Monday, April 30, 2007

Creativity For Life

The phrase "creativity for life" means at least three different things.

One. Creativity can permeate a life: that a person can be creative in the way that she handles her job, solves problems around the house, or takes in a sunset. She manifests the qualities of a creative person, like imagination, resourcefulness, self-direction, and so on, and shines them like a beacon on whatever she thinks about or tackles. One shorthand moniker for this is that she is "everyday creative" or that she is engaged in "artful living."

Two. "Creativity for life" is that people who love things like art, music, literature, science, and, more broadly, smart things, gorgeous things, and evocative things, want them in their life. They do not want a life devoid of foreign movies, intellectual puzzles, or natural beauty. They love it that bookstores, museums, and concert halls exist and they love it that they can fill their living space and their spare time with art. Our shorthand for this is "an art-filled life" or "art-filled living."

Three. A third meaning of the phrase "creativity for life" is that a person spends a lifetime creating in a particular domain, a domain to which she decides to devote herself. She can be creative as a writer and devote herself to writing novels. She can be creative as a research biologist and devote herself to scientific inquiry. Our shorthand for this is "an art-committed life" or "identifying as an artist." Millions of people make this choice, with all of the joys and challenges that come with it.

An artful life, an art-filled life, and an art-committed life are not mutually exclusive ideas or mutually exclusive ways of being. But they do present different challenges. As soon as you decide to be creative in a domain and decide that you mean to live your life as a novelist, biochemist, actor, or sculptor, you introduce a set of profound challenges that would not have confronted you if you had "settled" for artful living and an art-filled life.

Whether your goal is artful living, an art-filled life, or an art-committed life, two keys to success are careful attention and regular practice. We tend to do a pretty poor job of paying attention to our realities; we seem programmed to repeat our days without improving our circumstances or deepening our awareness. Nor do we tend to want to commit to the patient apprenticeship that is required of someone who wants to translate her love of an art form into mastery. As general rules, we pay too little attention and we practice too little.

These daily activies might include such simple things as listening to music that moves you or getting fresh flowers for the living room. They might include carving out islands of mindfulness, five minutes here and five minutes there, where you pay quiet atteention to your life and consider how your might live more joyfully, wisely, and artfully.

You maintain lifelong creativity by maintaing daily creativity. Even on the busiest days, when the commute to work, a stressful job, and the commute home take up most of your waking hours, you can still have an art-committed first hour of the day, as you work on your novel, an art-filled evening, with music and the scent of flowers, and an artful day throughout as you mindfully bring your talents and your passion to the ordinary tasks of living. Artful living, an art-filled life, and an art-committed life are each available to you if you build up the habits of daily awareness and daily practice.

- From "Creativity for Life" by Eric Maisel. Credit: Daily Om

:: Eric Maisel, Ph.D., is America's foremost creativity coach and is widely known as the creativity expert. He is a columnist for Art Calendar Magazine, trains creativity coaches, offers workshops and keynotes nationally and internationally. Pin It Now!

LinkWithin