We are all naturally creative beings.
I believe strongly that each person possesses this innate creativity; it is a part of the deepest realization of self. Whether or not we recognize this creativity has no bearing on its presence within us. As created beings, we necessarily have a share in this creative power that inspired us into existence.
I think the problem is that many of us don’t know how to access our creativity. I frequently hear people rejecting a “creative” label, saying things like, “I’m just not very creative” or “I’m not very good at creative things.” However, at this preliminary step of self-labelling, we block our natural capacity for creativity. Why do we reduce the value of a creative act to external judgements of “good” or “bad”? Is the purpose in expressing creativity merely to display said creativity, and to gain objective approval?
No. In fact, when we define creativity by these terms, we transform it into a kind of utilitarianism. Creative acts become valued for the end or for a purely practical purpose, and the joy and beauty of the creative process is lost as a result. Creating with such a goal in mind does not channel our true creativity but instead stifles what is good about the creative act. It does so through our attempts to control and manipulate the thing we are creating, rather than giving it the freedom it needs and deserves (similar to the freedom with which we were imbued at creation).
Being creative is firstly and fundamentally about the joy of creating in and of itself. Who will receive this output and how it will be judged must always be secondary concerns, if the creative expression is to really operate (both within and without us) as it was intended by God. Any creative act, whatever it may be, constitutes a giving of self, and only through this gift of self (which is also the essence of love) are we able to connect deeply and authentically with ourselves. In every instance of individual creativity, we participate uniquely and mysteriously in the first creation. Our Creator allows us to share in His creativity by giving life to something new, that is in its own way uniquely beautiful and important.
So if we are all creative and we can all be enriched by expressing this creativity, how do we go about accessing it? Here, again, if we go about comparing ourselves to others, we will never find a place to begin. Just as God shapes each person as a new yet equally good creation, our individual creativity does not lose any of its worth by being different from that of another. For example, being creative does not mean simply churning out “creative” things that can be shared with others, such as poems or paintings. Personally, I feel a call to write and I find that when I write, I feel most like and most connected to myself. The key word here is call. Creativity can never (should never) be forced, but must come from a place of openness and truth.
I also feel a vocation and desire to share my writing with others. However, the intrinsic value of any piece I write does not lie in this sharing but in the creation itself. That is why I always try to write for myself first and to enter fully into the moment and mystery of a new creation. If I hold in my mind my thoughts and fears of how this new piece will be perceived, the creativity flowing through my veins inevitably stops and becomes cold.
How can one be creative without any sense of this “call” or a leading in the direction of some tangible creative pursuit? Well, I think that there are many different ways of being creative, and we limit ourselves when we limit the definition of “one who creates” to one who creates only in perceptible ways. I believe that no beautiful thought is ever wasted. A creative thought, idea or feeling goes to God and does not merely dissipate; it becomes a very part of who we are and shapes our future self in ways of which we are often unaware. With this understanding, one can contemplate nature or see the beauty in a small, forgotten thing, and by doing so become a channel for creativity.
Perhaps the most essential aspect of accessing creativity is attitude. Authentic creative ascent, of whatever form, requires a particular attitude. When we are bound up in fear (Can I create? Am I good enough to be creative?) or duty (I must create. I should be creating because to do so is good) we kill any potential creativity. Creativity occurs in an attitude of openness and trust. When it is given room to grow, develop, reach into the very depths of our being and take root, then it takes on a life of its own and has the power to change, within and without. In short, don’t be afraid to create: to think creative thoughts, to do or say creative things, to be creative in your daily life. Don’t try too hard to control the direction this creativity may take, but be open to the uniqueness of your own expression. Sometimes creativity involves taking risks; doing, saying or thinking things of which you are not sure or that may seem foolish or unnecessary. However, these are the kind of risks that allow of us to grow and connect more deeply with ourselves, the people around us and with our Creator.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” -Genesis 1:27.
Why create? It is at the very centre of who we are and how we came to be.