Are you feeding your creativity?

Oh dear, I slept in and many of you have been looking for the latest blog while I lay snoozing in my bed.  Sleeping until 8 a.m. is epic for me.  This morning it was a result of having my creativity run amok in my dreams to the point of nightmares that triggered strangled cries for help.  My cries were loud enough to wake Greg whose job was to calm me down and tell me everything was okay in a soothing voice.  I heard his voice through the fog of creative dreaming and promptly fell sound asleep again.  He was thoroughly awakened by my distraught cries for help and got up quite early.  I never heard him leave the bedroom; I was already deeply immersed in the next set of creative dreams.

Two Sides of Creativity 

Creativity has two sides, dark and light. One side is the good stuff you write, sing, act, paint.... and the other side is the dark side.  The dark side has the power to plunge you into nightmares and into daymares neither of which leave you feeling happy and whole.  When I was little I had a playlist of nightmares that I seemed to enter into night after night with recurrent themes.  As I got older and started going on sleep overs, I realized that I just had to close my eyes through most of the movies or I would be making strangled noises later in the night that would frighten my friends to death.  The dark side of my creativity and imagination needed no help from books or movies about war or violence.  Neither did my dark side need any assistance in imagining tragedy or catastrophe.  I was always been quite capable of coming up with enough tragic and catastrophically creative ideas of my own.

Dark Side

One evening when we were first married we watched the movie, The Thornbirds.  There was a massive house fire in the movie complete with plenty of tragedy and catastrophe.  In the wee hours of the night, I was rerunning that movie in my dreams except now the fire was in our house.  Somehow I managed to get out of bed, get a pot of water, and I was trying to put the fire out while pulling Greg out of bed.  That was his first encounter with the dark side of my creativity and I scared the bejesus out of him.  He woke up to a crazy little blonde trying to drag him out of bed and figured I had totally lost my mind.  He hadn't had his nightmare training yet and he reacted quite naturally for a strong young man.  He grabbed me and started yelling at me which made me wake up in even more terror wondering why I was out of bed and being dragged around by my new husband while I had a jug of water in my hand.  He learned from his mistakes that night how to manage the dark side in the future in a far more effective way.  Whether it was the dark side of creativity in the light of day or the dead of night, a calm gentle demeanour worked the best.

Fortunately the dark side of creativity no longer appears as frequently, it is far out weighed by the light side.  I have learned to nurture the light side with the inputs that keep the dark at bay, and I am constantly looking for more ways to feed the creativity.   While laying face down in a darkened room with my favourite massage therapist working on a stubborn angry shoulder, I heard about adult colouring books.  The first image that popped into my head was colouring books with naked people in them, but Loretta's Therapeutic Massage is a professional affair and so I stayed tuned into the conversation to see what other images I should be accessing from my creativity banks.  Apparently I had missed out on the latest stress reliever for adults that was none pharmaceutical.  Coloring books, who would have thunk it!

Light Side

I stopped in at Chapters on my way home from the massage for a book fix.  There was no better way for me to trigger the light side of creativity than with a really good book or two or three.  The books were all there lined up in the aisles and on the shelves just waiting for my visit.  One whole table of adult coloring books was on display with tins of coloured pencils.  I picked out a small book of postcards by Johanna Basford then I went searching for two of Brene Brown's latest works.  Within forty-eight hours of the bookstore visit I had finished Daring Greatly and I had used my first postcard.  The book gave me a language for the dark side of my creativity and an understanding that there were others who filter their life experiences through a lens that rehearses tragedy and catastrophe.  It gave me hope that through the spiritual practice of gratitude I can celebrate the light and keep the darkness at bay.  And, the coloring thing was just plain old fun that was really good for the spirit too.

So for today, I will feed my spirit with things of beauty.  I will enjoy the two beautiful tomatoes that are so very different from each other.  Aren't they amazing?  Just look closely.  One is nearly purple and the other bright red.  One is heart shaped, the other is very round.  They are simply but wonderfully creative tomatoes made by the ultimate creator.  I will rejoice.  I will be thankful.  I will play and color and celebrate.  I will be grateful.  I will practice gratitude.  How about you?