littlecolourfulteacher

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the power of creativity

July 9, 2019 , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am quick to write off creative pursuits at the end of a long day of teaching.

Despite thinking of myself as a person who is completely happy and comfortable with being creative, being free and playful in the creative realm when I am truly exhausted seems overwhelming. It seems too draining and frivolous when all I want to do is rest and switch off.

Yet now I realise, while I am on holidays and engaging with all things creative, how utterly essential being creative and playful is, especially at the end of long and challenging day.

Just as the opposite of play is not seriousness but depression; the opposite of not being creative is not being still and restful, it is numbing

Yes, that’s right. Numbing. 

At the end of a stressful day, or an argument, or a lesson gone pear-shaped, or on the brink of a challenging conversation, we need to be more playful, more daring and more creativeI couldn’t believe it, but I see it with clarity now. Every time I sit down in front of Netflix, or YouTube, or mindlessly scroll through Facebook, I am not “unwinding” like I think I am; I am numbing. I am zoning-out because I have decided that I am too tired to engage with whatever experiences I have had in the day.

But really, I am avoiding.

How? And what if I am truly tired?

Physical tiredness is inconsequential; you can get to bed earlier, exercise and eat well, and make sure that your body is at its optimum to heal and regain its energy stores.

But emotional tiredness? That requires creativity. It requires a vehicle for expression, and a pathway out into the world where it can be seen and demystified.

It requires voice and play in the quiet and safety of your own mind, away from the noise of the classroom. Away from the demands of leadership, of the assault of angular personalities, grief, sadness, and unresolved issues. It is the voice that soothes the abrasive, stark moments of the day.

The balm that is creativity allows you to do the following:

  • Role-play and find the right words for a challenging conversation.
  • Exercise your imagination and mind for a composition task, a problem, a situation.
  • Unfurl the knots of worry by rewriting the script on how you might have done things differently
  • See things from every point of view, not just your own.
  • Use your imagination to create greater interest, joy, connection and positivity in the classroom
  • Find an interesting pathway into a difficult topic.
  • Add fun and joy into a rehearsal.
  • Walk through a rehearsal, a performance, a meeting, a lesson.
  • List off all negatives, the curveballs, the points of disagreement, and counter every single one with creative, compassionate, imaginative, courageous, generous, authentic solutions.
  • Nurture your spirit and nourish your soul.

Being creative is your chance to play in the playground of your own self, heart, and mind. What a crucial part of getting to know yourself! Combine with stillness and silence, and you can truly hear your thoughts, that you may become emotionally strong and perceptive.

So as I sit my exhausted self at the piano and lift my hands to the keys, I remember that with each piece or exercise comes new sounds, healing, ideas, chords, tones, and colours.

As I put pen to page in my journal and write for the five minutes before falling asleep, I see the unspoken words coming forth from me, uncensored, raw and real, authentic, alive, and truthful, that I might make meaning out of my thoughts. That I might see all the places where I have been dutiful, or withheld my true self, or could have done things differently. That I might also catch the wild and amazing ideas that are just below the surface, eager to play.

As I sing, I hear and feel the openness of my voice and how this might feel in rehearsal. I find the satisfaction in producing a beautiful sound, and the wholeness of my body as it aligns in song. I think of how I will share this with my choristers to capture that physical, musical and emotional reward.

As I compose, I practise a skill that is words and music combined. I give energy to silent words on the page and bring them into being, all the while aware that they are guiding my thoughts, and giving courage to my new ideas by existing.

The more tired and exhausted I am, the more I need to be creative.

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