before the world told you who you should be?"
-- Charles Bukowski, Post Office
Creativity is an act of radical self love. To allow oneself to create, to do the things that make your soul sing, is self care. And that idea of self care, of putting one’s own well-being on the priority list, is a radical notion both psychologically and socially.
Never in a million did I ever think I would be writing about self love! The term still makes me somewhat uncomfortable with the lingering shadow of it being somehow rather superficial and derogatory. But I am choosing to reframe and redefine it: to reclaim it for myself. This too is a revolutionary act.
Creativity is an act of radical self love.
Creativity is our nature. We are the products of an original creative act. We are the microcosmic particles in a grand, universal creative process, ever expanding and playing out the ‘what ifs’ of possibility. That energetic flow is carried within us and it is our birthright to honour it. No external permission required.
As children we know this and create for the sake of creation. That eternal expression of divine spirit. We learn the tools and methods and innately prioritise it over more ‘serious’ endeavours. Sadly, I am going to say, this activity is referred to as ‘play’: purposeless; not important.
Somewhere along the way, for reasons I won't go into here and now, we demoted this natural impulse as being frivolous, meaningless, meant only for the favoured few. If you were going to be creative it had to have a certain familiarity of form that could be marketed and consumed. To do otherwise was deemed worthless, an indulgence, even narcissistic, and somehow with that we learnt to build shame around our natural abilities.
Since when did we get this twisted view of creativity?
and that is an act of political warfare."
-- Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light
But I would argue that creativity’s purpose, its function, its value, is one of psychological self-care. And for that reason it cannot hold a high enough priority in our lives. As much as if not more so than exercise and eating well does for our physical body. We have to move past our resistance, our hang-ups and stories and recognise its vital role in our lives and mental health.
In a symbiotic relationship in which creativity is both an expression of our inner experience and a means to replenish our spirit, we need to reclaim that fundamental practice we began as children if we are to live a complete and whole existence. Wherever we are in our lives we can all benefit from this.
In this day and age of high-velocity I believe it is even more critical that we make time to create simply for the process and its inherent facility to access our inner world. Through the art of creative practice we decompress and process our experience, tap into our wisdom and remember who we really are before we were taught to deny ourselves.
To prioritise this practice in place of more earthly responsibilities is a radical act that flies in the face of the status quo, but doing so is an act of self love. It is the loving gift of self-compassion and the recognition that meeting our spiritual needs is fundamental to our survival.
Creativity then is the art of coming home to self.
:: BEKA ::
// further reading //
Post Office, Charles Bukowski
A Burst of Light, Audre Lorde
Creativity, Genius and Rebellion, from Osho's The Goose is Out
Self-Care: A Feminist Practice, Jessie James
Self Care isn't Selfish: A Mom's Perspective, Christie Ellis
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