“Creativity is in the soul of our being and our highest form of living.
It is the presence within all of us that relentlessly longs for expression.”
(Suzanne Kyra, Welcome Home to Yourself, p. 84)
In today’s society, knowledge and information are highly valued and in general creativity and the arts are undervalued. We are all so “plugged in” that many of us are challenged to keep up with all of our emails, text messages, social media, etc., let alone make time to tap into and express our creative sides.
Danny Gregory, in his book, The Creative License (2006) states that “the ability and need to be creative are hard-wired into all of us” (p. 10). He notes that we need to give ourselves permission to be the artists we truly are. Gregory cautions that when we stifle our creativity “our minds grow narrower… we grow remote from others, categorizing and stereotyping the people we meet … we speed through life, wanting to get on to the next thing, unable to take pleasure in the moment” (pp. 10 & 11).
THE RIGHT AND LEFT BRAIN
The right side of the brain is associated with creativity, emotion, “big picture thinking” and lack of structure; whereas the left- brain is associated with logic, structure, words, language and rational thought. We all draw on both sides of the brain for a variety of tasks we do in our day-to-day lives; however, we often are either right or left-brain dominant. An example of someone who is left brain dominant would be a person who is orderly, logical, and analytical; whereas someone who is right brain dominant is more emotional, creative, and adventurous
Reconnecting with your right brain by taking up something you may have enjoyed as a child, or trying an artistic pursuit that is completely new; such as pottery, can help you connect with and tap into your creative side. Many people’s experience of painting, making pottery /throwing on a wheel and drawing; for example, makes them feel relaxed, focused (takes their mind off work) and in some cases, like a child at play.
CREATIVITY, INNOVATION AND THE NEW CONCEPTUAL AGE
With the increasing complexity of issues (such as climate change and new strains of flu) and the rapid rate of technological change we are experiencing, a number of people ;(e.g. Ken Robinson in “The Element” and Daniel Pink, in “A Whole New Mind”), are making the case that we need to shift our emphasis on a global level to the right brain from the left and change our educational systems and organizations to stimulate, encourage and reward creativity and innovation.
Pink (2005) believes we are moving from the “Information Age” to the “Conceptual Age”, a new age that requires a different way of thinking and a whole new approach to life and work. Pink emphasizes that to lead a successful and healthy life we need to use both sides of the brain. He calls this “whole-brain thinking”.
During the Information Age, more value was placed on the left side and in the new Conceptual Age using the right brain abilities will be necessary for success. Pink provides some hard data on the economic and social forces that are changing our work environments. The New Conceptual Age is one of “high concept” and “high touch”. To be successful in business in the future will require six abilities that Pink calls: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning.
STRATEGIES FOR TAPPING INTO YOUR CREATIVE SIDE
How do you cultivate and release your creative spirit?
1) Sit down in a quiet place, free from distractions. Take a few deep breaths to relax yourself and close your eyes for a couple of minutes if you feel comfortable doing so. Ask yourself the following questions and write down your responses to them. Be as truthful as possible (e.g. write down the first thing that comes to mind without judging or editing it).
- Do you consider yourself a creative person? If yes, why? If not, why not?
- Are there any creative pursuits you did as a child but haven’t done for years? If so, what are they?
- Are there some creative or artistic pursuits you would be interested in exploring?/trying out?
2) Commit to either starting to integrate a childhood “passion” into your life or choose a new one such as “learning to play the piano” that perhaps you always wanted to do as a child but never had the opportunity to do or took the time for. Identify the next steps for taking action to integrate a new or “old” creative or artistic pursuit into your life. It’s helpful to use a 2- column table with “activity” heading one column and “timeline” on the next.
3) Support is important when starting something new and continuing with it. Enlist the support of a friend, colleague or family member to encourage and support you in your new endeavor or invite them to join you in doing it.
Any new insights? What do you notice when you engage in an artistic or creative pursuit? We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.
 “Tap into and Express Your Creative Side” is one of the 7 keys to Creative Living that are integrated into Creative Life Coaching’s group and one-on-one programs; and is one of the keys to cultivating improved health, happiness, fulfillment and inner peace.