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Saturday, April 3, 2010

"But I Don't Paint"

I admit it, I'm biased! In fact I may even be a little blinded by a belief that everyone is, by nature, a creative being and that this creativity improves our health and wellness and general sense of joy and fulfillment throughout life.

The National Center for Creative Aging and others tout the benefits of art, music, and acting on health and brain function. The National Endowments on the Arts and the National Council on Aging have joined forces to research and promote artistic "creative endeavors" in the second half of life. This is all wonderful and important but somehow misses the mark for most people!

Every time I get in to a discussion about creativity with a gerontology colleague the discussion does not get beyond "the arts". As if that is the only expression a person has for their innate creativity. There are senior dance and thespian groups popping up all over the world. Hooray! I love that there are orchestras and bands and , now, even art gallerias dedicated to the "creative" endeavours of people over 55. But what about the other 98 percent of us who choose or can't participate in these activities? Are we not creative, too? Hmmm! You tell me!

Here is a definition of "creativity" that I find both useful and hopeful at the same time: "Creativity is the ability or power to (intentionally) bring into existence, to invest with a new form, to produce through imaginative skill, to make or bring into existence something new." Where in there does it say that we must be "artistic" or "musical" to be creative?

Using this definition it would seem to be just as creative to plant and grow a garden as it is to dance on stage. It is just as healthy to participate in a program that improves the natural environment as it is to paint a wonderful landscape; and it also improves brain function just as much to read to or mentor a young person as it does to perform an improvisation musical piece.

Please think about this...it is very important. Your entire intentional life then becomes a creative expression. Unique to you! Your passion, imagination and sense of purpose lead to your creative source which in turn leads to something new and wonderful in the world. As far as health and wellness as concerned a new salad recipe can be a Picasso, an intentional hour spent with a child can be an Eric Clapton guitar solo, and fixing a broken water pipe in the basement can be the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

What is your creativity outlet? Have intention!

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