The hustle, the grind, the 9-9. In the western world we determine a person’s value by their output. We’ve glorified busy to the point where tiredness and stress barely register until they take us out of the game altogether.
Awareness is spreading and, slowly, things are shifting. If those in the know are to be believed, we’re on the cusp of a mass awakening. Basically, we’re moving in the right direction for the higher good of humanity.
Why then is the latest ‘self-care’ trend encouraging us to monetise the last bastion of the soul. Why are we being pushed to sell our creativity, our hobbies and our passion projects – whether we have any inclination to or not. Why are we allowing our soul-speak to be held up to be deemed worthy, or not, when it is the act of creation that is the power, the magic of humanity?
What is Creativity?
Creativity is the use of the imagination to produce something. Maybe more interesting, the imagination is the faculty of creating or forming new ideas that are not currently available to the senses.
creativity + imagination =
making something out of nothing
And we all have the ability to do that. Every single one of us. Pretty fucking cool, no? And more amazing, we create from our lived experiences, meaning each of our creative outputs will be different. True creativity is unique to the creator.
“I’m not Creative”
Mmmmh, yeah you are. We all have the ability to create. That’s a fact. To turn around and say you’re ‘not’ or that you ‘can’t’ is inaccurate. There are some factors that may lead you to believe you’re not creative though. First and foremost, for the longest time, society as a whole cared fuck all for everyday creativity. Oh we love a tortured artist. And we’ll buy into seemingly delusional entrepreneurs come good. But normal people, creating unremarkable things, just for the sake of it. Why bother?
Secondly, we’ve been trained to believe that if what we produce doesn’t reach a certain standard, it’s worthless. The more oppressed the group, the heavier this limitation tends to weigh. We label our output as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, when we’re really deeming it worthy of pride or not. Because we value people, including ourselves, on our output. So if we can’t write like Maya or paint like Degas or create gardens worthy of daytime tv shows – why bother. Focus that energy into something worth while. Right? God we’ve beat the fun out of everything.
Finally, true creativity isn’t often encouraged in children. Born with the ability and will to manifest our imagination, we’re shoved into drama and dance and piano and a myriad or other massively beneficial, but ultimately structured, pastimes. We read poems written by others, move to a teacher’s choreography and play ancient symphonies – but rarely are we given space to create our own.
We don’t know how to create. This innate ability that is within each one of us is aching to get out but we don’t bloody know how! We haven’t found our outlet and, if we have, we haven’t explored further that the shallow depths. Because it’s seen as secondary. Most children will have heard it, ‘school comes first’. Breeding a wave of adults running in that capitalist race, consciously or not, desperately needing some way to reconnect with themselves, but not having the slightest idea where to begin. This has heightened to the extent that we literally had to produce adult colouring books…
Yes, it Matters!
Creativity goes hand-in-hand with conscious living and mindfulness. It involves retreating inward, allowing the inner voice, the intuition, to lead. It is an act of re-connection.
If you ask a practicing creative, a practicing sportsperson and a practicing meditator to skip their activities for a week, you’ll get similar symptoms arise in all three. Without this time to ‘clear your head’, or to withdraw from the challenges of the external world, that world starts to invade the mind. Creativity is the soul speaking. Only good can come from listening to it.
‘Why don’t you sell it?’
Ok, first and foremost, if you genuinely feel drawn to sell your creative output – amazing, g’wan and get paid. If you dream of becoming a full-time creative (writer, painter, coder, gardener, whatever), I am of the belief that that is completely possible for you.
Where I feel the rub is with the new wash of social media accounts implying that you’re not living unless you’re monetizing your creativity. That you cannot be fulfilled unless you’re out on your own. It’s the thought that launched a thousand decks of motivational prompt cards. It’s one that is funding the life of many a digital nomad.
These voices thrive of buzzwords like ‘passion’ and ‘visualisation’ and ‘excitement’. They profess a life of freedom, of creativity and of success. And, hey, you wanna do their online course? Because, effervescent hair colours and emojis aside, they’re bloody good business women (I’ve run across few men but they’re surely out there).
Tune In, Not Out
True creativity, and all it’s beautiful benefits, thrives on our inner voice. It is our soul speaking. The more externalised the process – say if we’re thinking of making it commercial or ‘sellable’ – the more the speech suffers. For god’s sake, the fashion industry is a prime example of that!
And it’s the process that holds the magic. It matters so little about the actual finished project. It’s the setting the time, the turning inward and the listening to yourself for the first time in however long, that gives the blessed relief.
You owe the world nothing of your creativity but you will see yourself move through it easier with a steady creative practice. Just like how the proof of the meditation pudding is in how you deal with the external. For god’s sake, we sell our lives to the capitalist machine, largely unconsciously, don’t let it have your soul’s voice too. Hold that shit close and dear. Nurture it. And, as with so much of these practices, come back to me in 21 days of creating and tell me how you feel.