Creativity and Courage

How many times do you hear someone say, “I wish I was creative” or “I can only draw stick figures”?

I admire people who go against the inner voices that tell them “you can’t” and who try anyway; I had the opportunity to overcome some of those voices.

In spring 2015, I felt burdened physically and emotionally by a grueling work schedule, personnel “challenges” that made day to day work difficult, with no end in sight to the relentless avalanche of paperwork. I felt a sense of sadness that perhaps in giving up teaching for an administrative position I have given up my true career. (While teachers are in demand in New Mexico, the pay is low and conditions are not great; I would have to spend time and money to get licensed in the state, etc., etc.) When in an emotionally dark time, it is so easy to see the “can’ts”, isn’t it?

I made a decision to sign up for painting classes that started in June [2015], as a “light” to keep me going. I am not one of those people who says “I can’t draw”, however, painting remained an absolute mystery. I had painted, but my paintings always seemed cartoonish, and I could not fathom how to start when faced with a blank canvas.

After the very first class, I was struck by the uniqueness of each person’s work. As our first exercise, all eight of us painted the same philodendron, “Phil”, and you could see some of us were more expressive, loose in our brushstrokes. Others were more precise, more detail-focused. Even though we used the same color palette, our personalities showed through our color mixes. No two paintings of Phil contained exactly the same green, although green is merely a mix of blue and yellow. Some of my classmates claimed they could not draw, yet every painting was beautiful!

When you start to feel like a cog in a machine, or stuck in a routine that starts to feel meaningless, remember this. Cherish the uniqueness of how you see the world, and enjoy the unique qualities in others’ perspectives. In our uniqueness is our strength; skills can be learned, it just takes time.

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My first ever painting . . . Phil!

“Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution.”
― Deepak Chopra

This post was originally posted on my previous blog, in October, 2015.

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