Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Creativity Block

 "I can't sing on tune." "I don't have a sense of rhythm." "If only I could (paint, sing, write, dance, you name it.)" 

Given the absence of a rare neurological dysfunction, none of those common statements can possibly be true. Singing is an inherent ability. Humans sang before they learned to talk. If our lungs weren't breathing and our hearts not beating rhythmically, we'd be in deep trouble. Sound waves, ocean waves, the entire universe is rhythmic. A child happily paints on walls with his mother's lipstick. Another tells fabulous stories about the monster that lives under her bed. They bang their spoons on the table, dance until they're dizzy.

If we are all born creative, how do some of us become convinced that we're not?  We have to be taught.    By parents who see lipsticked walls as destructive, or "the monster did it" to be a lie. By teachers who find a student's Shakespearean sonnet about a pimple inappropriate for the school magazine. By laws that necessarily require us to obey stop signs.

Some of us are fortunate enough to discover that creativity is a state of being that can be a refuge. We hide it, and ourselves inside it, and continue to grow. But others, who have been punished or ostracized for the new and the daring, lock it inside, forget where we put the key, and wonder why life is so dull.  

The creative spirit may lie dormant, but it never leaves us. It's waiting - maybe knocking once in a while - for that moment when we cast off the "shoulds" and "should nots" and open the door.

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