This post originally appeared on August 28, 2015.
This week's challenge is inspired by Pete Holmes, whom we both had the pleasure of hearing live as he told a story about navigating the security line in the airport when a guard called him out on his Dr. Seuss shirt, yelling "whatchu know about green eggs and ham?" It's become something of a catch phrase for us, always said in the most exaggerated voice we can muster.
Create = to bring something into existence
Creativity gets put on a pedestal, there's this notion that creating things is only done by certain people. We call them artists, inventors, geniuses, creative types, etc. We think, they have something I don't - a vision, a message, a talent - and they are producing something with it. They are making new things where there weren't things before. I am not making new things, ergo I must not be creative.
But here's the thing: we are all creative beings. Every single one of us, every day, are creating something. We call it our life. And the "stuff" that manifests are ideas that follow us around and look for ways to come in to the world and somehow the universe decides we're the ones to unleash them and give them form. The "creatives" of the world are really tuned in to that, they're disciplined about allowing it to flow, and often spend much of their lives honing the skills required to do the ideas justice. But that doesn't mean they have something other people don't. To put it another way, they're really bad at ignoring the pull of inspiration.
Some of us might feel a smidge of inspiration and take up a creative hobby, maybe even take a class or two (or get an MFA *cough cough*). We'll get a bunch of supplies and set up a space and decide we'll spend x hours every day devoted to creating; then, if what we create doesn't measure up, isn't validated by something/someone outside of ourselves quickly enough (i.e., we can't make enough money through it to support ourselves), or it simply doesn't scratch that itch, it fizzles. We move on and - here's the kicker - maybe decide that we aren't creative after all. Am I right?
What a shame. Truly. To box in creative energy when it's all around us, in every thing that ever was and ever will be - wow. When we do that, we miss the mark entirely. Creating isn't just about making something new or pretty or useful. It's about recognizing that we are partners with the universe, giving form to ideas, giving form to spirit. The need to create is deeply programmed into our being, and we disrespect it when we entertain the notion that we're not creative. The action is in figuring out what our unique contribution will be, not in determining whether we have a contribution to make at all.
And the destroying? Yes! Part of the game is, to steal a title from a brilliant composer friend, "blow it up, start again." Blow up the picture of being an actor and go be a costume designer. Blow up the picture of being a costume designer and go be a store manager. Blow that up and go corporate. Blow that up and go be a parent (talk about creative energy!). OK, that one alters the flow...but you get the idea. Blow up what isn't scratching the itch, and start again. Destroy the things that don't fit - and in the process, create space for the next thing.
I second Barbara's motion! We are all creators and destroyers!
It seems the creating gets a lot of good rap, a lot of good press. On the other hand, destroying seems to get negative press, a bad rap, and is met with resistance. Everyone loves to create, not many rush in and relish destruction (i.e. it's wonderful to fall in love, it's miserable to break up).
Often destruction conjures thoughts of glass shattering, objects breaking, waves crashing, tornados lifting up houses; while that is all destruction, I'm talking about the everyday creating and destroying that we all do consciously and unconsciously most of the day. Our bodies, for instance, are creating and destroying cells everyday, even while you read this post. What would we be if not for the destruction? Think about the things we'd be carrying around if the natural state of our bodies didn't include destroying!
All the creating and destroying can be gentle, can be mindful, can be easy, and can be fun. Yes, even the destruction can be fun. We all tend to get attached and programmed that when something is destroyed (a relationship ends, a job fires you, you move) it's sad, hard, or something is wrong with 'you'. Without the destruction, we would rapidly run out of room for growth, for newness. We wouldn't have the bandwith to take on anything more than the same old same old. Destruction yields creation, creation yields destruction. It's the cycle of life (cliche, I know).
Maybe the next time you find yourself knee deep in destroying or creating, you will take the pause - notice the energy, and remind yourself that "whatchu know about creating and destroying?" is really nothing and yet it is everything you need to know....because it's always different and always changing...just like you and us.