be a better place for all of us. I know it won’t happen overnight. We must also persevere. What is your image of our future? I’m open to change.