As we celebrate Mother’s Day, it’s easy to get caught up in the commercial dimensions of the holiday. Flowers, gifts and meals in a restaurant are what it seems to be all about for many people.
Don’t get me wrong. I love that my children and husband make it a special day for me. It’s wonderful to be appreciated by the people closest to me and have them express their love for me. And, it makes me happy to let my mother know that she’s such a special person in my life.
But I’m also thinking about what it is to be a mother — in fact a parent, as my thoughts are not gender-related — and all that entails. (Whether you have biologic children, adopted children, or dote on beloved nieces and nephews, the things I’m thinking about are either actually the same, or metaphorically the same.) And, as someone focused on all aspects of creativity, and helping people to access their creative core and bring creative flow into their lives, I’m thinking about how the stages in the parenting process relate to creativity.
First there’s pregnancy, when a new life is being nurtured. This time includes self-care for the mother, for her well being and so that her nutrition supports the development of a healthy baby. Then there’s labor and giving birth, followed by the love and care of the baby — and guiding that baby through childhood all the way to adulthood. It’s a long road and rarely does anyone travel it without some rough patches along the way.
The birth and nurturing of creativity
With creativity, the conditions need to be right for fertilization — for the germ of an idea to start to develop. The “egg” holds all the possibilities for new a creative expression and those possibilities start in the right brain. That‘s where ideation and intuition operate — and when you allow yourself to be reflective and relaxed those inspiring ideas will come easily.
When inspiration appears it needs to be sparked and connected to a force that fertilizes it. That’s the big moment where you not only become aware of the idea, but actually decide to take steps to put it into action. Otherwise, the creative impulse will fade away and all of its promise will be lost.
You need to nurture creativity, much like in pregnancy. It needs to be given time, good nutrition and attention. Your idea needs continued focus. Maybe you decided to keep a journal. You’ll need to get the journal, think about when you’ll write in it, and if it’s something you’ll keep with you or will leave on your bedside table. Or, maybe you have an idea for a new initiative at work. It will need to be fleshed out and you may realize you’ll need other people’s efforts, too.
Next there’s birth. Labor and delivery can be intense, but that’s the time that this new creative “baby“ will have matured enough to enter the world and need “pushing“ to get out. There’s no turning back now, as you get the idea into action.
And then continued care, feeding and guidance are needed — to get real traction and realization of the possibilities you birthed. Sometimes things will go smoothly, and at other times there will be struggles. Much as we get through toddler tantrums and adolescent challenges, we need to persevere when things are challenging.
But, unlike when we rear a child, not only do we want to see our creative impulses develop and flourish, we want to continually repeat the cycle and continue to create abundantly. We want to create in many ways, to have creativity touch every aspect of our lives. It may well take some time. It often begins by focusing on nurturing one particular way of creating and doing it on a regular basis. Eventually, when creativity is flowing smoothly, it becomes second nature and it’s quite marvelous.
Grown children, mature creativity
I am blessed to have two truly wonderful children, and to now have the joy of seeing the fruits of my parental labor (shared with my fantastic husband). My sons are 19 and 29 and I am extraordinarily proud of the good-hearted, generous, special people they are. I love seeing them share their gifts and hearts in so many amazing ways.
I am similarly delighted to reflect on the ways that sustained creativity — my own, and that of many people with whom I have been privileged to work — can mature in magnificent ways.
I wish you a lovely Mother’s Day, and hope you will be inspired to “mother” your creativity every day.