I feel like I’ve been encouraging people’s creativity lately. Before leaving for a visit in Washington, a few weeks ago, to see my mom, I made certain she had enough craft supplies for herself and her grandchildren; paper, markers, brads of all shapes and colors, tape, stickers and a variety of other materials. They would be ready for any kind of project. My nephew was preparing for his eighth birthday while I was visiting. I decided he should have his own bin of craft supplies. One of his favorite items was the model magic dough. One day he spent over two hours building and creating in absolute peace.
I enjoy crafts, but I don’t always push others to get involved. When I left Washington, I wanted my family members to be comforted. We were all in the midst of grieving the death of my step-father. Grief is a “necessary response to helping heal from the overwhelming sense of loss when a loved one dies.” (www.ekrfoundation.org) It can deplete a tremendous amount of emotional and physical energy. Did you know that the common cycles of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) can also be observed in people experiencing traumas other than death? We all react differently to various stimuli and can therefore experience trauma from other things such as; work redundancy, enforced relocation, retirement, crime and punishment, disability and injury, relationship break-up, financial despair and other life challenges especially when confronted with something difficult for the first time.
Whether death or trauma, “as soon as possible, a grieving individual should get active in something they really enjoy.” (allsands.com) Developing a new interest or hobby can assist in the grieving process and lessen the health risks that are often associated with bereavement. Stimulating your creativity is about being productive, using your imagination or producing a fresh idea. It’s really a way of thinking or viewing the world; being open to trying new things and venturing out of a comfort zone. “Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity that you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach – how you look at things . . . Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing is not purely economical, then it is creative.” – Osho
Creativity is meant to be fun and uninhibited, exploratory and perhaps messy at times. It doesn’t impose ridiculous restrictions such as staying ‘within the lines’ or producing something ‘perfect.’ When you allow yourself to just enjoy whatever it is you choose to do, you will feel full of peace. Being creative reduces stress, increases self-awareness, improves communication and helps develop critical thinking skills.
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Creativity isn’t just for times of change, it is important all the time. To make the best of ourselves and each other, we need to create environments in our homes, schools, workplaces and public offices, where every person is inspired to grow creatively!