My son, now four years old, loves drawing people with really long necks, long oval eyes, a dot for a nose, a jagged line for a mouth and sometimes there’s a torso, sometimes the arms and legs come straight from the neck. He puts marker to paper, or chalk to sidewalk and just goes for it. There’s no pause. No doubt. No I’m worried this won’t turn out like I imagine or what if no one likes this?
I can remember a defining moment for me. As a kid, from around the age of seven or eight, I sewed my own clothes. I loved it. They were awful and crooked and usually fell apart by the end of the day. The next day, I’d sew something new. I did get better over time, and was the student designer in my high school fashion shows and loved nothing more than spending hours creating in my basement sewing room.
Then I spent four years in fashion school and never sewed again. The joy of creation was taken out of the creative process.
That, I believe, is what plants the first seed of hesitation for our creations. We become too attached to the outcome, the critics, the judgements, the grand finale result, and the resistance becomes so strong that we don’t even start the creative process.
It applies to our work, too, you know. We have ideas – ideas for the company we work for, ideas for our own business or an idea of a new business, hobby, or initiative we want to do. We’re sparked, we’re excited and then do nothing. We don’t ever take the first step. We’re afraid it’s silly, or will be a lot of work, or won’t succeed and so… nothing.
taking the leap to create
One of my most favourite moments in the work that I do is during the first week of the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program when our newest students introduce themselves and share a bit of their personal story and inspiration for joining. There is always a huge majority of students who will include something along the lines of:
I’ve been looking at this program for years and finally took the leap.
I am so excited to finally be pursuing a dream of mine.
I’m retired/my kids are all gone / I quit my job… and I am finally doing something for me.
There is an energy that comes from finally taking that leap to create. The creative process itself is healing, grounding and resonates in profound ways, and yet, we allow our fear to stop us before we start.
how can we start the creative process?
What if creation could be part of our everyday lives? What if every single day we set the goal to do one thing that tapped into that inner creative force we all have to create something? Can you think of what your thing would be?
Maybe it’s as straightforward as trying a new recipe and making something new for dinner. Maybe it’s writing the first page of a book you want to write. Perhaps it’s putting paintbrush to canvas, or fingers to piano keys or guitar strings. Maybe it involves knitting needles, tap shoes, a garden hoe, or a roll of wallpaper.
Creation comes in all forms and bringing something new into the world that never existed is a powerful part of the experience of being human. Creativity is built into our make-up – every single one of us. It has nothing to do with left brain or right brain. Creativity is simply how our brains work, and what’s really incredible is like any wiring of the brain – the more you tune into the creative aspects of yourself, the stronger they become. Creative thinking, creative production, creative creating can be strengthened through practice.
how am i tapping into my creativity these days?
As you may be aware, I’ve been working on two things primarily these days. The first is running the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program (it’s the tenth run!) and connecting with my students and answering their questions (and digging in to find those answers) is one form of the creative work I am doing.
The other has been digging in deep, in myself and in research to create my new program. What’s been really incredible to experience is that as I do more and more work getting into coherence, calming the mind, nurturing the space in between and learning about the mind, brain, body and our capacity to create, my creative drive is exploding.
I am back to sewing clothes at long last, doing cross-stitch, getting thrifty and creative in decorating my new house, and pouring my creative energy into this new program. The program isn’t about creativity or the creative process, but as I’m working on it, I realize that one of the ways it will serve those who join is that by doing the work we’re going to do together, creativity is going to blossom.
I have long since come to trust that whatever experience I have in creating something is the experience others will have as they participate in it. I do believe that one of the greatest gifts for our wellbeing, our development and fulfillment and evolution as humans is taking the leap and creating without fear. And that creative energy, all of us thinking and being in the zone of creation, well that is needed right now more than ever. Go for it. Take it on. Make it happen. Send me a photo!
Photo Credit: Nikki McKean
2 responses to “Why Are We Afraid To Create?”
Great article on fear of creativity. Your articles are always inspiring and timely. I love, love, love the pink dress you are wearing. It looks like you might have been going to a wedding. Would love to know where you bought it or if you made it.
Hi Sheila! This dress was borrowed from my friend Christine Flynn, who makes a lot of her own clothes either from scratch or by altering vintage items. She often shares what she’s sewing (and cooking) on Instagram @theyamburglar.