Our May 2018 theme is Creativity.
Creativity is our ability to dream things up and make them happen.
— Peggy Taylor
We’re all familiar with that part of the quote about dreaming. Conjuring up new ideas and images is what creativity is all about. Using the building blocks of “what is,” we -almost magically- make the “not yet” appear in our minds.
But what about that other part? The part about “making them happen.” When we talk about creativity, that half of the equation often gets short shrift. We celebrate the fun piece about dreaming and leave off the hard piece of making our imaginings real. And it’s not just the hard part; it’s the scary part too. You have to be brave to try new things and fail. Being creative and unique can cause the crowd to cheer and swoon; it can also lead to being laughed at and excluded from the group. Yes, there is joy, beauty and play in creativity, but there is also insecurity, loneliness, and self-doubt. Which means that this month is not just about imagination, artistry, and self-expression, but also courage.
Once that’s in view, it’s clear that we also need to talk about “co-creativity” this month as well. Something as daring as creativity is dangerous if we try to do it alone. Indeed, where did we get the silly idea that artists and inventors are isolated, independent geniuses? When it comes to myths about creativity, that one tops the list. We need to remind each other that there is no such thing as a “person of creativity,” only “people of creativity.” The Bible talks of the Holy Spirit appearing when “two or more are gathered.” The same rule applies to the creative spirit! For instance, new ideas come from the clash of debate. New art emerges only after inspiration from those who’ve gone before. Better forms of community are built on the back of those who have toiled and sacrificed long before we put ourselves on the line. Simply put, there are no creators without companions.
It’s all a way of reminding us that the secret to creative self-expression is staying connected to each other. Those sacred sources of inspiration inside us – our imagination, unique voice and inner muses – are like wild animals; they are hungry to run free but are also shy and easily scared away. They want to come out and play but will only do so when coaxed and cared for by the inspiration and support of others. So, in the end, maybe the most important question this month is not just “What do you want to create?” but also “Who are your partners?”
With gratitude for all our sources of creativity – those within us and those all around us – let us begin.
Excerpt from the Soul Matters curriculum.