Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Living A More Creative Life, Part 3

We've talked about ways to bring creativity into our daily life by taking the time to use more soulful objects in our activities.  Now let's look at ways to bring creativity into our lives and the lives of others around you on a broader scale.  What are ways that we can reach out beyond our own experiences and make a difference for those around us?  Studies have shown that one of the strongest things we can do to lift our own days is to make an effort to lift the days of others.  I find, as a teacher, that the creativity I watch in my students is contagious. Let's look at some ideas for how we can develop creatively contagious moments.

What is it that you enjoy doing?  It doesn't have to be obviously creative.  
Perhaps you are a seamstress, perhaps a cook.  Maybe you are an organizer or communication is your gift.  Maybe you are naturally inclined toward hospitality. How can these gifts be used in a more creative way?

I know of a woman that taught sewing classes to young girls.  She taught 4 at a time with 2 at the sewing machines and 2 sitting on the couch doing handwork.  The teacher would sit on the couch with the ones doing handwork.  As they stitched, she would talk with them about what it meant to grow up to be strong and gracious women.  She found a creative solution to her own need and changed the lives of her students at the same time.  

What if a gifted cook invited 3 or 4 different children (or maybe even adults) over to their kitchen once every couple of months for a cooking lesson?  Many young mothers are swamped and tired from working and don't have time to teach their children and maybe don't even have time to cook.  What a gift of creativity to teach them to make a great pie crust. They would never forget it.

What if a beautician invited young girls over for a day of spa treatments. We live in a time when young girls are struggling to understand what true beauty is.  The spa instructions could be laced with talk about true inner beauty that reaches out to others.

I have a friend who is a very organized person and she has a heart for homeless families.  Determined to find a way to help, she began working with the administration end of a ministry to homeless families.  She not only uses her organizational skills to help make the ministry function, she uses her creativity for 'outside the box' ideas that help the ministry to soar.  She is able to use her creativity to help the people she cares for.  That is creative thinking!

I have another friend who started a ministry in her church based on a creative way of using her gifts.  This woman is a shopper.  She can find a bargain!  And she can talk people into giving her an even better bargain like no one else I know.  A few years back this friend became aware of a need at the local women's shelter in the town where she lived.  The women were only allowed to stay for 30 days at the shelter.  Most of the time they had left home in a hurry and with only what they could carry.  So when the women who had sought refuge in the shelter had completed their time they had nothing to begin setting up a new home.  My friend began going regularly to garage sales and buying furniture and housewares.  She then got permission to store these things in an unused room at her church. She also discovered that if she explained her mission to the garage sale owners, that often they would simply donate their items.  Then as the time comes for each shelter guest, she is invited to the church to "shop" for items needed for her new household and for her children.  And its all free.

Creativity can enrich both our lives and the lives of those around us.  And really, what good is a gift if it can not bless those around us?

So I don't know what your gifts are.  They may not look like the examples I've given.  But maybe these ideas have sparked some thoughts for you.  I don't know what your creativity looks like.  But you can be sure, its there somewhere.  My challenge to you today is to dare to look for it.  Dare to give it some time to develop in you.  And then to dare to step out with creative action to enrich both your life and your world.

Next time we'll look at this more from the perspective of those already living their lives as artists.

Wind and Honey Creations
Creative Pencils - Online Drawing Lessons

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Living A More Creative Life Part 2

As promised I am continuing with the Living A More Creative Life series.  I will first approach this topic from the perspective of those who do not claim to be artists but who desire to live a more creative daily life.  These ideas can be helpful to anyone and everyone.  Then later we will look at the need to rekindle creativity in the life of the artist.

Before we proceed any further let's get one thing out of the way.  I know what you are thinking, and YES, you can!  Over the years when people learn that I am an art teacher, I receive one single response most often.  Oh, I could never do that.  I'm just not creative.  But you know, that simply is not true.  I know, I know.  I've heard it over and over - You just don't know me.  Why, I can't even draw a straight line.  Well, I've got news for you.  Being creative has nothing to do with drawing a straight line.  That's what rulers are for.  After years of being a teacher I can tell you that everyone can learn to be a more creative person, to make more creative choices, and to think in a more creative way.  We may not all be commissioned to paint cathedral ceilings in the next few years.  But we can ALL be creative people.

In the last post on this subject I mentioned that creativity is breaking out of accepted patterns and solutions in order to find a new way of doing something.  Everyone can do that.  It is just a matter of reminding yourself to stop and think before you continue, once again, down that same ol' thread bare path. So what is your area of creativity?  How does your mind work?  Where do your thoughts go?  Renoir once said that a work of art "must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself, and carry you away".  Maybe visual art is something that is within you and you don't realize it.  Perhaps you long to create in that way.  Maybe today is the day to begin trying.  Perhaps you should check with me about online classes or The Graceful Artist.  Or perhaps visual art is not your area of creativity.  Perhaps it is not the way your mind works.  What is it in life that, as Renoir said, seizes you, wraps you up, and carries you away?

Creativity is a way of life, a way of moving your thoughts in a certain direction.  You can begin to incorporate creativity into your way of thinking in simple ways. Stop warming your water for tea in the microwave.  Use a tea kettle - maybe one that whistles when the water is hot.  And even better yet, pour your tea from a nice tea pot.  Are soda's your favorite drink?  Take just a moment and pour it out of that plastic bottle or the styrofoam cup and drink from a glass - a real one made from real glass where the ice clinks when you drop it in.

Put a candle on the table when you eat dinner tonight - even if you are alone.  Listen to music rather than the news while you prepare your meal.  Use glass mason jars to store your refrigerator items rather than plastic.  Keep your cotton balls in a lovely vintage tin.  Its a simple change.  But every time you get a cotton ball out, you get to enjoy a creative stop in your day.  These kinds of small changes in our environment and our days actually only take a moment but they begin to shift our mindset toward a more soulful and creative way of living and thinking.
These are just a few simple suggestions to get your imaginations running.  You will want to find creative embellishments to add to your life, to your days, that fit your personality and style.  They may not look like the ideas I have.  They will be uniquely YOU.  As you think of other ways to begin incorporating creativity into your daily tasks, please do comment here and share them with us all.

In the next post in the Living a More Creative Life series I will talk about bigger more life changing things that you can do to bring creativity not only into your own life but into the lives of others.

Wind and Honey Creations
Creative Pencils - Online Drawing Lessons
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