Creativity is a part of well-being – it is the part of us that allows the envisioning of new (ex new solutions or ways of seeing, communicating, and being – making material what wasn’t before). By making the intangible or intuitive material, creativity offers resilience to the maker, receiver, and community through meaning-making. Creativity allows for increased capacity of awareness – those who make art are the ones that pay attention, get curious, and sense and fully experience the vibrancy of life. By acknowledging the vibrancy and voltaic nature of creativity as well as resultant meaning-making, creativity is recognized as life force.
Freud defined the erotic as life force. Creativity is erotic, sexual, spiritual, life force. These life force energies are not mutually exclusive and often indistinguishable. They are expansive, feeding and supplementing, and amplifying one another into some kind of poetic, intuitive amalgm. Mystical traditions such as yoga and shamanic practice have linked spirituality, sexuality, and creativity (ex. kundalini, the sufi poets, Song of Solomon), as have more contemporary writers, including Audre Lorde in The Power of the Erotic and her other writings, bell hooks in Art on my Mind, Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way, Anne Morrow Lindbergh in Gift From the Sea, Amy Jo Goddard in Woman on Fire, and most works of Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
“No matter how sick I feel, I’m still afire with a need to do something for my living. How will I be allowed to live my own life, the rest of my life?
A better question is – how do I want to live the rest of my life and what am I going to do to insure that I get to do it exactly or as cose as possible to how I want that living to be?
I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. I am going to write fire until it comes out my ears, my eyes, my noseholes — everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor!” (-Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light, on living with cancer, racism, heterosexism, while nurturing her self and her art)
As life force, creativity is soul food, even purpose for living; it is not optional. Because of it’s centrality to being and purpose and soulfulness, everyone is born creative. And yet so many people are cut off from their creative source after assuming or being told explicitly that they weren’t “good” at their craft; not having the resources, solitude, or privilege to try or maintain a craft; or trying a traditional art form and not feeling resonance with that form.
Creativity, however, is as diverse as the people considering it and is beyond the traditional (music, painting, theatre, though those are all wonderful expressions). It can include cooking, moving your body, prayer, ritual, parenting, whatever Thing allows you to tap in to your Self. There is personal and collective power in the trying and the doing of the Thing as well as in making spaces and communities to value creativity beyond the narrow definitions of colonized aesthetics and monetary worth. Your creativity is invaluable, precisely because it is solely and soulfully yours.
One small way is to create consciousness raising spaces around creativity. This offers up shared inspiration and reception of your work, accountability show up for the group and therefore your own growth too, and re-evaluates art from a new paradigm, one of expanded interpretation and appreciation – none of us can ever be Frida Kahlo, but we all bring giftedness.
When was the last time you tapped in to your creativity? As life force and soul-fulness? Do you feel like you need permission or approval to pursue creativity? (if so, this post and the below offerings are your permission)
I have always been attuned to how critical creativity was for my own well-being, though I never felt like I had permission to call myself an “artist” (doesn’t someone else have to call you that? Or you need to make a living from the work?). I feel differently now; no one has the right to gate-keep or license art, and I don’t need the permission of others to occupy “artist”. My tether to my creativity/spirituality/sexuality/life force has allowed for meaning and depth to my life in ways that were healing and restorative – that is permission enough, more than enough, as it is lived experience.
My biggest struggle now is not lacking permission, but time and solitude from my children and paid work, add on changes with covid and the challenges became heightened. I found that I needed accountability to manifest a sheltered space in my life for just creative visioning. This is why I have created our Fireside gatherings (for now, called Fireside Fridays) – essentially a free, virtual space where we gather to work on our craft, independently and without critique. Knowing that others will be checking in, value their creativity, recognize the healing component of creativity, and support each other to be in creative spaces makes carving out the time for engaging in art easier, at times, than doing.the.thing solo. While art is best done in times of solitude, it is also a both/and, requiring both solitude and community.
I have other group offerings, blogs, and poems related to creativity as well, listed below (also see the spiritual well-being and sexual well-being pages) . One on one, I make sure my clients are aware of the importance of creativity and have the opportunity for adaptive art if desired (ex. as a physical therapist and having worked with people with disabilities, brainstorming ways to make their craft more adaptive to their physical needs, such as trying to paint with their mouth if they can’t hold a paint brush). If you are interested in learning more about specific events or working with me, check out the events tab or email me at email@example.com
Pleasure Café http://ignitewell-being.com/pleasure-cafe/
Re-imagine Creativity http://ignitewell-being.com/reimagine-creativity/
The Element of Fire http://ignitewell-being.com/the-element-of-fire/
The Health Benefits of Art (on my Patreon page) https://www.patreon.com/ignitewellbeing
The Power of Words http://ignitewell-being.com/thepowerofwords/
Wild Woman Project Circles http://ignitewell-being.com/wild-woman-project-circles-naperville/
The above content is written by Dr. Allison Mitch, PT (DPT); copyright protected, please cite accordingly. The picture is from Pexels. To work with me or for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Please consider supporting me and my work on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ignitewellbeing
*Please note that none of the above information is specific medical advice, but are educational resources. If you have concerns about your health, please contact a trusted healthcare professional*