Monday, August 24, 2009

Can We Really All Be Creative?

I woke up this morning with this very question in my head. My eyes weren't even open yet!

There are all these people out there "life coaching," and "soul coaching," and leading workshops about dreams and creativity and following your heart, and well...what the heck?

Can ALL of us really stay at home and paint pretty pictures for a living!? Or write poems or write books or be creativity gurus!?

This had me quite distressed and I wasn't even dressed.

And then it hit me: I am the product of the industrial revolution. We can pretty much thank Henry Ford for the mess we're in -- turning humans into cogs as he did.

Immediately, I realized how utterly important buying handmade is.

Imagine. The way we live now? This is a very small portion of human history -- this cog life. This waking to an alarm, getting into a car, streaming like ants to jobs that we hate, that no longer challenge us or make us feel alive.

We are so bored that we mistake material gain with happiness.

We are so bored with ourselves that we seek momentary relief by buying stuff. Then we go back to work at jobs we hate, so we can have the momentary relief yet again.

We go on vacations rather than living lives that are invigorating every day.

But imagine again, how it used to be.

Those shoes you're wearing? That dress? That necklace? The cup you pour your espresso in? It was all made by a person, and very likely, it was made by a person with whom you have developed a relationship.

Humans were not built for this life we live. We were truly built to be creative. Now we have dangerously and detrimentally limited the idea of creative to artists.

We often speak of the planetary destruction of the industrial revolution but take a moment to really contemplate what it has done to the human spirit.

If you are interested in topics like this, I highly recommend the book, The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood for Our Time, by Matthew Fox.

He outlines what has happened to us and ways we could fix this.

He also shows how this all leads to boredom and how boredom leads to violence.

Being bored, not being creative, makes humans angry. As it should.

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)


Jennifer said...

Oooh,interested am I! Very nice... as always. You get me every time chick:)

Jennifer said...

PS. I was just thinking the last few days that I keep searching, searching, searching for the me. For the happiness. For the joy. And then I thought maybe I should just DO the things that come naturally to me- not the things I have to FORCE, and see how things turn out...

Girlie-Queue said...

Hulluu Love,
This is a brilliant question / realization. I too am often struck by the "Can we all just sit at home and paint?" question. But I think what you've outlined here is one of the huge reasons I found you and Jamie and Leah and Leah and some other beautifully creative souls. I realised that I just need to "DO" more, *BE* more creative about how I go through my life. Whether that means being an 'Artist' for a living (yes, I do dance, but not as I would *like to* nor as I would consider myself a "Dance Artist"... the idea of which is a novel itself)
At ANY rate, what simply being around creative types has given me recently is a new lease on life. That may sound drastic and even dramatic, but it's true. I feel as though I am seeing the world *differently*, as I did when I was a small child spending days of nothing but 'creating' my reality with my Grandmother as the navigator. I'm on a return voyage :)

sherry ♥ lee said...

Great thoughts to take away and think about.

merr said...

So, somehow, someway I found you via that great poster your friend designed around your words and have been following your blog since. I don't even know you but girl, I love you! Today's post was s-p-e-c-t-a-c-u-l-a-r! It' almost like you are speaking to me, confirming my ideas, making me laugh, sometimes making me contemplate (very deep-thinking) and always reminding me of the camaraderie of wild women in this big world that surround me. THANKS!

Stefanie said...

Oh - good question! I think we need to broaden our definition of creativity. Too often the word is reserved for "the arts". Cooking, sewing, gardening, carpentry, web design, and computer programming can all be creative endeavors. Even running a household can involve a certain degree of creativity. So maybe we can't all be "artists", but I think we can all use a little more creativity in our lives.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll have to put it on my list.

Marisa @ Getting Back To Basics said...

You make some really good points you always do. You've given me something to think about!

Emma said...

Yup, yes, yes!

We cannot all be artists who stay home dependent on other people doing the drudge work that supports our way of life. (Which is what a lot of this coaching encourages, I think. I'm not saying ALL of it does.)

We can all be creative, engaged individuals crafting our own lives. That'll mean having fewer things, living more locally, and not trying to 'do it all' or 'have it all.'

This is a huge topic. A VERY important topic for this time. I'm done commenting for now, though.

Happy Thought-Provoking Monday!

Louise said...

Blisschick, I love your blog, and this has to be my very favorite post so far.
I am surrounded by people who say things like, "Well, we have to make a living" to justify working a job they hate, or, more often, tell me to go get a real job (I am a globetrotting kundalini yoga teacher).
You are so right, we have to buy handmade as often as possible... We have to give everyone their chance to make a living doing what they love.
And we have to remind ourselves and each other of this frequently, because the opposing viewpoint is very, very prevalent.

Jo said...

Love this post - thanks for taking me to the next step in my current thinking!

Rowena said...

My answer for you, and I am 100% secure in this answer, is that yes we can, as we are all already creative.

This is the leap that allowed us hairless monkeys to really BE humans, in my opinion.

We create all the time, whether it is creating a soup or a pleasing arrangement of pillows or a poem or a new idea that brings commerce a new influx of hoochiecoochies!

We ARE creatives. And accessing that creativity is the journey that can set us free. (there are other journeys that can do it, I think, but this one is my mission.)

Now, there's another question. Can we all be professional artists? No. But then we're making a mistake if we think that the value of art is in how much you can sell it for.

mommymystic said...

What a great post to come back to. I had never thought about it in these terms - that we used to create so much of what we used in our own lives, and that we have lost that. It is interesting because I often used to say that I am not creative, because I have a very logical, analytical mind. But I have come to realize that writing, even the kind I do, which is not particularly poetic, is a powerful creative outlet for me, and that I NEED it, for me.
But I do think there is still an unanswered question here, in terms of the burgeoning self-help/spiritual seminar business, which I also never quite know what to think of. On the one hand, I think, 'well, everyone will just gravitate to whatever is right for them' and on the other it can sometimes seem downright competitive, at least here in LA, and I wonder about that, honestly. But I don't want to fall into an 'attitude of lack', and so instead try and think that more is always better in this case.

Tess The Bold Life said...

This is very descriptive and to the point. I haven't read Matthew Fox for years. I'm very interested in what he has to say!

Dianne Poinski said...

I recently found your blog and I love this post. So much to think about.

When people tell me that they don't have a creative bone in their body, I ask them - do you cook, do you garden or fix up your house? The answer is usually yes to one or more of those questions.

So while we all might not be able to make a living being creative, we can all help make the world a little easier to live in if we share our gifts with each other.

svasti said...

I remember the first time I had that experience of going on a long holiday (4 weeks) and coming back and... feeling mystified. Ohhh, *this* is who I am when I'm not working in this rigid way, in a job I wouldn't do if I didn't have to earn money.

Since then, its all been about trying to integrate that person and my work person together, so they aren't quite so different.

Yes - making things with our hands, doing things with our bodies, these are ways to bring ourselves back to who we are.

So dance, write, paint, sing, colour, build, make, cook, garden... do whatever it is that brings you back to you.

I don't think we can all be 100% artists, but there's definitely a bit of artistry in us all, even if we don't know it yet.