It’s been said that we are all unique. Most wouldn’t argue. Though we are unique, we share some common needs. Some needs are well-known like love and shelter, for example. Others aren’t so often discussed. I would like to bring a need to light that I think is very deserving but gets very little attention. That is the need To Create.
What comes to your mind when you think of being “creative” or “creativity”? Perhaps, you are like me. I initially think of art or color. When I think further, I think of musicians writing heart-warming lyrics or chefs creating a culinary gems. However, I think creativity is more than just artistry. It can be movement, art, organization, conversations, planning, building, memorizing, coloring, sculpting, imagining; the options are endless. It is the creative process that propels us forward to uncover solutions to our greatest challenges and fill our world with excitement and pleasure. It is during our creative moments, we are allowed to forget the mundane and become absorbed in something joyous. We begin creating with excitement and complete our process with feelings of accomplishment and pride and motivation to continue on. We learn to overcome obstacles on our way to the finish line. When creating anything, emotions are strong but so are our problem-solving abilities making the brain work in its most optimal condition.
As children, we do this really well for the most part; life has not inhibited our creativity with “must do’s”. When I ask people what they used to do, so often there are memories of creating but, somehow, life has gotten in the way and creativity has stopped. And slowly, for many, as time continues, creativity is pushed aside, ignored, and then often forgotten. But what is life if not full of these creative moments?
I have witnessed what happens when creativity stops. It’s called depression. Perhaps the lack of creativity is not the basis for clinical depression, but I strongly believe that the absence of creating is a strong contributor to depression’s chronicity. Moments of depression are filled with lethargy, inactivity, and stagnation. The mind grows dormant and shuts down for a cold winter. Life becomes grey and existing is simply exhausting. There is no movement, no answers, no solutions, and no horizons. There is a longing to fill emptiness but nothing to fill it with.
As I sit here writing, I look down at my sleeping baby….and I create a moment. She’s beautiful, with big blue eyes and soft feathery hair. I can’t help but smile when I see her smile. And there it is. Simple. One moment that I can imprint in my mind to have for years to come. And so it is with creativity: a simple moment of colors combined to create a eye-catching picture, a thread of song lyrics that moves the soul, a basket of vegetables harvested from the earth, a child’s game of dialogue between two friendly toys, an aha! moment when I know how and when I can organize my task list, etc. An infinite variety of creative methods are available.
But, no matter how it’s done, it has to be done. The soul cannot fall into a creative void. The dancer must dance. The singer must sing. The gardener must garden. It is an antidepressant with far reaching effects that is available to all, a soul-lifter, a go-getter. Creatively living defines the difference between living and being alive.