By Morgan Mitchell | Createress
Everyone is creative.
Let me say that again.
Everyone is creative.
Creativity is embedded in your DNA, it is the essence of that which pulses and glistens inside of the soft miracle of your body.
Whether you like it or not, your soul is stitched together with creative fibers, and your unique expression is a seriously precious thing.
So why, then, do so many creatures feel outside of creativity? Why do I hear the limp and defeated refrain of “I’m not a creative person,” again and again and again? Why do I hear so many professional creatives criticize their own work, or hold themselves to unrealistic standards of productivity?
Why is that when so many reach for creativity, they come back empty handed and full of subtle yet corrosive shame?
If it is the essence of life itself, why then, for so many, can it feel like drudgery, like walking in the dark, like there is never enough, like they are not good enough, like it is something dangerous or even frivolous or irrelevant?
These questions have become the axel in the wheel that is my life’s work: creative vitality.
I have always been an artist, that is my soul’s essence, but sociology is my formal training – the study of systems and societal narratives that inform behavior and patterning.
It is through this lens that I observe and tend to creativity. Not in the personal, largely, but in the broader observations of conditions. Conditions that either support or oppress creative expression.
I find this to be the most hospitable and inclusive way to approach the often illusive and erratic creative life force. If creativity is undeniable as the essence of all life, then it is not that a person can be outside of its essence, but rather, that the conditions, either internal or external, are somehow not able to support the emergence of that creative energy.
I know, this is a lot to metabolize.
But stay with me, here…
Creativity is in all of us. It shows up as newness, growth, grief, revelation, invention, connection, prayer, strategy, awe, reflection, imagination, stillness, frustration… destruction even.
Creativity is big enough to hold all of it, and mundane enough to notice the light dance across the rim of the smallest vase, or the freckle on your chin.
So if there is no inherent deficit of creative energy, what gets in the way of the person and their communion with creativity?
A whole bundle of things:
Busyness, self-doubt, trauma, someone saying we are not good enough or bad, or stupid or that there is no time to be creative that you have to get back to work. Distraction, multi-tasking, too much focus, social media, Hyper-productivity/grind culture, systemic oppression, lack of funds, materials, or time. The confusion between creativity and craft. Fear of messing up, of doing it wrong, or being ridiculed, or embarrassed or feeling exposed and unsafe. Fear that no one will want to hear that I have to say anyhow. The fear of seeming irresponsible, selfish, or of forgetting important things while creating, or turning into a crazy artist….
Additionally, an all too narrow definition of creativity can present another block. A thinking that creativity is only painting or dancing or poetry or working with clay. This type of misdefining locks people out of their own engagement with, and inherent entitlement to the suppleness of creativity…. And after a while, “I’m not a creative person” becomes the shield between the being and their own dance with their life force.
Holy macaroon, that’s a lot. Let’s take a breath.
So if these are the blockages, what sorts of things support creativity?
An expansive and renewed definition is a generative place to start. Creativity is loving another, arranging flowers or clothes or sugar packets, or constellations. Creativity is questioning, and wiggling, and cooking, and crying and asking for help. Creativity is nestled into the quiet moments with the birds and the bustle and groan of the city streets. Just being alive is a deeply creative act.
Other helpful conditions include putting fences around pockets of time to just “be” to tinker, to doodle, to gaze, to dream or to rest. Also nutrients that encourage the babbling brook to thaw from within, such as good music, smells, textures, photos, low light, books of poetry. Permission, the kind you can give to yourself, or receive from a trusted partner in creativity.
Another condition that is not widely discussed is structure. Yes, I said it. Not control, not rigidity, but a steady scaffolding, an earthly bowl to hold the water of fluid expression. A morning ritual, a “time to write” or a promise to oneself to just do nothing for an hour a week. Structure put in place to support creativity, rather than to control or suppress it. Structure that helps the meandering parts of life emerge into form, with the appropriate amount of protection and grounding.
So, beloved creatures, let’s be gentle with ourselves. Let’s practice compassionate creativity.
Whether it is criticizing the volume or quality of art that is coming through us, or feeling like we are not creative at all, let’s start with compassion.
There are a lot of forces afoot, determined to derail you from your creative magic. Take a breath and know the following things to be true:
You are creative just because you are alive.
Your expression creativity is sacred.
Creativity is worth it. In fact, it is essential to the survival of all creatures. Now, more than ever, creative solutions are needed. Now, more than ever, everyone’s unique expression is absolutely needed to speak truth to power, to imagine, to heal, and to hold ourselves and each other accountable as we co-create a new era on this wild and wicked globe.
Inward and onward, beloved creatures.
Now go create!
Morgan Mitchell (she/her) is a createress, consultant and coach from Maine.
Morgan’s work springs from her central belief that vitality is creative, and creativity is vital. Her work bridges art, social science and whole health to offer a compassionate, spacious approach to optimizing and enjoying creative living. Morgan is a certified Functional Medicine Health Coach, social scientist and multimedia artist. She is the co-founder of BeMöbius Consulting,a health and wholeness space offering coaching, community and integrated practices to support rest, renewal, and creative fulfillment.
Morgans Website: https://www.morganmitchell.co/