Quickly! Without thinking, tell me: are you a creative person?
What was your instinctive, gut-level, split-second response? I’m guessing many of you responded with a firm “no” and maybe a little snicker or an eye roll, right? With all due respect, I believe you’re wrong and I’d like to show you why. Please stay with me because this is incredibly important.
What Does “Creative” Really Mean?
When you hear the word “creative” who or what who comes to mind? Painters? Sculptors? Poets? Maybe gourmet cooks or actors? A piece of artwork? Without a doubt, these artists and their works are all creative. But is creativity limited to the arts or should we look at it more broadly to appreciate its full scope and power?
I googled “creative” and the definition provided supports the prevailing narrow view of creativity. “Relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of artistic work.” Two years ago, I would have been completely satisfied with this definition. But not anymore.
Why? Language matters. Words help shape our worlds and our self concept. They can open doors or slam them shut. Give us freedom or entrap us. Open up opportunities or hold us back. They can inspire or discourage, empower or limit us. We become what we believe ourselves to be. The way we choose to describe ourselves and our capabilities can powerfully shape how we – and others – understand our potential. Some words are more potent than others and “creative” is one of them.
If you embrace your creative power, if you really own it, it can be life changing.
What Do You Create?
So what do you create? Humor me please, and grab a writing implement and your journal or a piece of paper. We’re going to do a quick brainstorm together. Let’s plan to spend at least five minutes, making a list of everything we can think of that we’ve ever created. Don’t filter your list, include everything that comes to mind even if it seems silly. We want as comprehensive a list as possible.
- Sleepless nights for your parents.
- Crayola masterpieces.
- A really mean lasagna.
- A masterful presentation.
- An insightful report.
- A nasty hangover.
- A gorgeous photograph.
- An elegant solution to a tricky problem.
- A gawd-awful mess.
- A vibrant garden teeming with life.
- A heartfelt Valentine.
- A misinformed decision.
- A side-splitting joke.
- Amazing children.
- An inviting home.
You get the idea. If you created it (whether intentionally or otherwise) it goes on the list. Grab your phone and set the timer for five minutes. If you want to keep going when the timer goes off, then absolutely, keep going! Let’s rendezvous back here when you’re done. Go!
Welcome back! How did it go? What did you come up with? Tens of creations? Hundreds? Even more? Are you surprised by your list? How does it feel to look at it? Are you satisfied with what you’re creating or would you like to change something? What, if anything, would you like to be different going forward?
Can you see that you are a powerful creator? With every action we take (or don’t), we create something. With every thought we think, we create something. In every waking moment (and probably the non-waking ones too) we are creating. We are inherently creative beings, each and every one of us. Are you creative? Yes. Without a doubt. You are a creative being.
If You’ve Lost Your Creative Power
When my job was eliminated in 2016, I understood that it was meant to be. I didn’t belong there anymore and I knew it. My time in Corporate America needed to come to a close and I needed to begin a new chapter in my life. I was meant for something different, and it was time to move on.
But to what? What was I meant for? I really didn’t know, and I struggled to see beyond the things I already knew I was good at. My coaching and mentoring abilities were excellent. I had solid analytical skills. And my communication skills were on point. But I couldn’t imagine something really different for myself, and this image I held of myself, this idea of who I was and what I was capable of doing was based on years of feedback from leaders who embraced corporate values. Somewhere along the way, I stopped understanding myself as a creative power and started understanding myself as a cog in a massive corporate machine that was meant to generate wealth for capitalist giants. Stripped of that identity and wanting no parts of it in my future, I found myself alone and confused, drifting and grasping for something to cling on to.
Don’t Worry, You Can Reclaim It!
And then I met Michelle Crisanti. Michelle is a gifted healer, a Reiki Master, a brilliant artist, a teacher, a published author, an entrepreneur and owner of Rock Reiki. And she is unlike anyone I’ve ever know. She talked about energy, spirit, healing and creativity in ways that were completely new to me. And in doing so, Michelle opened my mind to an entire world of possibilities. It took me a while to understand what she meant when she spoke of “creativity”. But when it clicked, it clicked.
In early 2017 Michelle shared her art with the world through Facebook Live. She did a handful of live classes, demonstrating a few different types of drawings and talking with her viewers about some of the basics of pattern, shading, depth and the like. Looking back I’m still rather mystified by it, but those classes were the golden key that would enable me to find myself again, and to understand that I was capable of so much more than I knew.
I watched and I drew. And I found that when I was drawing, my mind became peacefully focused and content. I was fully present and whole. The more I drew, the more at peace I became. And I loved – and so needed – that peace. So I chose to draw more, not to make art, but to create peace. The art was just a happy side effect. I did this for months before I started to truly understand my ability to create peace for myself through choosing how to direct my energy and where to focus my attention. It was such a powerful insight. It, without a doubt changed – and possibly saved – my life.
You Are an Empowered Creative Being
In this fast-paced, high-tech, competitive world that we live in, so many of us live on autopilot. Our self image is heavily influenced by entities outside of us: our jobs, our culture, our social circles, our communities (virtual and conventional), our families. But we have the power to choose something different, something empowering, something aligned with our highest selves. We have the power to claim our creativity.
When we are in touch with or creativity, we are empowered to use it consciously. Look at the list you just made. Know with certainty that you are a creative person. You have the ability to do so many things and to bring beautiful things into being. As you start to understand and embrace this, you become empowered to choose and shape your experiences more and more according to your most deeply-held values.
We all have a hand in creating our personal and collective realities. What do you want to create today?