Creativity is the unifying thread woven into the tapestry of humanity. It entwines warmth and vitality into the oftentimes frigid reality of our lives. It may appear as a slab of unshaped clay and untapped potential, or as the bold strokes on the blank canvases of a new day. Regardless of its frame or form, creativity and its vivid hues are ever-present (and necessary) in our-selves and our world.
Life embeds itself into our DNA and becomes an intrinsic source of inspiration. Our bodies naturally house the potential to harmonize this energy and the corresponding emotions into outward movement and action. Each of us has the ability to bridge our inner and outer worlds when we align our self-knowledge with our self-expression, but this alignment requires us to cultivate new qualities, beliefs, and behaviors.
Awareness is one of the most important steps in acknowledging where we may be aligned or misaligned with our Core Self. We are each made up of limiting and expansive beliefs, and inherited and chosen core values. The Core Self is always that which is grounded upon expansion and consciousness. The presence of conflicting emotions creates a state of tension and duality in who we are, who we want to be, and how we show up in our lives. Awareness presents us with the crucial skill of recognizing where we are not living in integrity, or in alignment with the values belonging to our Core Self. Without this awareness, the necessary adjustments cannot be made to resolve internal tension and move beyond what is limiting.
Making these adjustments calls on compassion and confidence. We must offer compassion when observing dissonance, and we must develop confidence to show up in a new way. When we allow ourselves to do this with vulnerability and consistency, we are giving ourselves the permission to be seen in our essential nature. As a result, a desire to source external belonging is frequently replaced by a deep-seated feeling of internal belonging. This is a natural extension of awareness and authenticity, as well as the gateway to genuine self-acceptance. In this place, light and darkness are free to coexist. The Creative Self is fueled by both and capable of expressing each shade without bias.
Courage empowers us to witness and hold the shadowed parts of ourselves that we may strive to ignore. These shadows evoke the most charged and avoided emotions, such as shame, fear, guilt, and anger. When we label any feeling or sensation as “bad” or “scary”, we overlook it as an intrinsic part of who we are. When we judge any emotion as good or bad, we are unconsciously labeling ourselves with it. Labeling creates internal fragmentation and further perpetuates internal conflict and tension. To create awareness around our emotions and accept everything we find is the greatest act of courage in our current society. There is bravery in expressing the entire spectrum of emotions, and alignment is often what we experience as a result.
When we simply think of emotions as an internal representation of what we are experiencing in any given moment, our Creative Self will instinctively find avenues for growth, transformation, and truth. This is the power of using creative expression as a tool for touching and channeling our emotions in healthy, productive ways. Sketching is one such way. Anger can be experienced as bold, frenetic, and hardened lines on a page, instead of locking it away or projecting it as toxic behavior. Shame can be experienced as soft, dotted lines, and negative spaces within a sketch, instead of withdrawing or turning to silence.
There are many ways to creatively express how we feel: painting, dancing, singing, writing, music, cooking, sewing, and so on. Each one builds on awareness, authenticity, self-acceptance, and courage to create a bridge between our internal and external worlds. When we offer ourselves an unfettered view of the light and darkness, of our entire emotional experience, we gain a greater perspective. Similarly, plunging into a blank page or blank slate will gift us with a deepened understanding of who we are, who we want to be, and how we can better show up in alignment with our Core Selves.