Creativity of Being

I love the broad theme of “creativity” here at Heart of the Matter this month.  Wynne’s suggestion that we explore the topic in periodic posts was a great one…it could easily become an indefinite series!  Writing and learning from talented, insightful bloggers enriches my perspective about the ways in which we’re all ‘creative’.  I loved Erin’s perspective about switching things up, not allowing ourselves to fall into a rut.  Creativity…about creativity!

Here’s my little conclusion…my baby epiphany:  There are infinite manifestations of creativity in terms of artistic flair – prose, performance art, jewelry making, interior design, painting, pottery, carpentry…a never-ending list.  And yet…I think one of the under-recognized aspects of creativity comes as a result of harnessing the ingenuity of BEING. Here’s where I’m going…

I’ve concluded that relationship navigation is a creative, soulful effort.  Abandoning familiar scripts and roles, avoiding the rear-view mirror and the allure of the horizon requires ingenuity and loads of it.  Remaining “in the moment” when the stakes are high can be a challenge…because diversions are ever-present.  The business of figuring ourselves out and staying ‘on course’ with those we love?  Let me quote the Grateful Dead…what a “long, strange trip it’s been.”

What’s especially difficult for me?  I yearn for the future…the coming attractions of life’s story… but the past also draws me in. I want one eye on the past to summon wisdom from prior experience, but I also want to focus on the future to predict possible outcomes. 

When I’m with a client, friend or family member who needs me in the moment, none of those time-traveling tendencies are as useful as they might appear.  There’s a slice of me that never forgets…my inner elephant…retrieving tidbits to serve current arguments and issues from the furthest corners of my jumbled jungle of a brain. Learning to acknowledge the tidbits without verbalizing them? A skill…one I’m continuing to develop.

I’m ever-in-pursuit of ‘a-ha’ moments to improve and evolve but I always come back to the same familiar territory.  Simple practices, tried-and-true – not twinkling epiphanies – provide light.  An example?  Remembering that listening can be…and often IS enough.  The recognition that I need to be nimble and f-l-o-w with the dear one in front of me is step #1.  Then? Flexing my creativity of being helps me sideline my verbal needs. Step #2 reminds me to trust that dialogue may be unnecessary because allowing the heartfelt nature of presence…being present…to shine through is often enough.

I like scripts, I like solutions.  I like to solve problems. But the magic in our existence and shared journeys is most palpable when we whisk away the pursuit of resolution in order to usher in moments to breathe, emote and consider.  Sometimes silently, paired together with the gentleness of a hug, holding hands or a gaze that conveys acceptance and care.  No words.  All of that can be a creative act.  A courageous act for this perpetual helper.

I’m also recognizing the significance of creativity from the viewpoint of lasting legacies, maintaining a connection to the future, despite inevitable mortality.  Is the compulsion to create a means to an end, a reach into the future (sometimes with a tangible token of our once-upon-a-time presence)?  Is it possible that our yearning for immortality can be realized in less tangible ways, through the kindness and generosity we bestow on one another – in a ripple of goodness? I want to believe so and it turns out a few smart folks agree.

I’ve been reading Matthew Hutson’s book about spirituality, ritual and superstition based on a recommendation from a dear friend.  I’m enjoying most of it but I’ll be honest.  I’m not a philosopher, a theologian, or a researcher, and, as a result, some of the deep-dive analyses are lost on me.  (Side note to self:  Maybe I shouldn’t blame the content…or the reader/me…but recognize that re-reading complex content is an honorable act and one that usually works for me…but I need to actually do it!)

Hutson writes about “symbolic mortality” (p. 151) : 

“…symbolic immortality, the creative mode, encompasses all the ways we leave a mark on the world through our unique actions. They could be artistic, scientific, athletic, sartorial….feelings of self-worth and self-permanence require much less than the erection of a great pyramid or an eponymous grand theory. “ 

Hmm…I see that but what came next sealed the deal. Hutson described the perspective of psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton and the notion that symbolic immortality isn’t JUST achieved through the creation of tangible goods and artifacts but can also be achieved through the generosity of spirit in humble everyday offerings of nurturing and kindness – even in anonymous encounters.  “A simple smile at a passing stranger…in its own small way…heroic and immortalizing.”

Creativity…the gift that keeps on giving?  Whether it’s something you can hold and cherish or it’s a memory of a moment, a glimpse of everlasting goodness – it’s a gift, nonetheless. While these notions invoke a broader definition of ‘creativity’ than I’d ever considered, I feel I flexed a soupcon of spiritual muscle to land in this very place. 

-Vicki 😊

One more ripple?  Check out my post on Victoria Ponders for a snippet about the science of creativity.  A short piece which reminds us of our interconnectedness. ❤

33 thoughts on “Creativity of Being

  1. I once thought I was the least creative person I knew, until I realized that just figuring out who we are and how we want to present that to the world is a creative process on its own.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that, VJ. I think that’s the trick…figuring out how to do it ‘our way’. The ultimate in creative expression…in the form of ‘what we present to the world’. Yes. I feel that, too. Our legacies, for sure! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve really been enjoying all the posts on creativity here, as well, and I just love the wide diversity of interpretation. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Vicki, with navigating relationships requiring a level of creativity… everyone is different, after all!

    The bit about symbolic mortality also struck a chord and I feel that in my heart to be true. Actually, my Tuesday post here may be a bit of a companion piece to yours. Hard to believe we’re just halfway through the month, and will (hopefully) continue the deep dive into creativity. 😊

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    1. I love the swirling connections…magical…because other than opening up the topic, generally, there’s been no guidance to hit certain notes…just ‘share from the heart’. 💗 Thanks so much, Erin. I can’t wait to see what you have cooking for Tuesday! 🥰

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  3. Wow, I’m not sure I’d call that a “baby” epiphany, Vicki! “I’ve concluded that relationship navigation is a creative, soulful effort.” That is huge!! I never thought of it that way. And the way you walked through such familiar problem solving and time traveling territory (yep, and yep, I do that) – brilliant.

    Then you end with symbolic immortality through acts of kindness – holy smokes, that really got me. I think that this post is a wonderful and inspirational reminder of how we can be creatively kind in relationships new and old. Beautiful, just beautiful! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Wynne! You and I have so many connecting threads about all of this…and a certain upcoming podcast with your dear friend Deirdre 😉 drives the point home, home, home. The interwoven-ness of ideas and inspiration cannot be random. The universe IS at work. xo! 🥰

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  4. Once I realized that creativity is more than the ability to sketch or paint, I realized how to embrace it. I agree that it’s a life skill, but you have to open your mind and define it widely, not narrowly.

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  5. Let me take a Philosophy 101 viewpoint after all this interesting discussion:

    I wonder if it is too much of a stretch to describe creativity as the process by which we first make ourselves aware of our world and all it’s components, then bring in the addition of the reciprocal impact between ourselves and said components- ie: engagement or interaction? Defined, to create means to bring something into existence or cause a thing to happen because of our actions so can we say that we create in almost everything we do simply based on awareness and interaction?

    While pondering that I will add that I loved how this post has helped expand the concept of creativity taking it from the accepted place most of us recognize- writing, music, art- into the smallest and perhaps dearest moments of daily life. Good stuff Vicki 🙂

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    1. I love all of that, Deb…especially your thought that everything begins with awareness. Oh my. Terrific point…and from there, we can see those ripples of impact…just as you said…through engagement…and creativity is embedded within all of that. Yes — awareness and interaction. Thank you so much. I’m with you…seeing goodness and creativity in the ‘dearest moments’ of life. xo, Deb! 🥰

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  6. I’ve been enjoying the posts about creativity this month.

    The quote you shared about symbolic immortality is an interesting one. I think about it from the perspective of the great artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians who live on forever through their works. Immortal through time. But you’re right, we also live in other ways – through our families, our work, our acts of kindness. What an interesting thought on this rainy Sunday evening!

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    1. Thank you so much, Ab, for sharing that. It struck me as being relevant and inspirational, too. Here’s to sunnier skies for you tomorrow (it’s also rainy here this evening!). 😉


  7. I’d never heard the phrase “symbolic immortality,” Vicki. Thank you. For those of us who accept that we will be forgotten, perhaps it can serve as some consolation.

    Much depends on whether leaving a mark requires fame. If such fame is desired on a Shakespearean level or more like a footnote in a book that is out of print can make a difference in one’s life satisfaction. As Daniel Kahneman has written, shooting for an Olympic gold medal is something few will attain. Symbolic immortality, on the other hand, is free to all who, like you, hope to touch other lives.

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    1. Thank you, Dr. Stein. Yes…I agree…some consolation, indeed. And your point about feeling that fame is required to leave a ‘lasting mark’? I feel some, who might be fixated on social media and ‘digital lives’ feel the crush of pursuing fame and status. Perhaps “living on” because we touched others with kindness IS a potent alternative. I choose to believe! Big smiles to you this morning. 🥰


  8. Your line “ …because diversions are ever-present” brings to mind the quote by Pascal “I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber.” I love how your myriad of thoughts on creativity have come to such a lovely mindfulness. It is obvious you have dodged the distractions referred to by Pascal to reach this new understanding of how to ‘be’ in this world.

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    1. Thank you, Maggie. The quote from Pascal is perfect…and it’s new to me. Thank you for sharing…”quietly in their own chamber”…what a beautiful reminder. Hugs and smiles to you this morning! 🥰

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  9. Wow, so much for my little brain to take in! In the end, I keep coming back to two big takeaways, the importance of listening and just being. When I need to be creative, I often think I need to be loud and talking to others and instead, it’s those two quieter traits that really stick out. I agree too, creativity is the gift that keeps on giving. You’ve given me lots to think about Vicki. Really interesting piece. Thank you!!!!!

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      1. LOL — you’ve got company! I like to think of it as ‘working things out’. Isn’t it great that we can do that with words? I think I might go bonkers if not for the ability to express! 🤣


      2. I definitely need to come back to this piece. Given me some things to consider and as you say, work out in my mind. One of the things I keep thinking about is why does creativity come easy some moments, and then disappear in others. What ingredients have changed? What’s missing?

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      3. Gosh…I think you nailed it. It’s so dynamic and ever-changing…just when you think you’ve got a handle on it…that elusive creativity vibe…it poofs away! Yes! 😉

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  10. Oh, Victoria this make my heart stir – “I yearn for the future…the coming attractions of life’s story… but the past also draws me in. I want one eye on the past to summon wisdom from prior experience, but I also want to focus on the future to predict possible outcomes.” May I use this quote from you in one of my future blog posts?

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