“You cannot use up creativity. The more you use it, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
Are you an Imaginista? A Creativa? An Inspirista? A Wild Enthusiast? If you had your way, would life be lived out loud, in Technicolor, vibrantly glowing, tap dancing to a rhythm that you alone can hear? And then, would you invite people to dance, sing and play along with you?
Sadly, many were encouraged to lip synch, color inside the lines, stay inside the box, play it safe, and keep their light under wraps lest they shine too brightly and intimidate others. These types of messages likely came from adults who feared their own creative gifts and passed on the limiting thoughts. As adults, we have the freedom to discard or accept them.
I was a creative child who would paint, draw and use all 64 crayons in the Crayola box. I would make up songs and stories, design faerie villages when I was in the woods, see myself as a mermaid in the ocean, pretend that my bicycle was a horse, and imagine I could fly. My parents encouraged all of that and yet, there have been times over the years, when I squelched my self -expression, not wanting to overshadow anyone or feel like I was too out of the box.
In my professional life, I recall two supervisors who felt threatened by my free-spirited nature that didn’t adhere to traditional mores and expectations. I did my job well in each case, but each of them was more mainstream in their dress and demeanor and when this walking billboard for color and creativity came to work, they were a bit rattled and made it known.
What I have since discovered is that when I am in creative mode, I am better able to problem solve and come up with solid solutions for myself and my clients. Infinite possibilities are lain out before me, and rather than focusing on the roadblock, I can reroute and GPS-style, recalculate to find these other options.
On my desk at my office sit a magic wand (I ask clients that if they could wave it over themselves and could affect any type of change in their lives, what would they want it to be?), a magnetic poetry kit that they can use to write poems, a Hoberman Sphere (think colorful K’nex in the shape of an expanding and contracting ball that can be used for relaxation breathing), and an Easy Button (the red and white contraption from Staples that when you push it, it says, “That was easy.” I do it at the end of every day before I head home.)
A few years ago, I taught a class for employees of a mental health treatment program and we did an exercise that highlighted the value of creative outlets.
I called it “Creativity Tree.” I invited them to draw a tree…even if it was a lollipop version harkening back to pre-school and then embellish it with pictures and words that symbolized their own creative genius. These professionals who spent their days attempting to enhance the lives of the members of the community, were able to engage in childlike playfulness and wonder. What a delight it was to witness the transformation.
You are invited to enter the Imaginarium in which you can indulge your creative nature. I have designed one in my mind, embellishing and enhancing it, for decades.
We are walking into a round room with windows on all curves and a skylight in the ceiling, to allow in the brilliant sunlight during the day and the star-sparkled night sky. Green, leafy and flowering plants hang above the open windows as a gentle breeze wafts through, making wind chimes tuned to various pitches, dance with delight. Take a deep breath and inhale the sweet aromas of lavender, vanilla and patchouli. Our eyes take in floor to ceiling book shelves containing tomes created from the hearts and minds of many generations of wordsmiths, filled with wisdom and magic. Some I have read, over and over, like old familiar friends and others are waiting for me to turn the pages. There is a large drawing table/desk designed from a reclaimed tree, on which sits my lap top computer which is a place where thoughts turn to words, which turn to images that soak into the minds of the readers and carry them away on adventures of all sorts. A crystal vase contains beautiful wild flowers picked from the fields outside my door and their riotously hued petals spread a smile across my face. As the sun hits its multi-faceted surface, it throws a prism projected rainbow across the walls.
A large violet cushy, comfy lounge chair on which is tossed a fleece lap robe welcomes me to curl up and read. It sits adjacent a curved tree stump table that supports a ceramic plate of a few decadently delicious, calorie free and fat free chocolate chip cookies (Hey, it’s my Imaginarium) and a mug filled with real Indian chai, redolent with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.
Serene sounds waft through the atmosphere. A large CD rack carries music from various genres, including, folk, Celtic, Cajun, Woodstock era 60’s rock, world music, singer-songwriter, drumming and classical which I listen to, depending on my mood.]
On the floor are drums of various sizes; a djembe, a dumbek, bodhran, frame drums, a hang, rain sticks and a wicker basket filled with smaller hand percussion instruments that are brought out to play during drumming circles.
Shelves are filled with all sorts of art supplies, including paints, paper, crayons, markers, clay, buttons, old magazines with which to create vision boards, as well as fabric of various sizes and textures. On the walls hang my works of he(art), that emerge from the combination of these items and my oh so vivid imagination. Joining them are those created by friends who are also artists and it is like having them in the room with me.
In this space, I feel completely free, without writer’s block (I often say that I have ‘writer’s runs’) to let flow the words that tickle my heart and mind, and take shape into stories and articles, poetry and books that are waiting to dance out into the world.
I encourage you to design your own Imaginarium from the seeds of your vibrant creative soul; making it a full sensory experience. Hear, see, taste, touch and smell it all. It will be unique to you. Perhaps you are a woodworker, gardener, musician, painter, interior designer, or chef, so your space may have tools, plants, instruments, a canvas stretched across a wall, fabric or pots and pans. Allow for you own sense of delight to unfold like a rainbow hued tapestry before you.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while” – Steve Jobs