I have been doing a little hunting around, and I am surprised to see how many websites and blogs there are that proclaim the basic ingredients for happiness, but do not include creativity in their lists. Perhaps they assume that creativity is a hybrid that comes from more fundamental components, like passion or challenges.
Well, I would have to disagree. I feel very strongly that happiness is dependent, in part, upon our having a creative outlet in our lives. It may be simply the playfulness we grant ourselves with our children; or the quiet majesty of beautiful handicrafts made from necessity; or it may be the production of full-blown novels or symphonies. But it seems that it may be a universal compulsion of humans to turn even the most mundane into magic, through the application of creative expression.
If you have ever watched a child paint, or a virtuoso play his instrument, or a potter shaping clay on her wheel, you can see the deep happiness of absorption. It is not all bliss, all the time to create, of course, but it seems to me that something within us insists that we must do it, if we are to ever be happy.
There are, of course, many people who sincerely believe they are not creative. My dad’s mother, alas, was one of these. She used to argue with me and insist that she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. Never mind her needlepoint work, or the to-die-for poppy seed cakes she made from scratch, or the beautiful afghans she crocheted.
Just like my Nana, there are untold thousands, perhaps millions, of people wandering through their life journey, admiring others, but convinced they have no ability to share.
And I believe that conviction creates a deep well of sorrow, sometimes turning to anger, because it is just dead wrong. So if you are reading this and feeling that you are not talented, not creative, not imaginative or able to make art (whatever that might mean), I urge you especially to join us in the coming days.
For I believe that many of our conflicts over religion, wealth, independence, territory, and whatever else it is that makes crazy humans go to war can be pre-empted when creativity is being served and honored in our lives every day.
It may seem simplistic, but I am convinced that when our restless souls are engaged in creative expression, when our lonely hands and hearts are turned towards making beauty and joy to share, we are healed in huge ways that, ultimately, heal the world.