A question about creativity

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composition in threads, Suzanne Moss to the left, composition in threads by Kathleen Moss

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Recently, an academic asked me whether an individual’s creativity was a limited resource. A good question given there is so much in the media about limited resources. Sure, neither is creativity a fossil fuel, nor is it a tank that runs out of fuel. Nevertheless, it can feel that way sometimes! Note the link between creativity and vitality? When tired, one rarely feels like being creative. When immersed in making of some kind, however, there is a vitality that comes in too. They are linked.

On my Home page, I cite the vital Martha Graham speaking of a channel for creativity and keeping that channel open for creativity to flow through. I like the idea that creativity is unlimited…and in the flow of making it certainly feels that way. One feels part of something much larger. The way creativity is spoken of by scientists is that it is a skill demonstrated by divergent thinking and that it can be developed. They are speaking of creative problem solving skills and as such, they leave a lot out….problem solving skills  can be taught – that’s the easy part. Enhancing access to one’s authentic freedom of expression is a different proposition. This is the path of a person seeking. Coaches are guides for this kind of  empowering personal work.

Creativity is life-force, generative and continuing. Keeping ‘the channel’ open is our challenge. What does this mean in practical terms? Caring for one’s mind by dismantling limiting beliefs and opening up to possibility; caring for one’s body and caring for the inner life, or soul by acknowledging and allowing feelings, reflecting on ones choices an actions and unfurling one’s gifts. 

This is not a conclusive list by any means. Creativity is an infinite resource with many signposts and many paths. The founder of the Japanese Craft Movement Sōetsu Yanagi wrote of how

‘Every artist knows that he is engaged in an encounter with infinity, and that work done with the heart and hand is ultimately worship of Life Itself.’ And ‘any work of art, is not an expression of the maker alone, but of a degree of enlightenment wherein infinity, however briefly, obliterates the minor self.’

All of life experience provides a rich and unique collection from which to draw endless connections for creative thinking and being  –  reminds me of the small box I found crammed full of my Nana’s embroidery threads…

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