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Creativity Is a Way of Life, Not Just About Making Art

by Dr. Ilona L. Tobin

No matter what you may have been told, every one of us is creative. It’s as much a part of us as our voice and breath and fingerprints.

Creativity isn’t just about making “art.” Cooking, gardening, keeping a journal, handiwork and crafts are all creative acts. Arranging flowers or rearranging furniture, painting a picture or painting a room, singing on stage or singing in the shower––these are all responses to the “call.”

That call is the call to create, and it is universal, bidding each of us to bring something new into being. It may be as faint as the stirring of butterfly wings or loud as a brass band on the Fourth of July. Or you may not hear a sound at all, but feel an urging, an inner pull, a sense of excitement and longing that resonates from within.

Creative expression helps us feel connected to the world and builds bridges of understanding. It nourishes us and helps us grow, provides insights and deeper understandings. Creativity is fun, exciting and playful. It relieves stress and releases tension. It provides a way of communication when normal channels may be blocked or are insufficient— when we must speak in colors and textures and shimmering visions and music.

Creativity is love expressing itself; it heals and renews. Our creations are mirrors in which others may see themselves and the signature of our lives that says, “This is how I saw it.”

Creativity is a way of living. It’s being spontaneous and playful, exercising the imagination, finding solutions, and embracing possibilities and doing it all with passion.

Yet for all the joy and fulfillment it brings, some resist the call to be creative. In our culture, the ideas that “time is money” and “art is frivolous” hold certain sway and old messages like “stay inside the lines” or “you can do better than that” have remarkable staying power. It takes courage to look beneath the surface of what we’ve been told to find our heart’s desire.

Creativity requires risk-taking. It asks us to surrender, to lose control, to trust. It’s an act that says we believe in ourself.

Honoring the creative Self means finding time, making space, being patient and taking the chance of looking foolish. You cannot care too much what others think or say. You must be willing to start over and stay with it; creativity takes stamina. There are no magical secrets or absolute rules. Creativity can’t be taught. You just do it.

Like the body’s natural urge for motion and the human need for connection and community, the spirit longs to express itself. So when you hear the call to create, answer, “Yes!” It is your self searching for your Self, a movement toward being whole.

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Ilona Tobin has been a psychologist and a marriage and family therapist for more than 25 years in Birmingham, Michigan. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory.

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