…but is it art? (and who cares)

Creativity might be part of your core values. As an activity in your own life, or in appreciating what others do. The question then might become “is it art”, and therefore possibly “is it worth it”. If you are not in that field as an “industry” and you can put your inner critic on pause (no mean feat), this question becomes less important over the magnificence of the act of creation itself, and the sheer number of possibilities this unlocks for yourself and, by extension, everyone around you.

If you didn’t like drawing at school, don’t worry. Creativity really is for everyone. In the broader sense has something to do with taking inspiration from the outside, linking it to something inside of you, and making this into something new that then comes alive on the outside again. Or, if you will, some form of putting spirit into matter. The outcome could be all sorts of things. A new recipe for a salad, a solved engineering problem, an insight translated into a conversation or vice versa, a beautiful framework to cut through a thought-mess, a vision becoming reality. Or, actually, nothing; aka something that isn’t quite done yet (and never fully might be), and that’s OK too.

It’s about not getting in the way of what wants to materialize, realizing none of this is linear (while still doing the work). On bad days it may feel like being in a chain gang with your-selves in endless painful grinding minuscule repetition with no end, outcome or goal in sight – in your least favorite weather while being ridiculed by the entire village. On good days it might feel not like doing, but more like bearing witness to an emerging miracle, so breathtakingly beautiful that tears replace words.

It doesn’t matter how big the outcome is, how visible, and if it is going to win any awards. As long as we know it is there. We are doing the work. We are sticking with it and eventually, we will have created something out there. It will then need to start walking by itself, make its own friends and find new creative ideas to mate with. And we have no idea what that might lead to, and that is the beauty of it.

What we create and put out there can change a day or a life for a person, and we might never see the longer-term implications this might have. Maybe that person then felt great as a result and had a really important conversation with their kid at home that will come to full fruition 10 or 20 years later. Or they muster the courage to embark on a journey of creation themselves. In all likelihood, we will never know. All we can do is keep the intention, do the work, get out of our own way, and create things. If we do enough of that, this will result in some next steps somewhere down the line that make a positive difference. Whether it’s art or not (that’s a picture of radishes).

 

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