I really shy away from using words like “crusade” or “evangelist” due to their religious connotations, but on occasion, I think these words can be apropos. For example, at times I feel like Be Brave. Lose the Beige is on a creativity crusade and I’m an evangelist singing its praises, so convinced am I of the potential life-changing/life affirming capabilities of creativity. Pretty strong statement, huh? Well, a New York Times article entitled “We’re All Artists Now”, validates this contention. The article’s author, Laura Holson, leads off by saying “Our best selves are merely one doodle away. Where once drawing and other painterly pursuits were the province of starving artists or simply child’s play, unlocking one’s creativity has become the latest mantra of personal growth and career success”.
I’ve extolled the creative virtues of doodling (see Doodle for your Noodle) and coloring books for grownups in previous posts. More than 60 books are expected to be published on doodling and a meditative drawing technique called Zentangling in 2015. Johanna Basford has made coloring cool for adults with her three books –Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, and An Inky Quest -two of which are topping best seller lists this year.
This NY Times article noted that creativity has the same holistic benefits as a weekend at the Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa (and much cheaper, I might add). The Mayo Clinic recommends the health benefits of painting and ceramics. A four-year study found that people who took up creative endeavors at middle age suffered less memory loss.
Elizabeth Gilbert, of “Eat Pray Love” fame, has written a new book entitled Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear. She argues creativity is not about dropping everything and becoming an opera star, but rather life driven more strongly by curiosity rather than fear.
Gilbert talks about her father’s passion for beekeeping. He did not abandon his practice as an accountant but rather folded his dream into his every day life.
Whether the economy has improved is up for debate. Many people remain stuck in jobs they do not love. Creativity enables fulfillment in other aspects of our lives. Let’s face it the left brain linear thinkers among us have reduced the concept of creativity to a “trivial pursuit”. In reality, people need to maintain some sense of themselves and to keep their soulful spirits in tact.
Throughout the country creativity clubs are sprouting. Members keep in contact to help each other rouse imaginations.
Living a creative life is hardly a new idea. Robert Henri, an artist and teacher in the 1920s, wrote The Art Spirit. He counseled his students that artful living is as much an attitude as a practice. Then there is Julia Cameron, writer of The Artists Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. Her newest book, It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again: Creativity In the Golden Years, will be published next year.
Cameron writes how many of us feel it is too late as we have squandered our creative capital by investing disproportionately in the hopes and dreams of others. “Others think the only path to a creative life is a quit your job or nothing proposition”. Cameron says by fantasizing about doing your art full time sometimes means not even doing it part time or at all.
Many of us are currently in the midst of transitions- work to retirement, work to grand-parenting, work to a different kind of work, and even health transitions. A Be Brave. Lose the Beige motto reads…
Running from meeting to meeting, checking off the to-do-list—That isn’t really living. Discovering the playful side of life. Spreading joy. Being colorful…clever…creative.
Now, that’s living!
Just like the accountant/Beekeeper mentioned above, try folding your dreams into your daily lives. Even a little creative thinking can produce seismic changes.