There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
— Buddha

Book of the month...

The Non-Artists Way: Creativity for Fun's Sake

The Non-Artists Way: Creativity for Fun's Sake

Do you remember making art as a kid? Creating ornate bird houses out of tissue boxes, painting rocks, doodling in your notebooks, or making friendship bracelets? That was fun, but what happened?

Often, it's growing up. Those who had a natural inclination or talent towards art continued developing their skills and pursuing their passion, but the rest of us just carried on with life without many reminders of our creative potential. We could easily label an "artist" as someone who makes art, but if we can't draw or paint - or think we can't - then it's all too tempting to turn away from art completely and become less conscious of how our creativity leaks out in our daily lives, unharnessed.

We are all artists, still.

We are born as such, and it's only through the whittling of time, resources, and the discouraging messages of others that gradually reduce this connection to what we truly are. An artist does not have to be someone who is adept at a particular art, but simply one who practices any of a variety of arts. Doesn't that help take the pressure off? You don't have to be "good at" creating in order to legitimize your efforts. You don't need permission to try, and it's certainly never ever too late to start.

This year, my power word has been movement, an essence of the 2nd chakra, and what it's lead me to in unexpected ways is another essence of the 2nd chakra, creativity. Of course, it makes sense, once you awaken a chakra you open the door to all of the gifts that chakra has to offer. 

I never really learned to draw or paint but now feels like a good time to try. 

I am also a mother, with my older son about to turn 6 soon. Since kids are naturally drawn to art I can see why this would be an appropriate entryway for my creative re-awakening. We are learning together, on equal ground, with no expectations or desired outcomes other than the joy of experiencing the process itself.

Here's what happened when my son and I created watercolor paintings based on a simple instructional illustration from a magazine. Mine is on the left, his on the right. Mine is literal, his imaginative. Mine took days and was painstakingly cautious, his took about 15 minutes and was effortless. He added a sun, seaweed, a sense of movement, and placed the dolphin within its habitat rather than as the main focus. Which is more interesting? More true to nature?

I learned that I must unlearn in order to create from the heart and soul, rather than from the constructs and limitations of the mind.

We also experimented with paper flowers, working together to co-create the various components...

D-art stuff-5.jpg

Sometimes things turned out nicely, but often they came out kinda weird. Sometimes we worked together, and other times I kept going long after he'd moved on to another activity because it has become both meditative and energizing for me. As someone who works with great purpose in my professional role it is nice to simply sit and doodle for no rhyme or reason, to bring myself back to a place of wonder and delight, to reconnect with my imagination, and to feel the essence of childhood again.

The best part? This blissful time-wasting does have value. It's like vital nourishment to my soul, and that creative energy carries over into my work, my relationships and communication, my ability to problem-solve, and generally feeling more at ease in life, fully expressed. 

I still can't really paint. I don't know fancy things like perspective, how to use light and shadow, or creating depth. But it doesn't matter. I don't have to be an artist to make stuff, and neither do you. Just pick up a medium and play.

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