Marianne Williamson once said that it is not so much a question of whether we each possess a gift but our ability to express it. We each have an offering as unique as a thumbprint, but some get brought to the table and some do not. Some remain as feint and amorphous as a dream and some become life itself.
We are conditioned to have a resource-led mindset to ‘survive’. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in short, asserts that the basics – food, shelter, financial security – need to be met before others such as love, belonging, purpose, fulfilment can be even acknowledged let alone realised. And yet, even when these basic needs are met, we tend to view the natural creative impulse as a therapeutic pastime, something to tinker with once our ‘survival’ has been taken care of rather than the essential element to meet our needs.
Creativity goes beyond works of art. Creativity is expressed in everyday tasks; making a home, creating a meal, approaching a problem, communicating to others. The definition of creativity is “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something". Unless you are imitating you are creating from your unique impulse, to be applied to anything and everything. And like anything, it is strengthened with practice. In the same way an under-used muscle can atrophy, so too can our creative spirit if not shared.
Past our primary education years, we overlook the critical LIFE-GIVING role that creativity plays in our lives, to be the architect of our own life experiences rather over external forces. Children use their imagination - there are no self-imposed boundaries to their desires. Naturally, as we get older, life (and education) teaches us new lessons. The creative impulse is devalued in favour of academia being a safer route to survival. Ingrained is an insidious, divisive understanding that creating is expressive, 'fanciful' even, where education is knowledge-building. A what point do we stop learning through creativity? As Robert Fritz states; "If you want to learn about yourself, create something".
What gradually starts to take root is the notion that a creative path is unstable, uncertain and lacks security. We are guided into more reliable professions where the lean is on productivity with a clear input/output equation. Any notion of “good” creativity is, therefore, collectively endorsed by stamping a value on the finished output.
But we forget that creativity IS abundance. We fail to recognise the direct line from creativity to REALISING resources. We do a disservice to our innate human potential.
We aren’t schooled to explore infinite possibility. We divert our attention away from our natural ability to conceive and to create, which is within all of us. We work against nature, not with it. Instead we operate within known boundaries, increasing years in education for recognised credentials as potent originality slowly dies. As Sir Ken Robinson so eloquently says, "Education strips the mind for commodities". Yet originality is what employers cry for competitive advantage and effectiveness. It seems originality is good for problem-solving, as long as its in an acceptable, reliable, predictable container.
Creativity is a fire to be stoked. It's not possible to think and act anew if we don’t apply our personal creativity daily. It's clearly not just a 'nice to have'.
For a progressive, healthy and abundant society, we have to continually flex our individual creativity. Value our energy over our time. It is not simply a tack-on to tasks, delivered in bursts for getting us out of the soup. It is an essential skill to be developed for the very abundance of resources we seek.