“It takes courage to grow up to be who you really are.” E.E.Cummings
I read something this week that struck me as a well said thought. Laura Riding, an American poet, wrote to a young girl who was curious about her poetry that: “A lot of people think or believe or know they feel — but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling — not knowing or believing or thinking.”
That could be said too, about all the arts. Its what I have been writing about the past few weeks. Its getting into your “soul” when you are in the creative process. Painting what you feel. It should not be about knowing a process or thinking about how you want something to look like it does in your head, or believing that there is only one way to do something.
Almost anybody can learn to think something or believe something or know facts, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. We are born with that ability. Whatever we think we believe, or we know, we have learned from other people: but the moment we feel, we are nobody-but-ourselves. If we work from that core of feeling, our work will be uniquely ours
To be nobody-but-yourself, in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make us like everybody else, means we need to fight a hard battle. Just turn on the TV, look at a magazine, or go on the internet or social media.
Embracing our individuality is essential for personal happiness. Trying to hide or change who we are to fit someone else’s ideals lessens our sense of self-worth, causing self-esteem to plummet and our insecurities to soar.
Creativity requires courage. As I have written before, our creative process is not a path paved with pure joy, but one filled with obstacles, anxiety, and frustration. Without the courage to proceed in our creations even when we are overcome by these unpleasant feelings, we will remain impotent in our ability to create work that speaks to another person in a meaningful way.
Creativity is stimulated when we are passionate about what we are doing. Our creative faculties won’t be stimulated when we don’t really care about the task, we are engaged in. We must be deeply and passionately focused on our work. We must experience what can be called a “creative compulsion”. It is something that infiltrates all aspects of our life.
Rollo May in his book The Courage to Create says that “a life devoted to exercising one’s creativity is to facilitate the development of psychological and emotional health, or the movement towards self-actualization.” The creative process, although it has periods of self-doubt, anxiety, and frustration, is equally strewn with peak experiences, exciting moments of joy, and wholeness, which transforms our sense of self and view of the world around us.
No matter which holiday you celebrate this season, each one calls for introspection and the celebration of life. I want to wish each one of you a joyous holiday. It will not be like other ones we have celebrated, but let us all remember the special gifts we have, and the best gift we can give is one that comes from our heart Be courageous and create from your heart…your core of feeling. Stay safe and enjoy the special feeling that comes with the holiday. Carolyn