Not long ago, when I was looking through blog posts looking for the links I was going to share for my time as guest curator at Crescendoh, I happened upon a link to a video online by Brene Brown. The blogger who posted about it mentioned she was working through some life things and found the Brene's message helpful. Since I was working through some heavy life things too, I decided to check it out. To say I fell in love with Brene's wisdom, wit, and message would be an understatement. I began reading her blog and looking at her books. Turns out, I owned one already! I bought it last year and never got around to reading it. Maybe it was divine thing because I think the timing wasn't right yet, that I wasn't really ready to fully embrace the message of it.
I don't generally post things like this here, I am all about projects and insructions, but I was reading an article by Brene posted on Oprah.com I thought would be really appealing to those of you who visit here. I hope that it will speak to you, the way it spoke to me. . .
Painting a Gourd
All of us were made to make things. During my studies, I found out a surprising piece of data: There is no such thing as a creative or noncreative person. Every single human being is creative. Every research participant could recall a time in his or her life when creativity brought him or her great joy. It was usually childhood, and the creative expressions ranged from coloring or finger-painting to dancing, singing or building. What was most fascinating was that the participants never talked about learning how to be creative—they just were.
As adults, what keeps us from being creative—from painting, cooking, scrapbooking, doodling, knitting, rebuilding an engine or writing—is what I call the comparison gremlin (a close cousin of the shame gremlin). People say, "I'm not good enough," or "Why am I the only one with dangling modifiers?" or "I'm not a real sculptor…I'm a total poser." In other words, we shame ourselves into stopping. While we may have all started creative, between ages 8 and 14, at least 60 percent of the participants remember learning that they were not creative. They began to compare their creations, they started getting graded for their art, and many heard from a teacher or a parent that "art wasn't their thing." So we don't have to teach people to find joy in creating; we have to make sure not to teach them that there's only one acceptable way to be creative.
I had to push myself to rediscover my own artistic side. Unused creativity is not benign. It clumps inside us, turning into judgment, grief, anger and shame. Before I turned my life around, I used to dismiss people who spent time creating. When a friend would invite me to go to an art class or something, I'd respond: "How cute. You go do your A-R-T; I'm busy with a real J-O-B." Now I realize that was my fear and my own frustrated need to create.
To kick things off, I went to a gourd-painting class with my mom and my then-9-year-old daughter, Ellen. It was one of the best days of my life. I'm not kidding. I still paint, and now I'm having a serious love affair with photography. But start with something easy. Why not start with a gourd? Put a silly face on it. Make it smile.