Monday, March 17, 2008

Courage and Creativity, Part II

First, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Let’s all do a jig in celebration. Let’s all write/dance/paint with leprechauns!

In my blog on 2/18, I raised the question, paraphrased here, What is courageous about creativity? It took me a while, but here’s my personal answer.

Creativity is the act of bringing something new forth from the materials/emotions/situations in which we live. The form might well be almost infinite, in a number of realms: language, movement, shape, color, taste, even odor (there’s a word I can’t think of this moment for perfume-makers).

The feeling of safety comes, most often, from familiarity and trust (trust building, also, from familiarity and consistency).

As creative people, we choose to move from moments of “safety,” of being in the known, the already experienced, into the unknown. Like the “Fool” in the Tarot deck, carrying the form of our creativity in our hobo-sacks, we step off the ledge of safety into the unknown. The “Fool” often represents new beginnings in a Tarot reading. It is safe to say, then, that there’s at least a bit of foolishness in the creative act.

It takes a lot of courage to play the Fool.

It takes a lot of courage to step into the unknown.

It takes a lot of courage to risk failure---and a lot of courage to risk success.

Taking on an even larger edge of the discussion…In the Western world in which we live, we come from traditions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity) in which the Deity has created the world, and the entire population of it. So ”creativity” is seen or experienced in a deep, learned level, as a God-act.

How much courage it takes to step into the realm of God-action!

Does that make us “gods”? No, I don’t think so. Does it make us more “godlike”? In a certain sense, yes.

I, personally, and absolutely, believe that creativity is a sacred act. No matter what we’re creating. (Yes, I believe there can be exceptions to this statement.)

And it takes a lot of courage to make sacred acts.

Sci-fi writers might understand this: creating whole new worlds, sometimes life-forms that didn’t exist until they put them on paper or screen. But they’re not the only ones. We all feel that sense of expanding, of our hearts opening as well as our minds as new ideas, shapes, motions, connections fill us as we create.

It takes courage to remain open to new possibilities. It takes even more courage to form those ideas and thoughts into a tangible art form---of any kind.

And so we risk---our selves, our sanity, our safety, our security---to walk the path of creativity. Without the risk, everything would stay exactly the same. No change. Stasis. Life requires change, growth. It’s part of the natural cycle. Those of us who are courageous enough to participate in the continuing creation of the world around us keep life happening. We are contributing to the future of life on the planet we live on just by being brave enough o create. We are courageous enough to keep the spark of change going, to keep the creation of the world moving forward.

Creativity is being courageous enough to open ourselves to possibility, to newness, to what-comes-next.

Even in its smallest forms of expression, creativity is a courageous act.

I’d love to read the thoughts of others on this (or other) topics about creativity. Please blog back!