First of all, we are all creative. When some people learn that I’m an artist, a response I get sometimes is, “Oh, I’m not creative.” It’s important to know that creativity isn’t only about making art. It’s a way of showing up in the world. There are seasons that I’m not able to paint often, and in those times I remind myself that there are plenty of other ways that I’m being creative. I might try a new recipe, decorate the house for a holiday, take a photo walk in nature, or help my daughter choose her outfit for the day. Creativity is a force that flows through us all. It is a way of seeing the world through the eyes of possibility and wonder, sparking the imagination, and following the call of inspiration.
Now, it is also true that being creative means “the act of creating something,” and I have a very important distinction to share about this. I have made MANY different things over the years on my creative journey, from sewing to jewelry making, to crafting soap and bath products, all while trying to find my “thing.” Some of those things were fun, and some were downright frustrating. But for me, painting is something entirely different. I fell in love with the process. It calls to me, and I become completely immersed in it. Time stops, and it feels like a dance. I don’t ever want to stop, until I must be pulled away. And when I’m finished, there is a palpable relief. I am left soothed and healed. That, I believe, is what we’re all searching for on a creative (and spiritual) journey. Regardless of the art form, whether it’s cooking or gardening, embroidery or drawing, you must ask yourself, “What is the thing that heals you in the process?”
To discover this, I encourage you to bring awareness to how you feel in the process of creating something, and and tune into what brings you healing. I would say to find the thing that brings you joy, but it’s so much deeper than that. Are there moments of elation? Sure. But my painting journey hasn't been all roses and sunshine. It’s also been full of self-doubt at times, and there have been many times I’ve wanted to quit. Especially during those really uncertain times when a painting wasn’t going anywhere, and I was trying way too hard. But I’ve learned that’s when I step away, let it breathe, and give myself compassion. I never actually quit because I love it so much, and it calls me again and again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s challenging as hell. But the process is what carries me through, teaches me about life and myself , and gives me a special kind of therapy that’s all my own. Something I can go to when life gets overwhelming and there are no words. Somewhere to release all I am holding emotionally, for myself and others. A place to celebrate in color when I’m feeling joyful. And a place to create slow meaningful drips when I’m feeling melancholy. It’s all there, in the paint. (Or the words, or the garden, or the soup.)
My plea to you is to find your thing, make it your thing, and let it heal you. You’ll be so glad you did. And still, let the seasons come and go while life ebbs and flows. Remember that you are creative, and there are many ways to express that when you can’t get to your thing. Because your thing is sacred, and must never become a should.
When I was in the hospital, my nurse asked me what I did for a living. I told her I’m a mommy and a painter. She replied that me she’s not creative, but that she loves to do calligraphy. I asked her more about it and she told me how soothing it is for her. I told her, “That’s it, that’s your thing. That’s the feeling you’re after.” She also shared that she likes to watch home decor shows, and likes to renovate rooms. I said “Yes, there are so many ways to be creative!”
This made me realize even more that we all need that one thing that heals us AND the freedom to explore other forms of creativity as the seasons change. Both will bring a rich beauty to our lives, and a feeling that again and again I can only describe as healing.
So, I’d love to hear from you....what’s your thing, and what else are you dabbling in? And if you don’t know yet, that’s ok too ♥️