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Creativity

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This world is but a canvas to our imagination.
-Henry David Thoreau
When he was in second grade, one of my sons came home from school and told me that he was no longer in the “special writing group.” I investigated and it turned out that his school had been sifting the children into groups based on the “creativity” of their writing. Is this a common practice these days, separating the creatives from the non-creatives at age seven? I hope not. This, my friends, is how creativity gets murdered. Or maybe not murdered, but scared away, sending it scurrying off to hide in a hole somewhere.

Creativity strikes me as a pretty squishy and subjective word. While we may not always recognize creativity in others, I think we’re pretty good at recognizing it in ourselves. And it feels good, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s a lightbulb moment that allow us to see a problem from a new angle. Maybe it’s an insight that guides us to new and better questions. Maybe it’s a new way of seeing that we want to capture on canvas, on paper, or as notes that we send floating through the air.

From an early age, we get some conflicted messages about creativity.

Be creative, but don’t make waves.

Be creative, but follow directions.

Be creative, but color inside the lines.

It’s no wonder that some of us wake up years or decades later and wonder: Whatever happened to my creativity? Where did I leave that imagination of mine?

But never fear– it is still there, bubbling like a spring under the surface of our busy lives. So let’s be kind to ourselves and each other, okay? And ignore the calls for thicker skin. Let your skin and your heart be tender and soft. But be gentle, as you invite your imagination and your creativity back into your life. Because we need these sparks, these flashes of light, to guide our way.

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