By Kate James, Speaker at A Meaningful Life Feb 1
The year I turned fourteen was the year I last had a change of school. Before that, I hadn’t been at any one place for longer than two years. I developed the ability to make new friends but my education was affected in more ways than one.
I did okay in the academic subjects but always being the new girl at school meant I lacked the confidence to take risks in any of the classes where I was more ‘visible’. Art, music and drama fell into these categories. So I simply told myself I wasn’t creative.
Yet I was drawn to these things. I was passionate about music and in awe of anyone with a natural ability to draw. I felt a deep craving to be part of the world where people were able to create beautiful things. I dated musicians and artists and all of my friends were creative.
Eventually, in my early twenties, I found the courage to enrol in a photography course so that I might be able to make something beautiful myself. It was the beginning of a journey that would become my lifelong quest… to learn to believe in myself as creative and to live a creative life – in spite of my inability to sing in tune or sketch the perfect replica of a still life.
In fact all of us are creative. We just need to believe that we are and make the time to explore different ways to express our creativity. Here are some…
1) Be curious
One of the things that will enhance your creativity more than anything else is curiosity. Ask yourself questions about what you see, taste, smell and hear rather than viewing the world through the same eyes every day. Next time you go for a walk, look at everything around you and ask yourself ‘what colours would I use if I was going to paint this scene on a canvas?’. It’s fascinating to discover that the ocean can be as much a mix of black, silver and purple as the shades of blue or green we imagine it might be.
2) Make time for solitude
Many of the greatest artists in the world including Pablo Picasso, Joseph Haydn and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe espouse the value of being in solitude. Being creative means giving yourself time to just be.
3) Try a creative activity
It’s impossible to develop your creativity without immersing yourself in a creative pursuit. Join a class that interests you or explore your creative side in your own time. Write a poem, cook with an ingredient you’ve never used before, buy some paints and a canvas and create an abstract piece for your eyes only. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way suggests that the most effective tool in creative recovery is to start each morning with a free writing exercise she calls ‘morning pages’.
‘What-iffing’ is a tool to free your mind of its usual constraints. We often limit ourselves by the way we think. We tell ourselves we’re not creative so we don’t pick up a paintbrush or sing out loud. Ask yourself ‘what if anyone could learn to sing?’ or ‘what if someone likes my abstract paintings?’. What would you do if the consequences didn’t matter and the pleasure was just in the act of being creative?
5) Do something different
Just as we view the ocean with an idea that it should be a certain colour, we become fixed in our views about what we like and what we don’t like rather than opening our minds to all of the possibilities around us. Being creative means being open to new ideas. Find a different mode of transport to travel to work, visit a new neighbourhood, try a new restaurant or listen to music that is outside your usual genre.
Soul Sessions salutes coach Kate James,
founder of Total Balance Group
When and where will we all meet again?
Tomorrow? Fresh soul daily ~ A Grand Love Story
Friday Feb 1? In person at our Melbourne launch with Kate James ~ A Meaningful Life
Any time day or night? Soul Sessions Facebook page