Susan and I have been friends since 1996 when I first went to her studio for art lessons. This week she’s turned 65 and is younger than ever. She’s constantly recreating herself. Whenever Susan gets feeling low, she either goes out for a brisk run, or, in the winter, goes speed skating on a frozen pond. She makes it a point to get her friends together for a few drinks and long, therapeutic chats. Susan is more than a survivor; she’s a thriver.
The best thing Susan has taught me is to recalibrate my creative energy whenever I feels I’m getting stale. She’s amazing. Lately she’s been making one-minute videos to put in her art class newsletter and on YouTube. These videos are brief art instructions, pithy “quickies” that extend her influence to reach out and encourage budding artists to pick up a brush or a pencil and just start expressing themselves.
Creativity is not limited to making something pleasing to the eye or palate. All of us possess creative energy, whether for cooking, gardening, writing software, or building homes. The best jobs to have are those that involve some level of our creativity. Unfortunately, a lot of us are in careers that pay us a salary but utterly lack creativity. We might even dread having to go to work each day, drained by being drones, stuck behind computers or repetitious and mindless activity. For this reason every one of us ought to make time for some kind of creative venture. And if we are partnered, we need to support our partners in their creative moments.
I’ve found the most difficult part of being creative is making the time and mental space for it. Creativity requires some energy output, but it also offers us energy input. Since I started painting, my creative “juices” now flow and spill into many areas. I see the deeper reality in the ordinary, and in turn am further inspired in my creation of art.
Coaching ought to address creative time for clients, especially men who can get bogged down in chores and activities that do not seem to be particularly life-giving. A lot has to do with perspective. If we look at even the mundane chores of life as somehow re-creative, as adding to the quality of our lives and the support of others’, then we may find that opportunities for creativity open up before us. Mundane activities may actually be a portal through which we walk, deciding that working with our creative talents is not an option. It is a necessity for life itself.
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