Creativity is not a superpower.
It isn’t a form of magic that is bestowed upon some and not others; it isn’t an exclusive ability that some have access to and some do not.
It is, at its very core, the basis of what it means to be alive. Creativity is lifeblood. (As Christians, this is part of our story! If the Divine has created us in its own image, then we must have some of this inherent creativity as core to our being!)
One of the greatest gifts of working in schools is that you get to walk with young people as they explore who they are and how they think. They might develop strong opinions about one thing and then believe the absolute opposite the next month. There is a beautiful chaos in this – and there is tremendous possibility.
There is creativity – the capacity to invent and reinvent and explore and shift and change and try and fail and try again.
Some students walk into the classroom believing they are creative by nature – they’ve just “got it.” Others come in, like me, thinking there’s no chance: “I’m not artistic; I don’t do that; I can’t do this.” We come into spaces with the narratives we’ve been handed and those we’ve created for ourselves.
But creativity isn’t a question of “do you have it or not?” As humans, we have a reservoir of creativity inside us at all times; it’s like a spring of water that is always available to us. The question is if we know it’s even there, how often we can tap into it, and what it feels like when we do.
For me, I’ve always been a creative person. I used to take the knobs off doors in my house just so that I could see how they worked. My curiosity created a mess for my parents. When I was in high school, I organized an ill-fated “party trip” across the state so that others would like me and what I could make happen. My inner narrative of not being good enough created a really fun event (until it wasn’t.) To this day, I whistle or hum pretty much all the time. I am creating my very own soundtrack.
The point is: we create in every moment of our lives, from what we put on in the mornings to what we do as we walk out the door. But do we see this as creation? Do we see our breathing as creative? Generative? Birthing something new?
Author and brilliant entrepreneur Seth Godin refers to creativity as a choice, but this is only half-right. Creativity is an inherent part of who we are – in us, with us, as us until the end. The choice is whether or not we choose to see our lives as inherently creative – and decide to lean further into our creative nature.
In her book, Wild Mercy, Mirabai Starr writes,
“Yes, you are worthy of art making. Dispense with the hierarchy in your head that silences your own creative voice . . . It is not only your birthright to create, it is your true nature. The world will be healed when you take up your brush and shake your body and sing your heart out.”
In what ways do you tap into your creativity and sing your heart out?
What are the narratives you carry that stifle that creativity or sense of “being creative?”