Creativity – Getting the Juices Flowing
Maurice Turmel PhD
When you reach inside yourself, what do you find? A storehouse of creativity that’s what. “Is that so?” you say. "Well, my creativity has gone AWOL, I can’t find it anywhere. I’m lost without it. What do I do?"
I hear you. It’s a hard road to travel, getting to that creative place. There are obstacles along the way - past traumas, feelings of hurt, lost loved ones, grievances, upsets and old wars brewing in the background. All of these are distractions to the creative elements within.
When children start out they are immediately creative. They scribble, they write, they color, they take things apart, they sing and dance. They are already there, in that internal world, where the creative mind is at play. And they play; because that’s how they create. Their imagination takes them here and there and they don’t qualify what pops up for exploring. They don’t judge, they just do it. That’s the essence of creativity – exploring, playing and creating. That is also the essence of our Inner Child - He/She is our creative self.
Contrast that with “I’ve got bills to pay! The kids are sick! My boss hates me! There’s too much suffering in the World,” and so on. When you’re worried about 101 things there’s no time or inclination to be creative.
So lack of creativity is not so much an absence of ability as it is about too many distractions. Solitude is essential to creativity. Just watch a young child at play. They are happily engaged in their own world and loving every minute of it. Sooner or later, they will come out and show you what they’ve created. You will applaud, and they will go off and do more.
That’s what you need – some applause to get you going. You applaud yourself when you bake a cake or build a birdhouse, don’t you? Creativity thrives in the dark but requires the spark of light and encouragement to keep it going. As adults, we need to be noticed and appreciated just like children. Here’s a tip. Try receiving for a change. Say thank you when you’re complimented or appreciated for some gesture, instead of shrugging it off.
So where’s your spark right now? Is it on or off? Don’t worry, it’s there waiting for you, down in that chamber where you used to create. You’re going to recover that for yourself now that you’ve decided you want your Inner Child back. You can retrieve that lost part of you and fan it back into a full blown flame.
“How do I get there?” you want to know. Good question. “Cleanse yourself!” is the answer. “How do I do that?” You start writing, or journaling actually. This is not creative writing, but writing for the purpose of cleaning out all those distractions. You write about every obstacle that jumps onto your path. You write about the kids, your spouse, the family, your boss, the church, the government, whatever is bothering you. This is journaling for a purpose. And that purpose is cleansing the Soul. A clean slate is the basic creative stance. It says “I’m ready, bring it on, I will create now. Oh yeah, just watch me.”
This cleansing process is ongoing. I've been doing it for over 20 years and I still do it regularly, even daily sometimes. There’s always stuff to clean out. It’s a very soothing and satisfying process. You get all of those injunctions out of your way and low and behold, your creativity starts to flow again. A little bit here, a little bit there, and pretty soon you’re filling canvasses with images, cupboards with crafts, workshops with structures and empty pages with stories. You’re flowing again.
Think of cleansing as an emotional and spiritual enema. You get those nasty clogs out of the way and then you start creating again, just as you did in childhood. Our spiritual and emotional selves need that kind of cleansing regularly, just as our physical body requires regular maintenance. We need to keep all these systems running smoothly. Creativity is a process, it works best when we get the garbage out of the way, especially old hurts and resentments. Then we can do what we came here for – CREATE. And our Inner Child will love us for it.