February 2

Today's quotation:

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks,
breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.

Mary Lou Cook

Today's Meditation:

Many people mistake imitation for creativity, and we don't have to look any further than the ever-present entertainment world to see the truth in that statement.  Very few of the current songs or movies on the charts are at all creative; rather, they're imitations of the songs that have been successful before them.  The producers and marketers know that audiences take a long time to embrace things that are truly creative, and time is something they don't have--they need to make their money now, and the best way to do so is to make something that has a ring of familiarity to audiences.

True creativity, though, is a part of all of us that would help us a lot if we were actually to use it.  It gives us a sense of accomplishment, and it gives us a way of expressing ourselves that is truly unique--often a person can express him or herself better through drawing or through music better than he or she can do so through words, but if that person settles for imitating others, then the true value of the creative process will be lost.

When I was a kid, I was hyper-sensitive to criticism.  When I took up painting at a young age, I showed a finished painting to a relative who immediately criticized it.  I didn't pain any more.  As an adult, I took up painting again, and I did what I felt like, what felt good to me.  I ended up throwing away most of the paintings because I had so much fun creating them that I didn't care at all what the finished product looked like.  Nor did I care if anyone else really liked them.  The process helped me a great deal to get over a lot of fears that I had concerning expression, even in other modes of expression, such as speech and writing.

Write a page of gibberish--just let the words come, and enjoy the process.  Draw a picture that just comes to you--trust your arm and hand to do what they have to do to make just the right picture.  Then just let it be.  True creativity is a beautiful activity, and if you can be truly creative, you'll add a richness to your life.

Questions to consider:

Why do so few people try to be truly creative?

What to you is the difference between creativity and imitation?

Why do we tend to put so much value on what other people say about our creative efforts?

For further thought:

Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. . . most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity . . . when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


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