To start, creativity and art saved my life. Not just once, but constantly and now daily. When I was a child in a turbulent and psychologically abusive home I escaped by drawing. I could draw the things I didn’t have and find peace. It was a safe place and feelings of optimism sustained for a number of hours after I finished. I didn’t know then that art is therapy.
An article by Che Bollinger (click here)
Later in adulthood, I read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s best selling book, Flow. There I found a description of my feelings while drawing. He talks about reclaiming personal experience by abandoning the belief that “what counts most in our lives is that which occurs in the future.” When you’re present you abandon trained socialization and heal trauma. A liberated view of human nature can over come submission to genetic programming. He calls this state Flow. Unpacking this meant exploring inner creative urges that emerge without questioning and training them with focus and commitment.
When introducing myself as an artist, I often hear people state they are not creative at all. That drawing a realistic tiger isn’t possible and as a child they drew, danced, or played an instrument. My response is as follows, art is life and we’re all artists seeking to express our inner thoughts and feelings. Many times, people need external validation to jump into the creative unknown of their child artist. Trust me, the child is still inside waiting to play and create. When you nurture this part of yourself the healing benefits are astounding.
After finding drawing as a child, I moved to dance, sculpture, and costume design. I would draw my costumes and sculptures, make them, and perform a freestyle number for myself. I loved the feeling of the process in my young Flow state. So, at 35 I started drawing, making costumes, and dancing again. Without awareness, I started healing inner trauma and pain so old I forgot it was there.
With the current state of affairs we now have time. I can’t blame my lack of creative exploration on time anymore. And neither can you. I challenge and validate you to find your creative Flow. Pick up that creative medium like a child and play! Forget your inner criticism or what your friends will think. You already have what it takes inside. Ask yourself, am I having fun? Do I like it? Remember that a college degree does not make you an artist. You do.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. “Flow. The psychology of optimal experience.”
Harper Perennial , Modern Classics, (2008) Page 16