Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.
I have a perpetual calendar and one of the quotes on it addresses relationships. Over the years I have seen that quote from different places in my life and have felt differently about it each time it shows up when I flip the previous day over to reveal the current date. I have hated it, not understood it and now see it, embrace it and appreciate it.
Without quoting it (I would have to go through 365 days to find it), the reference to relationships is powerful. Essentially the quote is a reminder that relationships do not end, they simply change form.
If I could name a portion of my life with a theme, I would say that the last four or five years have been about becoming reacquainted with friends from different times and places in my life. This part of my journey has been extremely joyful, with a few edges thrown in for balance, I suppose. There have been a few who have left my life for a variety of reasons, including choices that I have made to no longer put so much energy into the relationships that offered little more than judgments in return or which had, seemingly surreptitiously at times, taken energy from me. Ah…the twists and turns of life.
So, the most recent friend with whom I have become reacquainted is a musical instrument. The relationship that I had with it has definitely not ended, rather it has changed form. It is a beautiful piece…and has patiently waited for me to return to it. Little did I realize before yesterday that one of the biggest reasons that I could not face it was because of my fear of not being perfect.
Here is my friend…
I used to be able to move up and down those keys and when people came to my home to visit, and asked me to play. I was happy to do it, with apologies for being a bit rusty.
For more than a few years, though, this lovely instrument has managed to sit. The fear that I would no longer be able to play as I once did – mainly because I had not practiced, at all – kept me from even opening it. At one point, I even thought of selling it. But for the economy and the value of nearly everything falling, I would have. I kept it instead…just letting it sit.
Yesterday, I went to dust it as I was dusting in that room and felt a draw to do a bit more than simply clean the dust from it. As I opened the keyboard cover and saw those shiny black and white keys, I thought I would take a moment or two to just see what they sounded like. I then pulled out a couple of classical pieces that I used to play and a couple more contemporary sheet music pieces and almost immediately realized that it was going to take a lot of effort – yes, practice – to even get close to what I used to be able to do.
As I started to feel the judgment rising, I stopped. In that moment, I remembered the beautiful songs that I listen to today that are often very slow, a few keys played individually in soft lilting melodies – some with complimenting accompaniment and others without. The appreciation of the simplicity of a few keys played slowly, randomly, rather than active movement up and down the keyboard started to replace judgment. This changed my whole perspective on the piano and my belief about what was possible.
We are becoming reacquainted, my old friend and me. I know that what we do together will be fun, relaxing and enjoyable…and it’s for me.
I used to think my creative space was adjacent to my office on the lower level of my home. Then I remembered that I now love to play in my food (code for “create in the kitchen”) and just steps away is this lovely space in which my new found old friend, my piano, sits and just next to her is the secretary where I now like to sit and write morning pages in my journal.
The creative expression of my heart is not limited to any one activity and I know and feel that today in ways inaccessible to me before. In fact, the curiosity that I wrote about last week is a call to action for me. Adding color to rooms, exploring places to live, writing – perhaps a book – is all a part of creativity unfolding and enveloping my living space, including the living space of my heart. The intuitive voice within continues its urging…calling me to myself, back to my heart, to that place from which creativity flows, that I might express the best of me and in so doing, invite others to the same.
What are you being called back to?
The room which sat empty or with neutral color…waiting for your creative heart to bring color, texture, to bring life into the space that you and others might enjoy it?
The pencils, charcoal and sketch pad in the box in your closet?
The canvass and water colors which long to be joined in something unimaginable?
The poetry that is yearning to be expressed in that journal or on that paper; you know the one sitting on your desk with the pencil laying on top of it?
That beautiful journal that you bought a long time ago, pages still empty, waiting for your words?
The novel that you have been afraid to write, yet the story just feels more and more intense within…just waiting to be written?
Maybe that piano, guitar, trumpet, clarinet, drums, waiting for your touch, your breath to bring life to it?
Re-kindle, re-connect. We can do it with old human friends and with our seeming long lost creative energy – our hearts.
Lay down the judgments – yours and the other ones you have heard. Leave them on the side of the road and pick up your creative heart and get going. We’re waiting. We need you.
Love…express…share. It’s what we are here for.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.