Thursday, November 6, 2014

Being Creative

In his small and wonderful book, The Courage to Create, Rollo May illuminates the mysterious, glorious subject of creativity in such a wonderful way. I am in love with his mind and his thoughts. 

Creativity needs encounter, he says, when something inside us meets the outside world, and something new is born into the world. 

And for this meeting, this alchemy to take place, we artistes need tools. 

We need our pens and paintbrushes and musical instruments. These tools make us as much as we make something with them. Without them, we are unformed, undeveloped. With them, we realize the potential that was always inside us, but that had no shape and form.  

With our tools, we mold ourselves. We give ourselves shape and form. 

I believe and understand this now. And if you are someone who is asking, am I an artiste, am I, the answer lies in picking up a camera or a pen or taking a design class. Engaging with different tools will help you encounter your creative spirit. You will find your joys and loves and shape the magical, powerful energy that is swirling inside you. 

And as you give birth to what's inside you, you too will be born. 

How is this creating different from a child's play ? Mature creativity, May says, is about staying with the anxiety of not knowing whether you will be able to bring your visions to completion. 

You may have an idea in your head about a  book, or a series of paintings, or a performance piece. But your struggle with the void to bring something new into being has no guarantees. 

The dance piece, the work of art exists perfectly in your head. But can you bring it to life? 

All artistes, all creative people struggle with this feeling, this sense of going out into the forest where there are no maps. And that takes courage.

Creativity, in its true form, is the process of "bringing something new into being." The something new will take time to sprout wings, and in its hatching stage, it might look ungainly. 

We, as artistes, have to find the courage to stay with this weird and wonderful being, have to believe in our visions, have to feel our frailty as we sense our way through the darkness. We have no guarantees, and that's the challenge of our calling, to move forward in faith, to knock on the door and believe that our knock will be answered.   

1 comment:

  1. Love this!!! "Mature creativity, May says, is about staying with the anxiety of not knowing whether you will be able to bring your visions to completion." That is quite true. The amount of times I've felt anxious because all my creative energy is not enough for me to produce what I envisioned is countless! Then there are times when it flows out so easily. But definitely sticking with the art is very difficult when the anxiety about that particular talent or trait is high.

    This was a very well written piece! Love!