Reconnect with Your Creative Self and Get Happy May 24, 2018 13:04

Want more joy and playfulness in your life? Start to unleash your childlike creativity.

creative self

Precious Time

We need these open doors — these permission slips to be childlike again. Our lives seem so incredibly busy that taking time to relax seems impossible, and taking time to have fun doing something creative seems almost frivolous. But it is these moments of creative expression that recharge us, and that bring joy to our lives so we can return to our tasks with enthusiasm. As authors Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst, point out: “Remember those epic afternoons, spending hours sticking paper onto newspaper to make collages, drawing things that were unidentifiable, and writing nonsense in a diary. […] We were happy.”

creative self

Yet our lives as adults are so full of plans that we have little time left to experience surprises and spontaneity anymore. A Book That Takes Its Time encourages us to carve out time to tap into our creative nature where funny ideas and happy thoughts can emerge.

Express Yourself Fully

As we get older, we begin to limit our creative expression to singular activities, and we create labels around that expression so that we become: chefs, writers, actors, painters, poets, piano-players, singers, photographers, potters, knitters, graphic designers, app developers, engineers, and chemists. We forget that we are a species that can create in hundreds of thousands of ways, and indeed, to create is what gives us purpose and joy.

creative self

Often we trap ourselves in a mindset that we should focus solely on our craft — that practice makes perfect, and we shouldn’t distract ourselves. Sometimes we even think that creativity is for others and not for us — forgetting everything we do is a creation.

What would happen if we did take a little time to try creating something different? Perhaps affording ourselves time to sort through images to make a collage will result in inspiration for our novel. If we reflect upon an inspiring quote and bring it to life as a poem or picture, we may well return to our work more enlivened. Surely, in the same way doodling has been shown to relieve stress and refresh our minds, any different creative expression, whether it’s origami or welding, can actually release blocks and increase our creativity. It puts us back in that childlike state where the inspiration can flow through without obstacle, and where energy and joy return. When we broaden our exploration of our connection to creativity, we welcome in more creativity.

creative self

Re-ignite Your Fun

One of my favorite things about A Book That Takes Its Time is that every page ignites a spark inside that calls for no commitment other than to be open to doing something fun. We have a tendency to become very serious about “being creative.” We turn our expressions into careers that come with financial ties and pressures. Or instead of just playing around for a few hours developing a new recipe, taking photos or building a treehouse, we can convince ourselves that this needs to become a hobby if it is to be worthwhile. We believe if we’re going to invest our time and money into something, then we need to be serious about it. And that forces expectations around the outcome. We ask ourselves, Will what I create be any good? Almost immediately we begin to dull an endeavor that was supposed to be light-hearted. But we can bring more levity to our creativity by learning from our child-selves. As children, we were in fact, creative and resourceful in our creativity. If we wanted to play with a Frisbee, we found someone who could lend us one long enough to try it out. If we wanted to grow some seeds, we found someone who could show us what to do. We regarded everything simply as an experiment. We never gave much thought to the outcome because we were so engaged in the moment, and if it didn’t grab us, we simply did something else.

creative self

When we return to seeing creativity through these more playful eyes, we become more inclined to make time for it in our schedules. Then our lives can become what the authors call, “an unhurried adventure in creative mindfulness.”