I love to paint, color, dance, sing, cook, and garden. When I say love, let’s be clear, I love the way I feel when I do these things. I have no particular skill in any one area. I just notice that I feel better during and after engaging in creative activities. Elizabeth Gilbert describes human beings as “born makers” in her amazing book, Big Magic. She poses the question to us all, “what if the work wants to be made and it wants to be made by you?”
This idea that creativity has been looking for me and is delighted to find me made me giddy like a toddler. Creativity has often been something I would only let myself engage in if I did it well. If not, all creative endeavors were designed to be activities for improvement, striving to be better.
What if the simple act of engaging in a creative pastime, with no expectation to have a finished product ready for judgment was necessary? Would that make you more likely to do creative activities?
One recent Saturday, I took a bag that I had in my “craft closet,” the home of all things gift bags wrapping paper, glue, paint or party streamer for my home, and assembled a few items that I could use to be spontaneously creative with, no end result required. Sharpie markers with various tip sizes, glue sticks, watercolor paints from a kid’s paint set, a journal I like, and of course, a glue gun went into the bag.
It felt good to pull the thing items together in one place and every time I take the bag out of the closet, I feel a little bit of excitement. Watch a two-year-old when they get crayons and paper. The opportunity to be creative with the only assumption that you are a born maker and you can do whatever you want can be a powerful tool to calm anxious thoughts and can sometimes slightly lift a melancholy mood. Taking a few deep breaths during the process or inviting someone you care about to join you can be an added bonus.