Creativity can save us. We suffer when we lose our sense of creativity. Our lives are full of opportunities to create. When we cook a meal, we are creating. When we build a fence, we are being creative. If I sing to music on my iPhone in the car, I am being creative. In our creativity, there is great promise. Being aware of the possibility of creativity can dramatically improve the quality of our life.
When we feel angry or afraid or shame, we can be creative. It is also true that I can be destructive. I can drink alcohol to excess. I could punch as wall. I may argue with someone that I love. I can yell at the driver of a passing car.
Another set of possibilities is to be creative. The artist’s work is to awaken all that is and all we perceive. Mathew Fox writes: “The artist first does this by waking up oneself to what is. Then he or she can awaken others. The artist finds himself or herself vulnerable to beings and events and takes the time to experience them in depth. In this way, we wake up to being, we awaken to what is and its great depth and mystery.”
When we are feeling overwhelm emotionally, we have the opportunity to wake up to a new reality. Daniel Siegel writes that “emotion is the process of integration that brings self-organization to the mind.”
When we are experiencing emotions, we can work creatively to integrate a larger reality – a wider view of life and the world. When Carl Jung was going through a difficult time in his life, he discovered something important. He found a way to calm himself by being creative. He built a small dwelling on a lake. Dr. Jung also make drawings and paintings when he was emotional. He also build a miniature village like he used to do as a child.
Carl Jung wrote: “Everything seemed difficult and incomprehensible. I was living in a constant state of tension; often I felt as if gigantic blocks of stone were tumbling down on me…. My enduring these storms was a question of brute strength…. To the extent that I managed to translate the emotions into images– that is to say, to find the images which were concealed in the emotions– I was inwardly calmed and reassured. Had I left those images hidden in the emotions, I might have been torn to pieces by them. There is a chance that I might have succeeded in splitting them off; but in that case I would inexorably have fallen into a neurosis and so been ultimately destroyed by them. As a result of my experiment I learned how helpful it can be, from the therapeutic point of view, to find the particular images which lie behind the emotions.”
Please watch this video by Judith Peterson on using art to see reality more clearly and feel better: