Jack Kornfield, Buddhist author and teacher once wrote “I’ve been told the story of a six-year-old girl who asked her mother where she was going one afternoon. The mother replies that she was headed for the university to teach her students how to draw and paint. ‘You mean they’ve forgotten?’ her daughter asked, amazed. Many of us have forgotten how to give voice to our creativity. And yet it is sad that play —- our ability to let go, dance, sing, create — is one of the most wondrous expressions of our aliveness.”
Excerpts from the book by Nina Wise called A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life: Self Expression and Spiritual Practice for Those Who Have Time for Neither.
“Everyone is creative. Creativity is our very nature. But for many of us, the creative impulse has gone into hiding, ‘I can’t draw, I can’t sing, I can’t dance,’ we confess to each other, and we plant ourselves in front of the television for the evening. But the creative impulse that is at the core of all being remains robust within us.”
“Creativity is about having the courage to invent our lives – to concoct lovemaking games, cook up a new recipe, paint a kitchen cabinet, build sculptures on the beach and sing in the shower. Creativity is about our capacity to experience the core of our being and the full range of our humanness. The question of how to become more creative is not about learning anything or even doing anything, but about allowing whatever arises to gain expression. To do this, we must bypass the voice inside of us that says stop. The censoring mind is clever and has an entire litany of reasons we must refrain from expressing ourselves: you are a bad dancer so sit back and watch while the skillful ones dance. And you certainly can’t paint so don’t even try because you will embarrass yourself. You sing off-key and you can’t hold a rhythm – you will disturb everyone within earshot if you open your mouth. And if you happen to disregard this sage advice, you will make a total fool of yourself and no one will ever love you or give you a job. We obey this voice as if being guided by inner wisdom, but when we tune in, we hear a quieter voice calling out to us to express ourselves freely. This is the voice that can liberate us. If we listen and respond, our lives become rich with the pleasure creative freedom provides.”
“It is our nature to be free and it is our nature to express that freedom, spontaneously and without hesitation, through song, and dance, and painting, and poetry and prayer. In the same way that the universe gives birth to uncountable shapes, forms, colors and beings in a grand panoply of flowing, changing manifestation, we too, are of the nature to give birth to myriad forms of expression.”
What are your thoughts regarding the excerpts from Nina Wise’s book?
Has someone you know ever stated “I am not creative.”? Did you respond?
This week if you hear that voice that says “stop” when you think about painting, dancing, writing or inventing a new recipe put your fingers in your ears and go “la la la la la” until you can’t hear it anymore and then proceed with wild abandon to create without judgement, to create just for the sake of creating. Liberate yourself! Set aside time to just play and let go. See what happens when you give yourself permission to just create without a specific purpose in mind. What do you gravitate to first – paints, crayons, scissors and glue?
As Greg Anderson so brilliantly put it
“Focus on the journey, not the destination.
Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
Nina Wise is known for her provocative and original performance works. Her pieces have garnered seven Bay Area Critics’ Circle Awards, and she has received, among other prestigious honors, three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Her written pieces have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Nina lives in San Rafael, California.
Jack Kornfield is one of the leading Buddhist teachers in America. A practitioner for over 40 years, he is one of the key teachers to introduce mindfulness and vipassana meditation to the West. His approach emphasizes compassion, lovingkindness and the profound path of mindful presence, all offered in simple, accessible ways in his books, CD’s, classes and retreats.