When most of us think of creativity, we usually think of people who are actual artists, right? At least I often do. But creative outlets are not just for creatives. At least they shouldn’t be.
I get a kick out of finding out about people who pursue careers that are not seen as artistic and yet pursue creative outlets. In The Artist’s Way,1 Julia Cameron writes about a successful lawyer who takes up dancing in her free time. Does this lawyer – who grows to love dancing – kiss her law career goodbye?No. But her dancing enriches her life, fuelling her creativity and giving her a renewed energy.
Even politicians have boasted the benefits of creative pursuits. Sir Winston S. Churchill sung the praises of painting in his book Painting as a Pastime. And more recently, George W Bush made headlines for his painting exhibition. Granted – in the case of these former leaders – their dabbling in the arts have been after they’ve left office.
Although in the case of East Timor’s Xanana Gusmão, who’s served as both East Timorese President and Prime Minister (at different times), painting became a way to fill his days while imprisoned in Indonesia prior to East Timor’s independence. In fact, it was during his time in prison that Gusmão first learnt to paint, referring to painting instruction books his (future) wife sent him.2
The bottom line is that creativity enriches our lives. You only have to look at nature to see that there is no limit to creativity. It surrounds us.
In The Journey of Desire, John Eldredge writes:
a single maple leaf is woven with greater intricacy than the finest French lace – even though it will fall with the winds of autumn.3
As I’ve been writing this post, it has been raining outside. A few moments ago I stepped outside to see the most magnificent rainbow. Yes, indeed. We live in a creative world. And we are meant to be creative.
So whether it’s cooking, painting, playing an instrument or any number of things, the benefits of allowing yourself to indulge in a creative outlet are immeasurable!
‘You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.’ ~ Maya Angelou.