So often we think of creativity as an ends to a means. We use our creativity so that we can write that story, paint a picture, make a piece of jewelry, or create some other end product.
But as someone who is profoundly interested in moment to moment life experiences, I see creativity as its own reward. I have an expression I use a lot with my coaching clients, "the payoff is in the moment." Instead of the end product being the payoff, our life experience (the vitality and energy we feel) is the payoff.
I've been playing around with this for the past month or so. How would my life feel differently if I consciously brought more creativity into everday life for no reason other than to simply enjoy the self-expression?
The answer? Wow!
Here are a few things I did — all of which can happen in 5 to minutes:
- Leave my pink ukulele out and strum it for two minutes.
- Throw on that polka dotted scarf, crazy blue shoes, or lacy fingerless gloves for added oomph.
- Set the timer for 5 minutes and respond to a free write.
- Turn on "Happy" and dance around crazily for four minutes.
- Take a two-minute walk outside and make a recording about everything beautiful I notice.
- Practice juggling with my son for just one song per night.
I've been paying special attention to nature's own form of creativity. Specifically in the growth of the lil cherry blossom tree we planted outside our house. Here's a piece I wrote during a five-minute "Messy Beautful Pages" freewrite offered by Firefly Creative Writing. I spent five minutes writing and then another five cleaning it up. In just ten minutes, I felt like I connected to myself and to the world in a creative new way.
It really doesn't take a lot of time to feel a lot of life inside!
Ode to the First Cherry Blossoms
This has been a spring of the very first cherry blossom flower nudging its way to the outside world.
We planted the tree the second week of February — just a tiny little stick of a tree. It looked so frail. Elderly, even. Someone made the requisite joke about it being a “Charlie Brown Christmas tree.” It was so spindly we feared it wouldn’t take root. Or that the crazy urban life would be too much for this pale, wisp of a tree.
You never would have guessed that cotton candy flowers were waiting inside that thin brown twiggy tree. They were a gaggle of a twelve-year-old girls, giggling in the musty gym, huddled together when the music began for the very first boy-girl dance. They were young violinists, trying to be serious during lessons, but thinking of the mini-cupcakes they’d be rewarded with after Beethoven and Bach. Oh, that one perfect bite of red velvet with cream cheese frosting or the chocolate cake with a single swirl of caramel.
These bold, puffs of cheery blossoms were all squeezed in nature’s green room, holding their glittery breaths, waiting. They would turn up their faces to whatever small wisps of sun soaked in. They would sleep the sleep of three-year-olds after a day of chasing butterflies and rubber balls.
These buds, all curled up tight inside that stick, were pimply-faced, but full of possibility. They primped and preened behind the scenes, knowing when the right cue came, they would burst onto the stage, flawless and fabulous— full-fledged dancers in layers of tulle as fine as stardust.
This has been the spring of their awakening. Like young geishas-in-training, their beauty is all in their plump pink cheeks and innocence.
—Sherry Richert Belul