The Universality of Creativity

We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and bones. -Henry David Thoreau

Romana encouraged us to lead full and diverse lives.  I remember that clearly….
During my years of study at university, when I was doing a lot thinking before having much real world experience, I became enamored with the idea that everything is connected and that no matter what a person studies there are common grounds of concluding thought.  Put another way, there are many courses of study to arrive at the same general ideas about living life.

Mostly because of this over-arching idea, but also because I have always tended to be a creative person with many interests, I often end up seeing similarities and common threads where others don’t.  I have learned to hold steady on my course despite not always being well received when sharing my thoughts.  Mostly because I’ve got to stay true to myself but also because in the instances where I’ve had the fortitude to inquire further into why my thoughts were received flatly, generally the person in question’s perspective is so different than mine that it’s obvious we wouldn’t have the same viewpoint.

Since delving even deeper into myself with my foray into motherhood, and occasionally peeking out into the broader world to see what others are up to, I’ve come to realize something about ourselves, we are pretty disconnected.  To me this disconnection takes on many forms, from nature, from ourselves, from our close relations, from our colleagues, from our kids, the list could go on.  I believe that a symptom of that disconnect is to compartmentalize how we express ourselves.

If there’s one personal theme that has come up again and again for me as I work together with my husband to lay the foundation of our family life, it’s integration.  Everything all together under the roof of our home.  Everything of ourselves in the dynamics of our relationship.  Everything that we care about must have a place.  Every aspect of our bodies, minds, and spirits must be served and cared for.  Every person, every being if we include the cat – which we do, has an important role to play in the theater of our family life – and in the world beyond.  Everything is everything.  That’s the sort of life that I strive to live everyday.

What I write about here, hopefully reflects that.  Because in many ways this space is supporting me in fulfilling that vision of a whole life lived in the community of loved ones.  Toward that end, I want to make a point which I’ve attempted to make before about the connection of creativity and our place in the natural world.  I admire greatly people who craft regularly, and people who live more in communion with nature than I do.  By in large, those are the bloggers who I follow here in cyberspace because that type of blogging seems to be the most prevalent.  With my Pilates Body Boost project, I began to connect with others from my own profession of Pilates online.  And now, I feel something of an obligation to regularly write about Pilates here.  Believe me, I’ve got plenty to say on the topic, with new ideas popping up daily in the studio.  But right now, something else in me is asking for a little bit of room to express itself.  It seems that the part of me that loves to sew is really demanding these days and everywhere I look, a new project presents itself.  So fair warning, there may be some clothing posts coming up.  But Pilates is always in the mix.  Even if it’s just in my daily mat.

And since I’m on the topic, I’d like to point out all the ways that practicing Pilates is a creative enterprise.  If there is a group of fundamental human activities (I’m sure that somebody has put such a list together), then creating is surely on it.  I cannot think of a more important expression of the human spirit than creativity.  I’m thinking of this excerpt:
“In a way, her strangeness, her naiveté, her craving for the other half of her equation was the consequence of an idle imagination. Had she paints, or clay, or knew the discipline of the dance, or strings, had she anything to engage her tremendous curiosity and her gift for metaphor, she might have exchanged the restlessness and preoccupation with whim for an activity that provided her with all she yearned for. And like an artist with no art form, she became dangerous.”  – Toni Morrison, Sula

And I’m thinking of the wonderful sense of satisfaction we each feel when we make something happen.  Our bodies are rich material for creating, they are literally putty in the hands of our minds.  Its just that mostly we are ignorant to this.  Instead of being conscious about how our bodies reflect our thoughts and deeds, we are moulding them unconsciously.

This became very apparent to me when I began more serious dance training in college.  Looking at myself in the mirror, in skin tight clothing, amongst bodies already more finely tuned than my own, I realized that everything was there to be interpreted.  Unconsciously, we each do interpret each other based on the physical language of our bodies.   (I mentioned my favorite TED talk on this topic a while back).  It was back then that I became interested in bringing the moulding of myself to the forefront of my mind.  In making that change, I changed everything about my life.  Because of that I feel compelled to share what I’ve learned.

Being that I want to share what I care most about, it’s important that I continually come up with new ways to present the information.  Part of that is being open to the insights that come from all directions of this multifaceted life that I’m living.  Today, the theme is creativity, and the idea is that no matter what the medium, creativity is the common thread that binds us all in this human experience that we’re all having.  Given my recent insight, the slogan “do something creative every day” feels like a worthwhile call to action rather than a trite way to sustain a business selling paper.

Which gets me to the point of acknowledging all of the creative things that we do which don’t fall under the typical definition of “creative”.  So here’s to embracing the fullness and diversity of our creativity.  In that we will find fulfillment beyond what we could imagine in a world strictly defined categories.

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