Saturday, 23 February 2013

why are we creative?

I have been thinking a lot lately about the creative life.  Each day as I watch my children participate in creativity--writing stories, creating songs, making movies--and I think of all the projects I have going just now, I wonder why we have such a strong urge to create?  I am pretty sure we don't stand alone in this great creative urge.

As my mother slowly dies, I have taken on completing quilts she has started but is unable to finish. The funny thing is that I am not much of a quilter, but something in me wants to see these projects completed.  In the process of cutting and sewing, I am aware that my creative practice is about celebrating life, particularly my mother's life. It is a way for me to cherish her.  I also see the bigger picture of who we are as mother and daughter and who we are as individuals part of humanity.  Practicing creativity is then about making meaning of one's own life--a chance to understand and a chance to heal.  

But creativity is also about beauty.  Whether in design, in texture, in light, in the way words come together on a page, or in the way colours reveal beauty, the creative life allows us to catch beauty and participate in the great universal dance of creation.  Often this dance is silent, but it powerfully reveals who we truly are.  This revealing need not be so public. In fact, it is quite private, I think.  There is a great peace in knowing who we are and the purpose we serve in this life.  Once we've found that, we can just carry on, living life fully and without fuss.

Being creative is also a spiritual practice.  The more I watch the creative process unfold in me and in my children, I am aware that it is indeed a mystical process.  As I watch beauty take shape around me, words fail and it is the unspoken rush of emotions that make it mystical and outside what we know to be normal life.   And yet, practicing creativity seems to be such a normal need.  We need to eat, to move our bodies, and to sleep, but to live a fully balanced life, we need to create too.

Wondering what being creative means to you?


  1. I read your email and came here to realize you have a new blog! Yeah!

    Immediately, in response to why create , my mind goes to God as creator. We are being who we are when we create. Second thought beauty and being.

    Then connection, essence and meaning.

    Miss you dear friend.

  2. For me, it's about self expression - expression of the individual and their experience.

    It's also about evolution - the desire to create something new, to visualise and manifest new possibilities is evolution in action. Always moving, forever changing.

  3. Jill, Thanks for your comment. I like the idea of essence. Somehow when we create, our true self surfaces, our true essence comes into being. Peace, Nicki

  4. Lesley, Expression of the individual and their experience....yes, how they see the world, how they feel it. I am always in amazement at what others create--the beauty is such a window for connection. I never thought to link creativity with evolution...always evolving. Makes me think of a TED talk called "Everything is a remix". Taking old ideas and making them new. We are slowly evolving, right? We will get there,eventually. Peace, Nicki

  5. I think I create in response to God's creating. It's imitative, and an "entering in" to what has come before me and is all around me and will come after me. I also think it has a redemptive theme for me. I struggle with fear of evil, and the world around me (despite all of its beauty) just seems to decay and crumble. I fear it will take me with it, and so I create something new. Something elemental and fresh and new and pure (like bread or music or even a baby!). Something that reminds me how things were at Creation, and how they will be again when all is made right. It's a rehearsal of redemption, and it gives me comfort and strength and hope.

  6. Kristen, I really like this idea that we enter in to what has come before and what is now and what will come later. This sort of long lasting dance that goes beyond our understanding of time---some universal thread maybe that connects us all. Your comment also makes me think about how it is in the act of telling our stories that where we are redeemed. Our creations...bread making, music making, and yes, even baby making...are a way of telling the story of our lives. Thanks for your comment. Peace, Nicki