I probably shouldn’t have been surprised but I was. What I saw on their faces was fear. Specifically fear of creativity. When I announced I was to host a creativity workshop and then wandered around to see if anyone was interested, there was fear in their faces … that I might want them to participate. Why are people afraid of their own creativity?
I know that I spent many many years miserably denying that I needed to indulge my creative outlets more intentionally and effectively. And I assume I was afraid but I can’t remember anything really but grief. As if I’d accepted that I had to deny this deep urge to be myself and that brought me grief.
At some point, many of us accepted the idea we are not allowed to “indulge” ourselves and our inner children, in ‘non-productive” activities. We are expected to act our age, be responsible, and lead our lives productively, safely. We came to an understanding that our heart indulgences were no-no’s and would distract us and keep us from our task to fend and survive.
What’s so weird about being told to not be creative is that creativity has been necessary for our daily livelihoods forever. We are makers. We make clothing, candles, food, blankets and even fires as a way of surviving. Pottery and gardens, tinctures and jewelry are all creative products found necessary in our lives as human beings. And all required an amount of creativity to pull off.
I think this brain hiccup is more a malfunction of the modern age. Of a production mentality and a righteousness obtained in working hard. The Puritan/Protestant work ethic is the root of capitalism. That being seen as hard-working gets you points with your God, parents, teachers, and scout leader. And playing in ways that make your inner child happy gets no praise from the outside world and therefore must be dangerous to that child’s survival.
It wasn’t until my inner child had an outright tantrum that I realized I may want to pay attention to what was going on inside. And so I set about paying more concentrated and deliberate attention to what I thought I might need to calm down. Turns out it only took a little while of daily creativity to assure my inner child I had her back. I had wasted So much time but now I know that the fear looked like anger and grief for me but it was still fear of being my true self. And only in being our true selves can we ever hope to be truly in touch with makes us happy.
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