Nourishing Our Creative Gifts

butterfly pink flowersEveryone is born with creative gifts. Everyone. It is unfortunate that our natural creative abilities and curiosity are rarely encouraged. As children we are taught to stop daydreaming, which is actually a high level brain function that gives us access to our imagination and expanded ways to knowing and perceiving. We are taught that we have to draw within the lines, that the sky has to be blue and trees green. There is no room to expand into new ways of seeing the world, new ways of problem solving, or new possibilities for creation.

The creative part of us is tender and vulnerable. It is easily discouraged by a careless comment or the insistent that there is a right way to do a creative project. I know one woman whose eighth grade teacher used her poem as an example of how not to write a poem. She didn’t write again for thirty years. We can be equally inhibited by a parent’s preoccupation with perfectionism.

Creativity is messy. I’m not just talking about art and things like working with paint or clay. I’m talking about the entire process. We try one thing, then another. The process appears to be chaotic and out of control. Yet there is a larger organizing principle is at work in our creative expressions. This expanded knowing that draws on the invisible forces of the spirit to dance things into being. There is both a conscious and unconscious celebration going on. We are generally not encouraged to be creative because we are raised by parents and schooled by teachers shoe had their own creative impulses crushed.

There are some places where the arts are valued and supported that can provide an inspiration. In Ireland if you are an artist, a writer, a painter, a musician you do not pay income tax on the sale of your work. The Irish language is part of the Gaelic family, the ancient language of the Celts who had an oral tradition that relied on storytelling, poetry and song as the way to passing down culture and tradition. So there is a natural reverence for story and music.

I was privileged to witness the high level of support available in Ireland one evening in a pub in the village of Doolin, County Clare, a place known as the epicenter for Celtic music revival in Ireland. A number of top musicians live there and play in the pubs. A ten year old boy had traveled some miles with this parents to listen to the music and have a chance to sit in on a session. The boy played the tin whistle and as he played a solo one of the experienced musicians picked up his tin whistle to support the boy through the places he couldn’t quite carry the tune. As he began to play the entire pub went silent and everyone focused on listening. When he finished the entire place erupted in boisterous applause. Is it surprising that music is one of Ireland’s greatest exports?

Most of us haven’t received that kind of encouragement and support. Yet we can learn to give it to ourselves through classes and coaching, creative communities and friends as well as nourishing our creative self through play and exploration. This includes awakening our awareness of our natural gifts and the pleasure reclaiming them can bring. Start today. Look for even small ways to support your creative self.

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