They say life is for living. For some of us, to live is to create. To create is to flourish. And to ignore our creativity is perilous.
I know. I learned that the hard way, from experience.
But experience taught me that every time I squashed my creative urges in the name of doubt, or priorities, or practicalities (gotta love that one), I was merely grinding an old ax …
- an old ax shaped by early life impressions: perfection = acceptance; mediocrity = not good enough; don’t waste time on frivolity; focus on the things you do well.
- an old ax constructed from the raw materials of discouragement: like the art teacher’s allocated A for effort but C for ability; a B is not perfection; so what if it’s fun; subject dropped.
- an old ax sharpened by sparks of disillusionment: when the record’s caught in a groove repeating ‘can’t draw a straight line to bless yourself’; oh right, that’s old technology. Now a computer can draw a straight line for you—if you can figure out how.
- an old ax wielded to decapitate possibility the moment it dares lift its head: ‘What? Me become an English teacher? You’re kidding right? Sure, English was my favourite subject, but my lowest mark! Nope, God needs secretaries too!
- an old ax weighted and balanced for practicality and function: let’s face it, wood won’t chop itself, shop for groceries, pay the bills, load itself into the oven and prepare the dinner for cooking; artists and writers need a real job.
But guess what? I chose to retire that old ax. Permanently. BETTER LATE THAN NEVER! I decided I would no longer allow my creative inclinations to languish upon the chopping block of inadequacy or practical excuses.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve spent a lifetime being practical, working to help pay the bills, raising, home-schooling, and releasing three wonderful adult children into the world.
I learned to flourish through creative motherhood, explored creativity though music and drama, became a mature-age student, graduated with a degree in Creative Writing and now, as an Educational Consultant and Tutor, I encourage young people to develop their own academic and creative writing skills.
Once I discovered drawing Apps for iPad, I could have fun with art. So what if my artistic efforts weren’t (and aren’t) perfect? Or practical? I choose to grant them a place on my current list of priorities. Why? Because, like the other creative things I do, my artistic doodles keep me flourishing.
How about you? What encourages you to flourish?
(This post was originally published August 26, 2016)