Does creativity excite you or scare you?

When people ask me about my work and I describe my workshops and my new Creative Drop-ins, I usually get one of two types of responses. Some people hear that at the workshops you spend a day to learn about and experience creativity, and they are excited about the idea of being a part of it. And, they hear about the weekly evening Creative Drop-in sessions for free-flowing creative fun, and are eager to experience it.

Others say, “Oh, that’s not for me!” And, often they add, “I’m not creative.”

Typically, people think they need to be “an artist” or “artistic” to be creative. While my programs employ making art as a way to experience creativity, they also include writing, movement, and discussions about creativity that range from activating creativity when cooking to increasing creativity in the workplace. The emotion that’s surfacing for people who have the second response is usually related to fear. For some of us, the idea of being relaxed and creating freely is intimidating. For some it’s completely unimaginable, and maybe even terrifying.

Why can something as amazing as letting yourself freely create be so frightening? There are many reasons. Maybe some of them are familiar to you, or to someone you know. Here are a few cases to consider.

One woman who came to my workshop a year ago said that when she was in the second grade the nuns told her that she was not creative. She had shut that part of herself down for nearly four decades until she decided to come to a workshop and see what it would feel like to connect to the creativity that I assured her she was born with (as we all are). She has been back since, and has been loving what she experienced and the way it has shifted so many things for her.

One person who attended a workshop is an engineer and had recently been promoted to lead an R&D team. She had never done much creative exploration and felt the time had come to figure out how creativity worked, to be an effective leader. She discovered that her own creativity was brilliant. As well, she found a personal resource that has enriched her life as she has embarked on new and exciting challenges.

One person is a researcher who never had a personal source of creative expression. She always focused solely on her family’s needs in her spare time. After a friend encouraged her to come to a workshop, she struggled to find a creative path that excited her. In time, she realized that spending time in nature and nurturing a garden really delighted her. She (and her family) have worked and played in her 15’ “victory garden” this season, and she is now harvesting the last of the vegetables and flowers they have grown in that lush garden.

I am another case in point. Sadly, as a young child everything I created was severely criticized. I soon felt it was safer not to draw or paint than to risk feeling the shame of being told I should be able to make better pictures. For me, the urge to create was strong enough that I pursued a BFA degree — but in college, and after, my creativity was strictly channeled to designing for clients. I never expressed myself through color, drawing, painting, sculpture, poetry or any other form of personal creativity. I was paralyzed at the thought of creating anything from my own heart until a few years ago when I was invited to attend an Intuitive Painting workshop. In the 2 days I spent at that workshop my life changed! The terror I had always felt evaporated when I had a safe, non-judgemental place to open up and discover that I — and everyone else at the workshop — had enormous creativity that just needed a safe place to emerge. That experience launched me on the path to immersing myself in new educational adventures and training, and to the the work I do now.

A wonderful thing for me has been seeing so many people who have felt nervous about attending a workshop or a Creative Drop-in and yet have decided to come and give it a try. I’m glad to say that nobody has freaked out! Their reactions have ranged from, “That was really ok!” to being delighted and amazed at what it was like to open and express themselves and feel the joy of creating. Most rewarding of all for me has been hearing numerous stories about how the creative experiences have impacted people as they’ve moved through their lives.

If you feel fear or anxiety arise at the thought of creating, you are welcome to get in touch with me. I truly understand that fear, and I would love to help you find the courage to safely and lovingly experience the joy of creating in a way that will feed your heart and your spirit.