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Bringing Back Your Creativity
By Chava LeBarton

Did you know that you can get better at creativity - with practice? This would mean that the older one gets, the more creative he or she is. The article, Age and Creativity (on CreatingMinds.org) states that, "Creativity even affects longevity. It has been proven that people who stay mentally active live longer even than those who stay physically active."

This is an invitation to be creative. What exactly is "creativity"? The state or quality of being creative is believed in most cultures to be innate; a natural human gift that we all have. According to dictionary.com, creativity is also 'the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.'

In present day culture, adults become trapped inside tradition, clich├ęs and familiarity. We habituate ourselves to approaching life in certain, comfortable ways, and this leads to our becoming less creative. We don't use our creativity and, so, it fades away. For example, one might eat the same thing for breakfast every day, week after week, year after year... being creative when making breakfast disappeared with the habit, with the pattern. This fellow gets so used to his standard breakfast that he never changes or varies it.

Thus we become stuck in the familiar. Not many people even read much anymore or study a topic of interest just for the sake of it. The article, Age and Creativity, goes on to say that, 'Fewer still innovate for the fun of it.' Have you spent most of your life avoiding being creative? You didn't start your life that way - every two-year-old is extremely creative, for sure! Since our education system and family culture encourages children to conform, we eventually inhibit our creativeness and feel good about conforming.

So how does one not feel discouraged when an opportunity to be creative arises? Begin by understanding that you can gradually bring back your creativity. Here are some activities you can use to begin...

1. Know that everyone is creative; it is a natural birthright of everyone - including you.

2. Remember that the principle of creativity says that we are being inventive non-stop. Just about everything you do and say are things you have not said or done before, or at least not in the exact same way.

3. Begin to exercise your rather dormant creative muscle by visiting a furniture store and mentally play with putting different rooms together, just for fun.

4. Visit a nearby museum and stare at a great painting. Pretend you are the artist and decide what you would change about the painting.

5. Go to a garden center and pretend you are designing the grounds for a park. Pick out trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers that you would like to see in a park.

6. Go for a walk in the mountains and gather up some sticks, stones and leaves. Lay them out in some kind of order or disorder on the ground and draw lines with a stick in the dirt to relate with your pile.

7. Hold three pens or pencils in your fist so all the tips touch the paper at the same time. Start scribbling around and around on the paper with all three together.

8. Choose a letter from the alphabet and draw it 6 inches high on a piece of paper. Now make a silly character out of it.

9. Buy a bunch of fruit and make a fruit salad.

10. Think of a quirky machine that would make life easier for you, for example, one that puts your socks on or removes bird droppings from your car every morning.

11. Take a beginner art class at the recreation center and focus on the creative process.

12. Start a journal about your life and travels. Glue photos, pictures torn from brochures and magazines, keys, wrappers and souvenirs into it.

13. Sit in a busy restaurant and make up stories about people you observe, young and old.

14. Read a fiction book and pretend you are the protagonist (main character).

The idea is to stimulate your imagination, just for the fun of it. The steps above should be treated like silly games you play with yourself and should not be taken seriously while you are doing them. Their purpose is to stimulate the use of your creative ability. It's just like learning to ride a bike, remember? At first it was kind of scary and disconcerting, but soon you were riding free. If you give yourself the opportunity to develop your creativity, soon it will become a natural flow, just like when you were little.

Chava LeBarton currently blogs about children and the arts, creativity, and about new age thinking. She has taught fine art to kids and adults for nearly 20 years and currently teaches drawing and painting privately and designs jewelry. She is a Notary Public by profession.

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