Creativity - What I Believe

What is creativity? Creativity is the act of taking a new idea and transforming it into a reality. As an art educator, I hear repeatedly from people “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”. This is simply untrue. We are creative beings, designed a very specific way by nature. From birth we are provided with a creative mind. Over time a dysfunctional system of beliefs transforms our thinking patterns to make us believe what we are or are not. These types of thinking patterns create what is known as fear based thinking. Fear destroys our perceptions between what is real and what isn’t. Fear based thinking tells us we are not creative. This thinking inhibits our natural curiosities causing us to not gravitate towards the creative process due to a fear of failure or judgement. These patterns of thinking begin at an early age in classrooms across the country. As children, our creativity is graded based on unrealistic expectations or outcomes. Children’s individuality is not nurtured. We have failed our youth when we are not identifying and encouraging individual creative expression.

I believe this is when our creativity begins to slip away.

I was a product of this failing system. I have spent a great deal of time in my life trying to relearn how to think. It has been and continues to be a part of my development as an artist. When I think of this, I am reminded of a very famous quote by Pablo Picasso, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. In essence, we are working backwards to regain our childlike enthusiasm and curiosity. I have found in order to do this, I have to be mindful. Being mindful means transcending time. In order to create I cannot be thinking about the past or the future. I must be focused on the ‘what is’, ‘the now’. If I am focusing on ‘the now’, I cannot have a predestined plan or outcome in mind while I’m engaging in the creative act. Events occur naturally, because I’m not trying to control the process.

I believe the arts and creativity is undervalued in our society. It’s often the first place organizations look to slash their funding because people in places of power do not understand how creative expression can heal a society. Without this opportunity for expression, we are merely minions roaming the planet with no sense of purpose or direction. This lack of purpose or direction has led to a culture of greed and hostility. The ruling powers have done a great job indoctrinating this attitude into our population. Our creative minds have been stifled in an attempt to control our choices in order that we may not reach our true potential as a human race. Imagine how different our world would be if our individuality was nurtured and encouraged right from birth? Without a return to developing creative expression in humanity, the planet will continue to suffer. Albert Einstein concludes my point very well when he said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”.

Creativity is an opportunity to allow yourself to think outside the box. So as you go about your daily activities, I challenge you to clear the noise of your mind and allow space for new ideas to enter. When you let go of the outcome, you will be pleasantly surprised by the creative offerings that arrive when your mind is in a state of complete presence. It is this process of discovery that is the ultimate joy of creativity!

Sally Towers-Sybblis is a full time mixed media artist from Red Deer, Alberta. Her whimsical style of art often incorporates a combination of lettering, watercolor or acrylic. Her work has been featured in various publications including “The Lettering Arts Review”.

Her journey to become an artist began at Grant MacEwan University where she studied Fibre Arts and Visual Communications. Upon graduating, she landed a job as a window dresser and display specialist at the downtown Hudson's Bay store in Edmonton. It wasn't until she moved to Red Deer and had her two children that she found her true calling. A friend introduced her to the Lettering Arts Guild of Red Deer where she studied calligraphy, painting and book making. Sally’s desire to become an artist, has been dramatically influenced by her father's 17 year affliction with Alzheimer's disease. She talks about this in her self published book “The Circle Club”.

Sally's life’s purpose is to inspire others to create in order that they can experience the joy of creativity. As a result, Sally spends a great deal of time traveling to instruct various workshops around the province, including the Alberta Teachers Conference. In her classes students are challenged to find their own innate capacity to create. Her teaching style is one that inspires and evokes joy through the process of creativity.

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