*An excerpt from my 2014 Holiday Letter
Are you creative?
Do you feel creative?
Do you have space for creativity in your life today?
What would you do if you had the time and could be compensated for creating?
Did most of you answer: No. No. No. Hmmm. I am not creative.
Did a handful of you say: Yes. Yes. I don’t have time for it. Write. Paint. Build furniture. Dance. Sing.
Did any of you answer: Yes. Yes. I create everyday. I am full time artist. (Note, if any of you answered this way, please email stat. I’d like to know how you make it work.)
My dear friends, in December, I challenged you. I double dared you. I asked you to consider the questions above.
As many of you now know, along with truth-telling, daring, and being bold, I have also been thinking a whole lot about creativity.
I have been thinking about where it fits in our lives now that everything has gotten so digitally convenient – thank you Amazon Prime. I have been pondering what it must of have felt like back in say, hunter gatherer societies, when people had to get creative to find food or build shelter; to make clothing or to find comfort. Now listen, this doesn’t mean I want to audition for an episode of Survivor or that I have come to romanticize movies like The Blue Lagoon circa 1980. I am not interested in taking what we did back then and reapplying it to life today, like fishing for food in Lake Murray and pasting leaves together to make clothes.
I am interested in where all of that creative energy went. Who has it? Who uses it? How many of us? And for those of us who are in so-called “creative fields” is it in fact filling that space, that primal vacancy we humans carry that urges us to create – or has that type of creating “become work.”
While researching the topic recently, I read somewhere that if you ask a group a children how many of them feel creative, almost all would raise their hands. I am trying to envision a room full of boys and girls squeaking, I am, I am, I am. So WHAT happened? What happened to us? As adults? As a culture?
Related Sidebar: After a full year of correspondence with my favorite wellness spa, Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, I was finally accepted as a guest presenter to speak on the above topic together with a weeklong series of writing workshops! For a while now, I have been dreaming up connections between creativity and health and wellbeing. And note, if your mind went to singing on a treadmill like musical artist Pink does, or painting with gliders in a functional setting, you are totally off. What I mean is this:
We as a society have adapted and almost fully embraced the mind, body, soul movement. It’s everywhere. It’s taken social media by storm, I have even succumbed to instagramming green smoothies and moments of yogi bliss. The truth is, even if we don’t meditate, or practice yoga, or eat clean, or sleep well or exercise several times a week, we all know and can’t really deny that there are health benefits. I mean, UC Davis, my alma mater, is studying the brain on meditation (think Monks hooked up to MRI machines!) and scientists have already documented changes in the brain as a result of these mindfulness activities? So I began asking, where does creativity lie on this continuum? Who is studying it? And why is it like the bastard stepchild in the integrative health movement? I asked several of my friends and the RLP staff:
What if we treated creativity as if it were as important as eating, sleeping, and exercising?
What if “creating” was essential to health and wellbeing?
What would your life look like?
What would our lives look like?
So this weekend I am giving you another chance to revisit the double dare: I double dare you to first spend 15 minutes or less assessing what YOUR life would look and feel life if you integrated time to create into the mix, use a journal if you feel so compelled. I ask that you imagine that your life depends on it; like eating well or sleeping. I ask that you embrace the idea that “Creativity is a part of you…that no matter who you are, some degree of creativity is necessary for wellness and contentment.” (Barron, MD) And then I dare you to spend an hour creating. Something. Anything. “I’m not very creative” is no excuse in this dare. There is no such thing as creative people or non-creative people (always back to Brene Brown); there are only those who use their creativity and those who do not.
I double dare you to create my friends, to believe that you’ve got it, that it’s important, and that there is time. And email me when you do! And if you can’t, if you just can’t harness it, come see me in 2016 at Rancho La Puerta. We can do it together.