Explore, Express, Evolve: A Creative Journey.
In my experience, creativity has the power to heal one’s soul, and the process of creating beauty with our art, designs or the written word forces us to think positively.
My overwhelming urge—this little bug in me that motivates me to create and explore—has proven to be my greatest ally, and never fails to give me a shot of enthusiasm in times of emotional crisis.
No matter how busy I am, I somehow always manage to find time to pursue my creative interests.
I am constantly looking to learn new things and explore different avenues of creative expression. As a result I have learned pottery, mosaic, block printing and decoupage, to name a few. Like many of us, I have faced many trials in my professional and personal life, but no matter how daunting the circumstances, I have managed to forge ahead and emerge stronger from the experience.
Up until recently, I wasn’t aware that my ravenous compulsion to create had something to do with this and was helping me stay positive and look at the brighter side of things.
It took a horrifying, month-long stress-induced migraine to make me realize that the innumerable hours spent kneading clay, smearing grout and splashing paint were not in vain.
This happened entirely by chance when, in an attempt to distract myself from the relentless pounding in my head, I decided to teach my two-year-old niece to paint with water colors. It took me three butterflies, a caterpillar and a honey bee to realize that the throbbing had miraculously seized.
Yes, sometimes it takes all kinds of bugs!
I realize now that it’s always lurking in the shadows, this little bug of mine, and it discreetly emerges from time to time to rescue me when I need it most. It almost always knows what I need, what needs to be done and how it should be done.
My omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient bug!
Since then, although I don’t always need to make a conscious effort to find a creative outlet, I consciously try to monitor and document my state of mind while enjoying one of my many creative hobbies. So today I am sharing with you my learning from leading a creative life:
1. I realize that the physical process of using your hands and your mind distracts me from the things that are causing stress.
2. I don’t necessarily have to be a great artist, designer or writer to lead a creative life. I need to remember that I am doing this for myself, and what others think of my work does not and should not matter. I shouldn’t let undue criticism and negativity get in the way of creative self expression.
3. Creative expressions don’t always need to be artistic; one can also pursue non-artistic interests like cooking, gardening and writing.
4. When you create something beautiful using your skill and imagination, it boosts your self-esteem. Self love is also very essential to creativity and vice versa.
5. Fearlessness is indispensable to a creative life. If I am constantly stressing about the outcome, it defeats the whole purpose. The fear of failure is detrimental to creativity. The bug wasn’t always this confident, colorful, candid creature it is today. Its spirit has taken a beating many a times but has almost always managed to stand back up and forge ahead. A little bruised, a little dispirited at times, but nevertheless full of grit and gumption.
6. If I am investing time in learning a new hobby or skill, I should not let temporary setbacks deter me from seeing it through to the end. What’s important is that I enjoy the process. I constantly remind myself that consistency is the key to pursuing a creative life.
7. I realize that creating beautiful objects—using my hands and my imagination—is also cathartic in some ways. I particularly enjoy smashing tiles for mosaic art! I love that something so beautiful can emerge out of such a violent gesture. For me, this is symbolic of how negative energy seamlessly translates into something positive and beautiful.
8. Pursuing a creative hobby also improves one’s creative problem solving abilities. I tend to come up with new, novel ideas and not-so-obvious solutions to professional and personal problems. This little bug of mine helps me map new routes and conquer new heights, and thus fuels my dreams.
9. Creativity and beauty of any kind forces us to stop and take notice of the small joys in life and be grateful for all the beautiful things that were created for men and women to enjoy.
Some non-profit organizations use various creative mediums as a form of therapy to treat people who have suffered mental, physical and emotional abuse.
Most people in creative professions have a secondary creative outlet. I like to believe that this is probably because they tend to think of their primary skill as a job and this sometimes stresses them out.
To lead a creative life one must be open to try new things and take chances.
This little bug of mine is always pushing and prodding me, egging me on towards a new goal, a new dream or a new way of life.
So, I hope that by sharing my creative journey, I am in a small way motivating others to seek out, recognize and nurture their own creative bug.
Author: Sushama Madappa
Editor: Toby Israel