Cultivating Creativity: Letting go of Comparison
So here I am on a relaxing summer holiday in my birth country, Germany, but as I am committed to continuing my monthly posts for the Wholeheart Project, have this to share. It has been a year so far of discovering joy and meaning, of letting go and letting be, of allowing my own vulnerabilities to show more and learning to be okay with them, of engaging in various projects and themes, and uncovering creativity in all its varieties of form.
How wonderful too that this is the theme for the month: Cultivating creativity and letting go of comparison. Much has been happening for me on the cultivating creativity front. These past two months I have been working my way through Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way with a friend of mine in the US, discussing the weekly topics with each other and uncovering our own creative ways together, and for this month of July I have been engaged in a walking challenge set out by a South African friend of mine now living in Australia, who is into her twelve month of walking for 30 minutes a day and through this started a world wide support network of fellow walkers and discoverers. She also added her own brand of creativity to this challenge, instructions for the month to notice contrasts while out walking and to add in ten minutes at least of task completion. Let me know if you wish to join us.
In all of this creative flourishing I have noticed a few things help me with being creative and the letting go of comparison on this daily journey: intention, practice, patience, kindness, unconditional support, humour, starting over again every day, and connection. Not so different from the practice of mindfulness, from the principles that guide MBSR. Patience, Beginner’s Mind, Non-Judging, Trust, Non-Striving, Acceptance, Letting Go. The cultivating of creativity, just like that of mindfulness, asks of us to just practice, to let go of the need to be perfect and creative in any particular way, to have our being or creativity look like that of another. We often block our own being and creativity for fear of not being judged good enough, by our own fear of not being accepted for who we are and the fear of showing ourselves, of showing up just as we are. What I am learning on this journey of discovering my own creativity and rising to the challenge of doing something creative every day is that I love to play and laugh and have fun and be silly and that being serious and rational and comparing what and who I am to that of others in their lives and careers can be held, nourished, and nurtured with a lighter touch. For me being and cultivating creativity has been about cultivating the capacity to be vulnerable in my own joy and silliness of choices, and in that allow creativity and fun and laughter to permeate my being.
Frida Kahlo who was born and died in this creative month of July sixty years ago was one such creative, who refused to conform to anyone’s idea of what was normal and acceptable, was purported to have said this about feeling like an outsider “ I used to think I was the strangest person in the world, but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
You may not think of you are an “artist” or that you have talent or are creative. My own experience is that we are all creative and that we all have talent. We just need to allow our very own unique expression to be brought forth into this world. And more often than not we already know what that is but we are closed off from it by fear and judgement. Ultimately we long to show ourselves in our very own particular manner. Perhaps for this next month treat your creative self with gentleness and kindness and allow her to flourish and breathe and grow without constraint or judgement. You may be surprised at how much silly fun you can have that can be good for you and how your heart will grow and smile in recognition.