Where Do You Light Up?

------- Note:  This post originally appeared in an earlier effort, what I now consider a "draft" blog (The ModBlogger), which I no longer maintain. I am migrating those initial blog posts, including this one, to Tracking Breakthroughs because I'd like them kept somewhere. And maybe someone will find them of use.


Too many people close the door on their creative selves. And they don't just turn the knob and push. They slam it shut and seal off the edges with duct tape.  "Me?" they ask, backs against the door,  "I'm not creative."


Human beings. Are. Creative.  We're also curious and social by human nature. We can turn off those qualities as easy as we flick off a light switch (and we leave the room, door tightly shut). But we are born curious and social--and creative.

Why do people close off their creative places?  I only know what I experienced as a child:  I loved to make things. I was at my happiest when I constructed Christmas trees out of reader's digest magazines, built villages for barbie dolls, or set up clubs for all the neighbor kids. I also loved to draw, write, act.

But to grow up is to learn more about ourselves...and why is it we only seem to pay attention when we fail?

I paid such close attention to each lesson, in fact, that I remember them even today. I didn't write poetry as fast as Katrina--or as well. Okay, she was in fourth grade and I only third, but my poetry rhymed (unrhymed poetry was the thing, she said, didn't I know?) I failed drawing lessons in 4th grade (that Kendall was such a good artist; my teacher even said so). I couldn't get my animal sculptures to emerge out of lumpy balls of clay.

So, I learned: I was not very good at being creative. The next step - lights out - would have been to acknowledge - click, door shut and locked - that I'm not creative after all (can you hear the "screeeeeeetch" of the tape off that roll?)

I didn't go so far as to get out the duct tape. But I do know that it's very easy to lose sight of the creative self. Especially when you don't have grownups with big 'ol headlamps to help light the room. "See? Good job! Here's how."

I also know that we confuse the word 'creative' with the word 'artist.' Maybe to be an artist is to be something else, someone who devotes a lifetime of days to creating works of original expression.

But we are all creative. We all have what is, in its simplest form, a capacity to create something new.

Some of us create new art.  Some of us create new meals or new designs or new tools. Some of us create new processes. Some of us create new ways to reach other human beings.  Some of us create houses or spaces or corners in a garden. Some of us create new ways of working or living or interacting.

We all create solutions where only problems loomed before. At home. In the office. In public. Or in very private, dimly lit recesses of our "what if?" and "if-only" minds.

We need to honor that creative place inside ourselves. I know I do. It is where we light up. It's where the world lights up! So rip off the duct tape, open the door--and look inside. See: I am creative.