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This time of year is especially appropriate for allowing your inner child to surface – all you have to do is to dig deep and remember the wonder of Christmas Eve. The excitement, the anticipation, the joy of that time in your childhood comes rushing back as if it were yesterday, and if you have children or grandchildren or even little friends who are going to experience that precious time then you are fortunate indeed to see it again through those innocent eyes. Seek that out, cherish it and use it to fuel your creativity.
What separates the older “grumps” from the older but still “young-at-hearts” among us lies in our ability to recollect, imagine and live again as if “for the first time” the meaningful and memorable windows in time when we were the most engaged, inspired and impressed. Lucky be you if you have some of those special moments in time to recall; I know there are those out there who do not. And If you do not, your job is to find special moments now…that is your mission…make up for lost time…live milestone moments again the way you want them to be. Get it right and hang on to it while you can. Be young at heart.
I have always believed that as creative people our BFF – best friend forever – is imagination. I have written about imagination before in these blog posts, clarifying her relationship with creativity. Those two beautiful qualities do go hand in hand. And so if your imagination is running on empty, if you have gotten a little rusty in the day-dreaming department, or if you have allowed the stark reality of things to get its icy grip on you, you are probably missing the creativity also. Pessimism is your worst enemy when your creativity is taking a leave of absence. Creativity will not feel welcome when you are bleak with pessimism. Kids are seldom pessimistic. The hopes, the dreams, the fascination with the smallest details, the amazement at each unfolding day is what children manifest for us. How long has it been since you talked to a 5 year old? Spend 10 minutes at that and you are made of stone if you are not smiling and engaged and wanting more of that magical stuff.
When I paint with my adorable, 5 year old, curly-haired niece, we mix colors – red and blue make purple, her favorite, and her eyes widen in surprise. Yellow and blue make green – astonishing! MAGIC! Several weeks later she asks me, “How can we make white? I am all out of white.”
She asks us all, gathered around the table for Thanksgiving, when the pilgrims are going to join us for the feast. Good question. I wonder where they are. They are late. Wonder if they’ll be here in time for the pumpkin pie.
Without this in my life I would shrivel and die a little, bit by bit. It is one of the reasons I moved back to Denver – I missed the children in my family, having lived in a 55 and older community for about 3 years. No Halloween. No Easter egg hunts and no Christmas Eve spent tracking Santa and putting the cookies and milk out on the hearth. Some of this needs to rub off on us if we are to remain truly alive and engaged in all the stages of life. For every thing there is a season and a reason.
This quote was recently brought to my attention by a dear friend and fellow artist:
Science fiction author Ursula Le Guin wrote, “The creative adult is the child who has survived.” Wise artists practice daily with their inner youngster, and the task doesn’t lighten with success. Your child may slip into the shadows when more pressing professional concerns take hold. Excerpted from the online newsletter of Canadian Artist Robert Genn. Visit his website at http://www.robertgenn.com
Pablo Picasso had something to say on the subject as well: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso (Spanish cubist painter, 1881-1973)
I encourage you to live in the NOW of this joyful season. Don’t be the rain on anyone’s parade! Whether or not the Christmas season coincides with your personal beliefs, choose the “good tidings of great joy” section of the celebrations and ride along on that. Find your innocent and wondrous inner child and use it for the greater good, because you can’t go wrong with that, and your creativity will thank you for it….BELIEVE.