When the Creativity Disappears Within Us

This post will not be eloquent, or elegant. I seem to have lost my ability to write. That is why I have not been posting. I have lost my voice. I cannot seem to “create” anymore, whether it be painting, drawing or writing, my creative self, my artistic spirit seems quite literally to have disappeared.

Researching bloggers talking about depression for an article after the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, I found Vicarious Therapy and the above statement on the last post published on the blog in 2011. I don’t know the state of this person, self-described as mentally ill with Chronic Major Depressive Disorder, or why they’ve continued to abandon this blog. I hope they are on the path to help and health today, but the words spoke to me not about depression and mental illness, a discussion for another time, but of a place we all know too well.

When the creative disappears within us.

I believe it is always there. We just don’t lose our creativity like one loses their keys in the couch among the spare coins and crumbs. It doesn’t sit there, waiting to be found.

We get in the way of our own creativity. We block it.

Call it self-sabotage or denial, it is still there, and it begs for release. Which is often part of the crazy-making process of dealing with blocked creative energy.

A highly creative friend of mine redecorates her main living space of her home every January and February, outdoing herself from the previous years, going from eclectic to Zen to Victorian to French with the annual cycle. During these two months, she calls me to complain that she’s lost her creativity. All she wants to do is paint and let her brilliance art rise up and out of her soul, but all she can do is nothing, so she redecorates the house.

What she does with that house is creative. The walls are painted, the mantel dressed with beautiful things, the furniture changed and rearranged like fabric for a quilt in the making. It’s art, crafted in a living space. It has texture, dimension, placement, flow…it’s art. It’s creative.

She can’t help it. She may not see it, but she can’t help herself.

When the redecorating wears her down, she returns to her studio revitalized, eager to put hand to brush.

Another writer friend recently went through a writer’s block. Frustrated, she complained that she’d never had writer’s block before. She could always sit down and write, no matter what was going on around her.

A few more questions found that she’d been working with a local theater company to help them with their website and production of a new play. She’d written several press releases, did some minor rewrites of the play to help the playwright, and had a houseful of grandchildren coming in and out for the entire summer, her first time as they’d finally reached an age where they could be dropped off and left for weeks on end at the grandparents. The entire summer was filled with baking cookies, cakes, going on hikes, flying kites she helped the kids make for themselves, playing tour guide, and helping the children have a fantastic summer vacation.

“Nothing creative in that,” I told her.

“Sure there is!” she argued back, defending herself.

Soon we were both laughing at her justification and fears that she’d lost her creativity. It was just going out in new directions. When the children left, the play finished, and her routine returned to normal, she was back writing with new energy and enthusiasm.

Creative energy is always there. We don’t lose it. It just needs to realign its forces once in a while, try something new, or old, or fresh, to rest and recover.

Trust it. Trust that the magic will be there. It will change direction and point down the path you wish it to travel again soon. Trust it.

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