‘Creativity is like blood to the soul- oxygenating our sense of purpose, nourishing the wellsprings of our joy and replenishing the vitality of our passion’
A mere 100 years ago the only music one could hear was live music. Now less than a fraction of one percent of music we hear today is live. For centuries, in villages and towns throughout the world, people came together to play music, to dance and sing. Now, in place of our own dancing and singing, we watch others perform on television and in movies. On the one hand it is wonderful that we now have access to so much creative talent in music and the arts of dance, theater and film. And yet, in venerating pop stars, we often abandon our own creative powers, licensing them to express our thoughts and emotions for us. We give to others the role of our own creativity- allowing ‘professional’ artists and musicians to be the gifted ones entrusted to create on our behalf. In this bargain we can lose far more than we realize. When we give our creativity to ‘art specialists’, we relinquish the experience of BEING and the vitality that makes us feel alive.
“…In venerating pop stars, we often abandon our own creative powers, licensing them to express our thoughts and emotions for us.”
Why do we ask others to do our expressing for us? I believe we have grave misconceptions in our current culture about art and creativity. Art is treated as “Icing on the cake”, an afterthought of decorative embellishment that can be applied after the real structure and substance are in place. We defer our expression to a special group of ‘professional creators’. In the world of biennale’s and high-end galleries, the genius of a chosen few is extolled as they pursue clever ‘notions’ and intricate ‘investigations’ decipherable only to art critics. The rest of us can add a little creative embellishment- so long as the real ‘nuts and bolts’ are already taken care of. We can have our hobbies- a woodworking project for the weekend or something to knit for the kids. But we do not believe that art and creativity are more than supplemental enhancements to the ‘real’ world.
What happens when the arts are reduced to garnishment and adornment, and when the power of creativity is projected onto an elite few? Art, which speaks in a language beyond words and reason, has little capacity to plead its case in the court of the verbal and rational. What cannot be spoken remains silent- this is hardly an effect to make the headlines. And yet its effect is everywhere, in parched and shriveled souls who roam like hungry ghosts in an arid landscape. And its all the more confusing because there is something called ‘art’ that is displayed in the hallowed sanctums of museums and galleries; things like dead sharks in vats of formaldehyde, giant stuffed giraffes with penises, soiled beds littered with empty bottles and condoms- what ever could we be missing?
We are missing an art that comes from the realms of the soul and spirit, replenishing us with the potency of the stars, saturating the diaphanous tissues of our daily lives so that we are alive again. We are missing the creativity that flows like blood in our veins. We are missing the doorway to the inner sanctum of our own souls, the shimmering portal that opens when we are engaged in creative process. The arts have a unique capacity that is found in few other human enterprises. Whether dancing and singing or painting and sculpting, whether clay, collage or poetry- the arts in their myriad manifestation have a precious capacity to enliven and awaken us. Creative expression has a vitalizing and catalyzing power that belongs to all of us. When we consign it to ‘art specialists’ it becomes decoration and entertainment.
“ We have collapsed the immense dimensions of cosmology to the thin surface of commodity.”
In its origin, and in aboriginal cultures to this day, art is a living reality, a way to tap cosmic forces and to commune with the living presence of the cosmos. We have collapsed the immense dimensions of cosmology to the thin surface of commodity. “Western culture regards art as a commodity to be sold in exchange for money, prestige, power. Aboriginal cultures regard art as a living reality- a means of coming into direct contact with the life-force of nature, the presence of the sacred. Pre-industrial society did not perceive art in terms of its commercial value.” Art was a means of communing with the realms of Spirit and accessing its potency to infuse human life with meaning, purpose and power.
It is time to reclaim the profound power of art and creativity. Creativity is intrinsic to all human beings. We have assumed that only ‘artists’ can be creative- ‘art specialists’ entitled to create art. We think that you must be creative in order to do art. But the opposite is true. Doing Art activates creativity. Whether playing with paint or clay, movement or melody, the Arts can activate the flow of original, spontaneous, creative expression in anyone who uses them. When we engage in creative process we open the channel for a flow of inspiration to move through us. This flow is like blood to the soul- oxygenating our sense of purpose, replenishing the vitality of our passion. Creativity is nourishing to every level of our being; spiritual mental, emotional and physical. Without its vitalizing Prana pulsing through our veins we shrivel and become hard.
At birth all people are soft and yielding.
At death they are hard and stiff.
All green plants are tender and yielding.
At death they are brittle and dry.
When hard and rigid
We consort with death.
When soft and flexible,
We affirm greater life.
Ultimately, it is the flow of creativity inside of us that allows us to become who we came here to be. We can’t afford to give that away.
Dana Lynne Andersen MA is the director of Awakening Arts Academy- with centers near Portland Oregon and Assisi Italy. At the Academy we open the creative channels in all people~ Please see www.awakeningartsacademy.com
 Suzi Gablik