Your Blank Canvas: The True Power in the Creative Process

Do you ever notice a deep sense of connection from looking at an image, listening to a song, tasting homemade food, reading, or watching a film? Maybe if you’re an artist you’re familiar with a particular feeling in the creative process that is difficult to explain but happens from the moment you begin executing an idea to the moment you stop. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist you may have had the experience, but I assume people who regularly create and exercise their craft will have a better sense of what I’m referring to. I’m sure dancers and probably yogis know the feeling from creative movement, but it’s possible other athletes may identify with it (I’m no athlete, so I can’t be positive). It’s those ineffable experiences that I decided to research for my Master’s thesis. I can’t say I recommend researching a seemingly subjective, hard-to-explain, fleeting moment you’ve had, but it was rewarding in the end. We can see all around us the impact creativity has had on all life. Innovative thinkers have granted our society with various inventions in science and technology, while artwork has informed us of the daily lives and minds of human culture. It’s everywhere, even part of the decisions we make and contributions to our species development. Although, I don’t intend to focus so much on the external influence of creative products, but rather the internal experience of creating and engaging with them. As creators and observers, there is an experience of being deeply in the present moment with a created work that sends us to a boundless place transcendent of self and purely self all at once. …Trippy right?  

Image from Pinterest, unknown artist/original source

For some people, the creative process begins with their inspiration. For others, the process begins when seeking inspiration. Many will describe creation as a build up, kind of like the inhale before a 

Moroccan dyes

sneeze. There are also comparisons of creating something to the birthing of a child. Of course, the experience is different for everyone at different times, and we can never really know whether someone else is feeling (or can feel) precisely what we feel. I just set out to find some common qualities in the way people and theorists describe it. Some sensations that struck similar to my own experience were vagueness and almost yearning. Creators might use their process to decipher or better understand themselves. The process and product might be a response to something. Or, it’s simply fun and you like it! My favorite part about being a creator and observer is the connectivity. It’s an opportunity to communicate in a way seemingly impossible with plain speech. A shared deeper knowing. Certainly products are interpreted in infinite ways, but whatever might strike you about a work is very intimate. Actually, memes are kind of a way of tapping into that feeling. It can provide the sense that someone else (the creator) knows what it’s like to feel or see something the way you do, that the human experience is indeed unifying rather than lonely. 

Vincent van Gogh in a London Museum

Some theorists (that I won’t bore you with) talk about this experience as vast, expansive, and subliminal. It’s easy to equate it to a mystical/spiritual experience. It’s power has to be pretty profound for some to describe the experience as nearly equivalent to divination! Creativity provides a sense of purpose and can leave you feeling sentimental. It can heal inner tumultuous conflicts that need an outlet. For many it gives meaning to existence, as a driving force and life breath of what it feels to be of your truest essence. Usually when I’m constructing a poem, story, tune on the accordion, or painting I feel such a rush and like I’m a conduit of flowing energy that somehow forms the abstract into something more concrete. 

Drum-making in Chile

All of this probably won’t happen if you’re making something as part of routine. You might be wondering, “How come this doesn’t happen to me when I’m choosing my outfit for the day, or writing an email? That’s creating too, isn’t it?” Yes. But! To be clear, the kind of creation that evokes the experience I’m ranting on about (perhaps too excitedly) is more closely tied to personal expression and spontaneity. Yes, it can still happen if I’m intending to create something and applying some control, but there is also component of letting go or surrendering to the space of possibility between nothing and something. It has to be coming from heart and soul! The spontaneous element also relates to circumstances where inspiration came from a dream

So…do you know what I’m talking about? Have you felt it? Maybe you will now try to notice it? Again, you don’t have to be a proclaimed artist to experience it. We all have the power to be creators, just don’t let the power go to your head. 😉

Go tap into the blissful release of creating! If you like this page, please share it!

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