I’m so excited to be writing the very first blog post for Creative Wellness Retreats! Christina and I both fervently believe that creativity is not only fun and fulfilling but an essential part of health, right up there with mind, body, and spirit. And yet so many of us have guilt around our creativity. We’ve been taught that it’s frivolous, a luxury thing to play with in our free time. Certainly not something to be prioritized and nurtured.
So we set it aside for later. We put other things and other people first.
When I was a young mother, trying to figure out how to pursue my writing while raising my kids, a well intentioned older woman once gave me this advice:
“You young women need to learn what’s important. Don’t be in such a hurry. Right now you need to focus on your children. The writing will wait until they’re grown.”
She meant well, I’ll give her that. And I’m sure she believed what she was saying.
The truth is, I believed her. Those words infused a little more guilt into the already bubbling tankful I’d been carrying around since the writing bug first bit me.
That lovely, well-intentioned woman was flat out wrong.
Putting a creativity on hold for twenty years is like waiting to breathe until your baby is in Kindergarten.
Imagine that somebody walks up to you and says, “Don’t worry about breathing, or drinking water, or eating, or getting exercise. Now is not the time for any of that. You can worry about that later, after you retire.”
It would be easy to dismiss that statement, because you know you can’t live without these things. And yet if somebody suggests that it’s okay to defer our creativity until we retire, it’s so much easier to believe that they’re right.
But the truth is, it hurts to be cut off from your creativity, and it hurts not just you but those around you.
The famous psychologist Carl Jung (who is also the man behind the Myers-Briggs personality inventory) had this to say:
“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their children than the unlived life of the parent.”
– Carl Jung
There is so much truth to this!
If we have an unlived life, in other words, if there is a vital, necessary part of our selves that we are blocking and neglecting, then we can’t be fully present to those around us. We become discontented, irritable, and unhappy. We might even become physically ill.
On the other hand, when we nurture and value our creative calling, we grow as human beings. We are fulfilled, and therefore more open and receptive to those around us. We are more present to our loved ones, our co-workers, and our clients, rather than less. We are engaging in one of the greatest privileges of being human.
I find it fascinating that the very first words in one of the oldest books in the world are these:
“In the beginning God created.”
Here at Creative Wellness Retreats we encourage creative exploration and development. At the same time, we know that life is busy, and that creativity doesn’t require hours of your time on a daily basis. In fact, devoting even 15 minutes to your creativity on a consistent basis will help you feel more fulfilled (and make you easier to get along with!) Prioritizing your creative process makes the world a better place for everybody.
When you’re ready for a bigger investment in your creative wellness, we’ve got you covered there, too, with our fantastic creative wellness retreats on beautiful Whidbey Island.
I’m going to leave you with a small question to ponder. You don’t need to have an answer right now — our brains love to play with questions and your subconscious will send some fun suggestions your way if you play along with the pondering program. Here’s the question of the day:
“Where in my life am I already making room for creativity?”
Ask yourself this before you go to bed at night, and when you wake up in the morning. See what comes to you, and know that what you are already doing is the seed that can grow even more creativity if you tend it. (I’ve written more about how focusing on what we already have can lead to more here)
We’d love to have you share your answers with us here as they come to you!
Kerry, will you be doing any posts on the creativity styles of different personality types? Do you have any resources you’d suggest?
My “message” came at me my whole life, from my very well-meaning father, who made it clear you could not make writing your career (if you wanted any type of security, but that was never clearly stated—it was just understood that financial security was The Goal). That if I was going to be a writer, I needed to be something else first—that writing was something meant for free time. So instead of getting a degree in a writing or creative field, I went after Economics and ended up in a field where I work with data. Now, I like data. Data can tell an interesting story—but it helps if you want to know the story first. It’s usually hard for me to care.
At some later point, I acquired two cats, a house, a husband, and four kids, in that order. Between all that and the job, the “free time” for creativity became more of a fantasy than the stories I want to write.
On top of that, I am one of those people for whom the creative “mood” has to be just right. I want to FEEL inspired, to feel that inner energy that drives the story faster than my fingers can poke it out on the keyboard. And when you’re spending all of yourself in other places, there’s no YOU left to drive the creativity.
So, I love the concept of what you’re doing, particularly using personality type to frame the creative life. I look forward to seeing what else you and Christina have to share.
Hi Kelly –
I will definitely be doing posts on the creativity styles of different types! As far as resources – I don’t actually have any good resources on temperament and creativity, specifically. I asked about this at my MBTI certification training, and the trainer didn’t know of any resources. She’d been with the MBTI for years and involved in creating their materials. There is some interesting info on the internet, but it seems to be largely around Which Types are Most Creative? and I’m much more interested in figuring out how to help people access and nurture their creativity.
That said, there are a lot of fantastic books out there around engaging with your creative life. At the top of my list are BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert, Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard) by Jill Badonsky, and the Right to Write by Julia Cameron.
So many of us get those messages that you got from your father! We get them from school and from society too. Little kids, around four and five are SO incredibly and magically creative, but by the time they get through high school most of them will have come to believe they are not creative or that their creativity has no value. So we resign ourselves to doing our thing in our “free time” as you say. The problem is that “free time” is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Anything we really want to do in our lives, we will need to create the time and space for that. The perfect creative mood you are talking about is such a wonderful thing when it happens. But here’s the thing – if left to itself, it comes along rarely. It needs to be romanced, just like a lover. I work with my clients on making space for their creativity – on valuing it, letting it know it is loved, showing up for it in tiny little pockets of time on a consistent basis.
I saw this Creative Wellness Retreat in June’s Knight Agency newsletter. Don’t want to over-dramatize the moment, but there were angels singing. What a brilliant, and (long) overdue concept! I am that creative, told early on that no living could be achieved with it. I managed a successful career in the business side of entertainment. Got married, had kids and thought NOW I will write. But our healthy (thank you!) household was very active from the get-go and the guilt of sitting alone to write was too strong. So I’ve only dabbled, for years, achieving nothing of significance. Now my nest is emptying, my husband has his career, and I’ve decided it is time for ME. Weirdly, I’m kind of having to fight for it. The fam is accustomed to being #1. I. Am. Attending. This. Retreat.
Karen, Christina and I both know all about those singing angels! That’s why we are doing what we do with retreats and why I also do creativity coaching. Everybody and everything wants us to do something other than our writing! There’s a total shift of mindset and habit patterns required to start putting our creativity first and that usually needs a support group. I’m so glad you found us – and I’m excited that you will be joining us at the retreat!
I am beyond excited to have been introduced to your blog! Thank you for following me on Twitter, which prompted me to check your website out. If I lived closer, I would have absolutely loved to be a part of the retreat. (And if I had money! haha)
I have an enormous amount of passion for creativity and bringing it out of everybody. It runs so deep that it’s so hard to get all of my thoughts out of me without sounding completely insane! I truly believe creativity is a vital part of somebody’s life and absolutely necessary to nurture and entice to come out! I would love for you to stop by my blog and check out my new posts. I’m working on some new ones now and would love to collaborate with you guys if you are interested. I believe the more people involved in getting creativity to flourish in this world the better. I would love to bring in more traffic for your blog and spread the word about your retreats as well. It’s an amazing concept that should be available everywhere! If you guys want to branch out into Texas, let me know! 😉
I look forward to reading the rest of your articles!! 🙂
Wow!!! I love synchronicities that bring us all together like this! I loved the Happy Lil Pixels tweet I saw and I’m so excited you are building creativity! This is amazing and we can certainly all look for ways to collaborate. As for the retreat – you never know. When a thing is meant to be, it’s meant to be. We may all meet yet. 🙂 You are so not alone! There are some wonderful people doing creativity work. Do you facebook? Look for Jill Badonsky. She has created an amazing community of creatively minded people. And we also have a Facebook page, as well. Lovely to wake up to meeting you! Have a great day.
Such a pleasure meeting you as well Kerry! I just started a facebook page so you can find me there too. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/HappyLilPixels/
I look forward to seeing more amazing creativity from both you and Cristina! 🙂
Have a creative day!
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