“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Several months ago, I prepared a brief talk, acting as Sunday morning service leader for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County. Today, as I read over my former notes in an effort to rekindle some sense of direction and excitement about my creative process, I push past my ennui, feel my energy rising and decide to share my thoughts as I presented them on that early morning last spring.
“There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our great happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Sign-posts on the way to what may be. Sign-posts toward greater knowledge.” – Robert Henri
The first thing I do when I am looking for inspiration is examine my bookshelves. There is one book that I knew I needed to find in order to begin my research on creativity. It was exactly where I put it eight years ago.
“The Courage to Create,” written by Rollo May was first published in 1975. It was a very important, breakthrough book in the field of psychiatry. Dr. May proposed that creativity “was especially urgent in our day, pressing upon us not only because of our increasing leisure …but also because of our tendency, as in any anxious age, to become mired in the past.” Hence, he sees courage as a prime essential for the creative act. Creativity “required a nimbleness, a fine-honed sensitivity if we are to be able to let ourselves be the vehicle of the new vision trying to emerge.”
He suggests that the need for creative courage (the discovering of new forms) is in direct proportion to the degree of change the profession, business, education, etc. is undergoing. It is the artists – the dramatists, the musicians, the painters, the dancers, the poets, and all who live out of their imaginations – who are the ones to present directly and immediately, the new symbols in the form of images; poetic, aural, dramatic, musical or in words, clay or marble, painted on canvas, as the case may be.
I would like to suggest that while we may not all be in the forefront of global change, we are all creative human beings, that as children, exhibited unbounded creativity. It is an integral part of our natural being.
Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist as we grow up.”
Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”
The creative process represents the highest degree of emotional health, as the expression of individuals in the act of actualizing themselves. Why should we all be encouraged to exercise our creative power? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, lively, bold and compassionate!
“Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about… Say “yes” quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it from the beginning of the universe.” – Rumi