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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pitfalls part 2

DonP wrote this reply to my blog (see his full comment on my last blog) and I'd like to reply.
He writes;' I know of no answer to the problem of insecurity, even after having talked it over with both clinical and occupational psychologists. Having read your post, I wondered if you think that using creativity in the way you suggest could help. I note that the RSA now has "The Power to Create", almost as a strapline, so you are aligned with that direction of travel. Do you agree with my point, and if so, what role could creativity have in helping to eradicate this destroyer of values?
Dear DonP, In reply I would venture this...
That I view art as therapy, and living creatively, as two different spheres. Allow me to explain.
Art therapy can help in wonderful ways to take sufferers way from their pain for a while and through a guided therapy, much progress can be made in soothing troubled minds. Some indeed make it through to a state of release from their troubles and learn to live creative lives. Most however default and need constant encouragement and help. 
You mention your childhood in your comment and of course for all of us, this is where the damage has taken place. I say damage but it is more correct to say that chidrens' creativity is usurped, at school and at home, by the tyranny of rational subject matter which is tested and re-tested until the creative instinct is weakened and then simply ignored into non existence. But if a balance were kept alive between rational learning and poetic creativity (which should not be tested but simply encouraged and observed) I would venture that life in adulthood would be without many of the problems that adults are struggling with in our society.
So what do I mean by living creatively? (and you are correct in mentiioning the RSA and industry in general in this context); that they are all barking on about creativity as if the mere mention of the word were enough. Fact it, is has to be re-awakened. And I contend that this God-given instinct is never really destroyed, that it remains within us all, simply waiting for us to wake up to its power.
If you talk to artists, you will think that they are strange creatures and half mad, but dig deeper and you will find that, usually by sheer luck, that they have escaped the tyranny of rational overload and although they can be as miserable and as petty as any other souls, that they carry with them a sense of freedom. And that with this freedom they create beyond themselves; that they continually create and evolve, as if they are always in search of their true selves. That great adventure.
So, art therapy is more of a pastiche (and it has its uses and values of course). But to learn to live creatively (and I'm not just talking about painting, poetry or any expressive art form); to live creatively is to embrace every single day of our lives in wonder. In the things we do, make, create in our kitchen, in our gardens, in our friendships.
And those of us who teach (re-awaken) creativity in others, know that there is no other instinct more powerful than that of creating beyond ourselves. And that once this is realised, it is like watching a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. 
Here's an image to remind you of how beautiful that miracle is ;O)

Michael runs retreats in Assisi, Italy on the re-awakening of creativity
He is a guest speaker at the FRC conference at the RSA in London September 29 and 30
If you'd like to contact him click here