Creativity is healing to the body, mind and spirit. In The Creative Connection, Dr. Natalie Rogers writes, “Creativity is a life force energy that flows like a river through each of us.” When we create we tap into this moving current and express these life-giving energies in the form of songs, paintings, essays or, perhaps, new possibilities for solving problems. We develop innovative presentations or turn nondescript backyards into magical gardens. We become vital and affirmative toward life when we create for we are bringing something new into being. In awakening to creativity, we awaken to the life within and all around us. Poetry Therapist James Leedy says, “Creativity builds on the innate facet of every person’s inheritance, Eros, the will to live.”
Creativity is a way to bridge the conscious and unconscious. Dipping into the mysterious regions of the unconscious mind, the writer or visual artist, for example, finds symbols and metaphors, impressions and feelings that she then brings to the surface to express through language, shapes or colors. We become acquainted with our ‘shadow’ selves in this way and then have the opportunity to integrate unconscious material into conscious awareness. The more we create, the more we learn to fluidly move back and forth between the inner and outer worlds. Anais Nin described this as “learning to walk between one realm and the other without fear, interrelate them, and ultimately fuse them.” In creating, then, we move towards wholeness.
Powerful emotions and impulses can be constructively channeled into creative venues. “I sing my sadness,” says my client, Johanna. Gordon expresses his pain about the death of his father in dark and moving poems that emanate from the depths of his soul. “I experience the loss more deeply when I write,” he said, “but at the same time I feel better because I’m facing and feeling the truth.” To deny our deep wounds is to carry them as heavy burdens in our psyches. Expressing grief, anger or despair in creative modalities is a safe and effective way to release and transform our pain.
Spirituality and creativity are closely linked. When we engage in creative activities we expand our consciousness. We move beyond habitual thought and behavior patterns and open up to possibilities not normally within our reach. In peak moments we let go of control and surrender to the creative process. At times we enter a flow state where the sense of a separate self dissolves and perceptions of time and space are altered. When fully absorbed in activities such as sailing, dancing, playing the piano or writing, we forget ourselves and, often, our surroundings. As the egoic self disappears, our deeper Self appears.
Essentially, I view the creative process as a powerful agent for transformation. When we create we expand our sense of who we are and open up to wider possibilities. Creativity teaches patience, courage, flexibility and presence. It ignites our passion and provides new avenues for appreciating life. Creativity is, indeed, very good medicine.
Choose a creative activity to explore for one month. Remember, you don’t have to be an artist to be creative! You can express creativity in your parenting, cooking, gardening or in any literary or artistic pursuit.
Establish realistic and attainable weekly goals for the month and record them in a Creativity Log. For example, if you choose to play the guitar, “I will learn one new chord each week and practice at least three times a week.”
In order to assess the healing benefits of this creative activity, note any positive changes in the following areas at least once a week:
- Mental: (for example) I’m able to focus and concentrate more at work
- Physical: I have more energy during the day
- Emotional: I am calmer and experienced less anxiety this week
- Spiritual: I am listening to my inner wisdom