I’ve never thought of myself as a creative person until recently. I come from a strong line of creatives, but only considered those who were talented at traditional art such as drawing and painting to have true creativity. I’d never thought of creativity as meaning ‘to create’. We are all creatives by human nature when you really think about it. If you live, you create. If you have a job, then by some definition you are creative. Some of us might be in jobs where we follow directions, but how you execute them and bring those directions into the world will always have your own unique spin.
Not everyone has a ‘traditional job’ though, which certainly doesn’t exclude you from being creative. Whenever you ‘make’ something such as a meal for yourself or your family, or write something, craft something, draw something, redecorating, reorganising, washing or folding something… Everything you do in your life is some sort of creation or bringing something to fruition, we do this every waking minute, sometimes without even thinking about it. Its part of our human nature.
While talking with my coach last night about how I’ve grown in the past 12 months, she mentioned that she finds women tend to ‘find’ their creativity when they become mothers, that creating a life inside you tends to extend on further and awakens this need inside of us. I can’t yet relate to the full creation of life, but I can certainly relate to the manifestation process and the wanting to. I think the process of wanting and yearning to be a mother has certainly brought about my creative awareness in my life and has turned something on inside of me that I hadn’t previously acknowledged. While I haven’t yet managed to birth an actual life, I have certainly developed the ability to birth many a creative project into my surroundings.
I remember a few years back, my grandmother giving me a sewing machine and overlocker as a present. She’d bought them to give to me when I got married, but according to her it didn’t seem that was going to happen any time soon and she wanted me to get use out of them while I was waiting. While appreciative and flattered, the little kick in the belly certainly didn’t go unnoticed at the time! Her heart was in the right place though, I was in a place of struggle town and she told me that during the hard times of struggle in her life, she always had her sewing, craft and writing to turn to and she wanted the same for me. I have to admit, I still haven’t learned how to use either of them to any level of expertise but can sew to save my life if required! Upon receiving them, they certainly went to good use for some time. I made a couple of really random things, purses, clutches – none of which were worth using in public but were practice none-the-less. I made a couple of tie dye dresses for my sister and her friend who were going to a fancy dress party, they were ok, certainly not masterpieces but a lot of love went into that venture and certainly a lot of laughs.
My biggest creative challenge is that I’m a visionary, but have trouble getting what it looks like in my head out and onto paper or into reality. It can be a little frustrating. I can see so clearly what I want to make or bring to fruition, but for some reason, my hands just don’t quite follow the direction. My dad tells me that all artists feel this way and it just comes with practice. My grandad also says the same about his music, he practices his Tuba everyday. He says its the only way to keep progressing and keep a skill alive. He’s been playing most of his life, so I suppose he’d know…
So, I took a course last year to be a health coach and at the same time employed one of my own to help me get my life together and to learn a little about the process along the way. It started out as business coaching for my blog and to start a business, but my focus shifted elsewhere part way through the year so we switched to health coaching instead to support what was evolving for me personally. One of the big themes in both of these arena’s was the concept of the circle of life. This looks at all the areas of your life and encourages you to give each of them a rating so that you can draw attention to what areas aren’t serving you and need some focus. One of them that kept coming up at the time was the notion of creativity. I just couldn’t relate or think of anything that I was doing that was nourishing my creativity. Or spirituality for that matter.
What I hadn’t considered was that my blog at that point was my creative outlet. Partly the content, but also the way it looked and they way it portrayed my vision aesthetically to the world. It took a long time before I had it in a form that I was happy with, not an uncommon problem for bloggers I might add… It gave me writers block because every time I looked at it, it just wasn’t right and just wasn’t the way I wanted it to present. Having a business coach at the time fixed this problem, she helped me to learn how to change to a different platform where I had more creative input and could make it the way I wanted it, not just to the way the platform I was using allowed. This was probably when I first started to see myself as needing a creative outlet, but it was my only creative outlet that I was acknowledging.
I’ve always been a kitchen lover. I love being in there, cooking, cleaning – yes, not even lying – making things just so, decorating, re-organising, cooking some more, eating etc. Its always been a place where I am at peace. I love cooking for other people and watching them enjoy what I’ve created for them. Funny thing, discovering my introverted side was partly while thinking about my entertaining adventures and how I go about it. I love having people over for dinner, I love cooking for them and sitting down and enjoying the meal together, but my enjoyment comes from watching everyone else together from behind the kitchen bench, watching them interact and socialise and enjoy what they’re eating and drinking and how it all brings them together. Thats the part I enjoy, not so much the participating part, the observation of them all together and happy for that brief time. I think I’m a social observer rather that the one who wants to be in amongst it. I think I learn the most about people and life from observing really, not so much doing and being involved. The kind of learning that you evaluate and choose whether or not to incorporate certain things into your own life. I’m a processor, a deep thinker and the sort of person that needs lots of quality time alone to take life in and put the pieces of the puzzle together. Again I suppose, creating the picture of how I perceive the world to be from my own eyes, from my own experience and how I feel it to be.
So, how did I find my creative bone? Having a coach this past 14 months certainly helped, but there is one poignant moment in time where it all fell into place. The pictures that I had been seeing finally made their way out of my head and onto the paper. I had some relatively minor but painful surgery mid last year that left me a little mobility challenged for a week or so and forced me to have more time off work than what my guilt muscle usually allowed. I was really struggling with feeling like I’d let the world down, a bit like it was going to turn a little slower for not having me pull my weight… But more that I know the anguish that extended sick leave causes when you have a roster to fill and I was letting the team down. Mind you, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time filling shifts gladly for other people to allow them to be sick and take care of themselves so truly, it was actually my turn to focus on my own health for once.
So, back to being stuck. I was stuck at home, couldn’t drive, sometimes couldn’t even sit up for very long and was generally miserable. The pain relief didn’t help the pain but knocked me out and made me constipated and feeling worse rather than better. Made me realise I’d be in a fair pickle if I ever had something seriously wrong! After a couple of days of lying in bed watching movies and episodes of who knows what rubbish on my laptop, I made it to the kitchen table. I’d had some enjoyment and catharsis from colouring mandala’s during an e-course that I’d done the previous year.
I’m not sure where the inspiration came from this time, perhaps it had been suggested, but I pulled out my pencils and markers and printed off some colouring sheets from the internet and started colouring them in. Much to my surprise, I realised after a few hours that I was completely at ease, the anxiety had diminished and my pain was improving. Purely due to distraction and focussing on something other than what was happening internally.
I recall learning about the gate theory of pain at uni when I was studying nursing. It kind of made sense, in a nutshell things like massage help with pain because they are stimulating different nerve endings and interrupting the pain signals back to the brain, allowing relief (in brief…). I think the colouring was essentially the same thing. It required focus and got me thinking about colour theory, shading, pencil grip, blending etc. A far cry from being stuck in my body and feeling nothing but pain and guilt. It worked. So well that I even introduced it to one of my patients who struggles with anxiety and she is still doing it to this day and loves to show me what she’s been up to in her book. She’s even started her own collection!
This whole colouring in phenomenon has taken the world by storm, mainly women from what I’ve seen, but it is working on some level to help all of us reconnect with ourselves and with our true nature. It allows us to shut off from the world around us in a different kind of meditation. I think what it gives each of us is different, but also much the same. A sense of inner peace and creative expression. No one has to be a talented artist to colour in. There is no pressure, you don’t need to stay within the lines, you don’t even have to match up the colours. It is there for you when you need it. It is what spurred me on to take my arty farty side further and develop some true creative expression, all of my own. Instagram introduced me to different artists and different mediums and helped me start my collection of markers. Some more expensive than others! Since then, I’ve moved onto water colour, acrylic paints, gouache and my next creative venture is learning how to do calligraphy and brush lettering with pens and paints.
All of this is what led to my Aquash water pens arriving in the mail today, this very moment in time. I’ve watched countless youtube video’s of how to use them and the beauty that can be created with them that now it is my turn to add them to my repertoire and have a go. I am by no means a creative genius, but accessing this part of my soul is so nourishing and makes me feel at peace but also alive that I don’t know how I lived without it for so long. Some turn to drugs, alcohol or food for inner peace, I turn to creativity. I can only hope that others find the same kind of peace in their lives by tapping into what makes them feel creative and soul nourished.
So, what kinds of things do I do in my life to be creative? I’m a gardener, a writer, a part time blogger, a coach, a painter, a drawer and colourer, a cook, a home maker, a wife – yes there are certain creative aspects to this role necessary!, a visionary, a musician, an amateur photographer and many other things that I had never acknowledged as being important before. Believe it or not, it takes a certain level of creativity to be a nurse too, but I’m leaving that kind of creativity in the career box for now so that I can concentrate on some balance outside the workplace.
What do you do to feel creative or what have you been doing that is creative but you didn’t realise? Have you used creativity for rehabilitation or pain control before? Leave me a note in the comments, I’d love to hear from you x