Saturday, February 20

re-discovering creativity (ii)

So I chatted about creative need and beliefs about creativity, now I want to chat briefly about value.

I have two powerful needs in my life, two basic aspects to my Self if you will.


I desire so much to help others, to make a difference. Audaciously, to change the world.

For the longest time I had a dream to go to Africa and do anything to help the victims of famine. After giving up that dream, it has returned, and mutated. We hope one day, when the Wildflower is old enough, to do voluntary work in Guatemala, Belize, and other countries in need.

Doing such things will fill my heart. I don't want to part from this world without having done something so significant for others.

Along with that desire, is a need, to be creative.

I couldn't be more obvious in the struggle with this dichotomy, than my studies show. A degree in Psychology, and one in Fine Arts. *cue roll eyes*

My heart has flipped back and forth. One side saying, do something worthwhile, be of service. The other saying, chill out and create.

I have discovered that many people find themselves in a similar tug-o-war, albeit different aspects. One half pulling towards what seems the better, moral, right, path, the other pulling towards something that feels self-indulgent. And we are a society of guilt regarding self-indulgence, aren't we? Even those of us who plunge head first into hedonism do so 'in moderation'.

I look at other people and think that as long as they are decent people and following their passion, urge, need, joy.... then that's groovy. Why do I have such high standards for myself?

I told myself that I had to be as eco as possible, as frugal, as media-conscious, as mindful as possible. I had to be crunchy, and crafty, and upcycle everything. Then I look at someone who has devoted their life to, for example, being green, and I see someone who is doing amazing things.... yet they're not doing everything. They're not doing anything towards helping orphaned children, or those suffering from malnutrition in poor countries, nor are they doing a thing about baby seals being clubbed to death for fur, or saving the whales, or writing to companies to protest the sexualisation of our children.... and on and on into infinity...

What I'm getting at, is that we need to find a niche, because the world is too full, too complex, too brimming with both amazingness and suffering. We can't touch it all.

And then we need to find peace with what the world needs from us and with what we need from within ourselves.

I was pondering all this when I happened to read a story involving people living in slums in India... and it got me to thinking about places I have seen around the world. The worst for me has always been the Rio slums. And amongst the poverty, sickness, and pain, I also saw laughter, play, and beauty. Even the very poor attempted to bring beauty into their lives. They don't dismiss a pretty bracelet, a joyful drumbeat, or body make-up as frivolous.

There I am feeling guilt over arty projects because of their frivolousness in comparison to the world's troubles, and those with very little embrace' frivolousness'.

Right now, I have chosen to be at home with the Wildflower. I am learning to accept and find peace with the way I help others right now. And also I am learning to embrace the validity of creativity to me.

Whatever is a soul-need, is, by definition, necessary. It's as complex and as simple as that.

Right now, I'm creating and I'm slowly letting go of perfection and guilt.... it's a process..... and I've found that the visual journal is the perfect medium for this. I cannot get ENOUGH!



I'll be posting my work on my other blog though... where things are fun and shadowy and arty. So if you want to journey along with me, and especially if you want to explore your own arty creativity and share it, do join me there.


  1. very thoughtful post, Mon. you are so articulate. i am experiencing some of the same things myself. i feel so frustrated at times when i realize what i'm doing and then i think, "wait a minute! i don't need permission and i don't need to make excuses to be able to express my creativity." where did i ever get the idea that i had to?

    loved this. thank you.

  2. I understand not being able to "touch it all." There are reasons why every person is different, has different passions and different talents. Sometimes I think about helping animals versus helping people. I feel that we should value human life over animal life, and I feel guilty if I want to give to an animal shelter because I could be giving that money to hungry children. But if everyone felt this way, what would happen to all the homeless animals? We just need to do what our heart tells us to do at that moment.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with creating art simply for the enjoyment of it, but if you are feeling both the need to create and to make a change in the world, couldn't you combine them? (Though, really, you are making a change...because you got me to dig out my art supplies!) Anyway, just a thought...

  3. ladybug zen - exactly, not permission or excuses... but it takes work/vigilance to give this to ourselves.

    Lisa - I have certainly thought about combining, because that's how I think of course! I must make the creativity valid by connecting it to something bigger, more worthwhile. *roll eyes again*
    So, I probably will at some point, and I will LOVE to do that. But I also have to just do art now for its own sake, without thinking always of MORE.

  4. I could have written much of this post myself Mon. I too struggle with these things. But I feel that I have a good balance now (eh, not a fan of that word, but it fits here I guess)... in fact, I could use more of the creativity right about now.

    The thing is, we are all different... different circumstances and life challenges. But as you said, even the poorest and less fortunate find joy in life. And in fact... the joy and love is all any of us really have. We are more alike than we often realize. We all need to feed our creative sides... we all need to help those around us. We can most certainly do it all... and have it all.


  5. where does this inability to embrace frivolity and creativity come from? i say it comes from the guilt that we are not immediately saving the world by a measurable mark. but wait, are we not impacting the world with our passion, if we allow it to be? by embracing joy, are we not opening hearts and possibility for more of the same? and if we were to close the door on that joy, go to a job of service every day, and ignore this part of us....would that make us any more valuable?

    I think about these things all the time, and argue both for against myself depending on the weather! :)

    And oh yeah, choosing to stay home with a child is of great service to this world. To me, it is the ultimate social work.

  6. Good! Go create for the fun of it! I'll try to do that, too.

  7. A lot to think about and beautifully put. Often struggle with these thoughts myself. Can't wait to follow (join?) you on your journey

  8. Yes!! Yes!! A visual diary is a beautiful tool of process and thanks for the reminder of mine that I haven't touched for months now. Ooh, I'm going to go look at it while I feed Lboy.
    I looked at volunteering abroad for our family but I haven't found an option yet. Er, NOT the right time to be going with little ones, but for sure when they're more independent.
    So I'll be really interested in how this idea works out for you.

  9. love this...and also I think sometimes we don't realize the ways we are helping people...I mean, your journey as a mother here at HM, and your thoughts and ability to express them, have been a big part of the motherhood journey for many of us that have read them...they have helped me I know, even if that was not what you set out to we don't always know the role we are playing in the world, we just have to plug along with integrity to ourselves I think....

  10. A friend sent some art journal pages to me this past summer, and they were so creative, so beautiful, that I removed them from their binder, and they hang on my walls! I love to see inside her headspace with all the textures, colors, images...fantastic!

    I think what the rest of the post was saying to me (cause I do struggle with this periodically) is that if I can focus my talents, my passions, my knowledge into a few concentrated areas, I can make a bigger impact than starting little fires that may never really catch, or spread...

    I feel the pull to serve my fellow brothers & sisters, also. Images we see, & stories we hear, both break my heart, & inspire me.

    Okay, off to check on you in your other telling what you've gotten into over there! haha! I hope it's scandalous. ;)

  11. Your art is part of your soul. It must be expressed. Love this post Mon. You gave me so much to think about.

  12. I am amazed sometimes by the similarity in our thought processes! Beautiful post, and loving Bohemian Shadows!!

  13. P.S. That comment was from A Green Spell. I'm just logged into my other account right now...

  14. I remembered it was you. :)


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