…think I would be standing in a room that looked like the inside of my mind. Infinite dimensions above, below and all around me. Magical, mystical views. Dots connecting everything. A quiet space filled with wonder.
In the midst of a global pandemic, an election gone off the rails and everything else 2020 has brought, this was pure medicine for my spirit. Which is what creativity - my own and others’ - does for me. It gives me a respite from the hard things in life. It helps me stay lit up, rise above it all, and see life from a different perspective. It helps me make sense of things and find inspiration in the mysteries.
Remember the fireflies
Do you remember the feeling of being in a field of fireflies - the night air filled with their pulsating light, and the rush of being dazzled with a sense of awe?
As children, we were so open to that. Even if we had spent the day getting in trouble for something stupid we did, the fireflies at night would show up and renew our happiness.
We loved them so much, we tried capturing their magic in a jar with holes in the lid so they could breathe. Our parents told us in the morning that they escaped during the night, and we accepted that because we wouldn’t have wanted them to be unhappy or die.
And then we grew up.
How do you see the world, now?
For many of us, focusing on the here-and-now, the necessary details of life, the never-ending emotional dramas on the news and social media, have robbed us of a quality within that is as important as having a heartbeat.
That is, our sense of wonder. Our curious, open-eyed gaze at the world, at people, and even at situations over which we have little control.
We may have been taught we needed to live in “reality.” Or we may have felt that shutting difficult things out protected us. We almost certainly got the message that expressing our real selves was somehow wrong.
But like a balloon that will pop if too much air is forced into its finite space, our thoughts and feelings cannot be contained - day after day after day - without making us feel like we’ll explode. Need proof of that? Look around.
Creative outlets matter
Like a long night of uninterrupted sleep, expressing your creative self helps the synapses in your brain smooth out and heal. Even in the worst of times.
• Like when you’re grieving and have no idea how you’ll heal from the loss.
• Or when you’re dealing with a disease like cancer or Covid, that scares you to your deepest core.
• Or when your head is filled with things you want to scream at your “opponents” in the political domain.
So much stuff happens in a life!
But we have the choice to find balance and peace while it does, and it turns out we came into life with the perfect quality to help us do that.
Did you know?
Walking through an art museum or gallery has the same calming effects on the mind and body as actually doing the art that hangs on their walls?
I witnessed this while working at the bedside of hospital patients facing very scary things. I would simply ask each one if they could give me one word that was in the forefront of their mind right then, and I drew it for them. No matter what the state of their emotions when I entered the room, they fell into a quiet sense of reverie as they watched me bring their word to life. (Stay tuned for a book of these word stories that will turn your beliefs about life and death into points of light in your soul.)
Or did you know that writing something as truthfully as you feel it has been proven to change the situation causing your angst more quickly than if you simply keep it bottled up?
A study of middle-aged men in England who had lost their jobs showed that those who wrote honestly every day about what they were feeling led them to finding not just jobs - but even better jobs - much faster than those who didn’t.
Or have you heard that doodling or writing a haiku boosts your focus and concentration levels, which for 100% of us is really important these days!? That’s not all they do for you, but what a great benefit when your brain feels distracted by TOO. MANY. THINGS.
You get the point.
I won’t belabor it, because it’s hard to deny what science tells us we get from these things.
But what is even more important than what science tells us, is what we know from deep within ourselves. We know it feels good to express ourselves. Whether we’re coloring or carving a block of wood or playing an instrument or writing our hearts out, we enter a state of calm wonder.
We know it makes us feel more alive. We know it even gives us a sense of pride when something that came spontaneously out of us looks good, or sounds good, or tastes good or or or…
We were born creative. It is how we were made, and it wasn’t for nothing that we were endowed with this quality.
I have come to believe that staying in tune with our creative selves is related to staying in tune with our spiritual selves. And there is no more powerful way to walk through the journey of life.
I hope you will say YES to always letting the fireflies within you breathe :)