Creativity in BloomMay 1, 2013
Most people think of the tulip as the poster flower of spring. But for me, it’s the ranunculus. The first time I laid eyes on this precious flower was not in a garden bed but at my corner market in New York City many years ago. When I saw the little tissue paper flowers it was love at first sight. People yearn to see a field of tulips or sunflowers but I dream of running through a valley filled with ranunculus one day.
I love this cheery flower (a relative of the buttercup) at every stage of its development from the little rounded tight bulb sitting atop a sturdy bending stem, to a fully-opened masterpiece with layer-upon-layer of paper-thin petals in rich, vibrant colors. I have taken hundreds of photos of them this year. I can’t seem to stop. As I sit here writing this newsletter, a bunch of goldenrod yellow ranunculus sitting by my desk cheer me on.
I can’t help but compare these flowers to our own blossoming in the spring and the emergence of our creativity in all its glory. Ayurveda teaches that we are comprised of all the same elements as everything in nature. If we honor this truth and go with the flow, miraculous things will happen. Those ideas that were germinating while we were hibernating and resting over the winter will unfold just like the petals of the ranunculus.
Now is the time to take action. It could be that restaurant that you’ve wanted to open, the book you’ve been yearning to write, the non-profit you dream of starting, or simply the wall you want to paint a lovely new color…the list is endless. You don’t have to be a professional artist to claim the word creativity. We are all creative beings-it’s part of our true nature. But when we deny our creativity and keep it from flowering, our spirit will wither and die just as surely as a flower that has been denied sunshine and fresh soil.
Always be gentle with yourself in the process. Sometimes our dreams seem so grandiose that they overwhelm us and we never even get started. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say. Just begin. I watch my ranunculus take their time unfolding. Unlike some flowers whose petals seem to open and fall within days, if I nurture my tissue-paper flowers with fresh water every day, they often last for weeks.
I can physically feel creativity coursing through my body right now. If you stop, slow down and be quiet for a bit, I’ll bet you will too. It’s quite an amazing feeling. And although I love to hibernate, when the creative force comes alive in me, I am glad to once again be part of Mother Nature’s spring dance.
Here are a few sure-fire tips for tapping into your creativity:
- Meditate every day. It’s in that quiet place of stillness that creativity comes alive. Here’s an easy way to learn.
- Journal. Leave self-criticism out of it. Just write about whatever thoughts, dreams, regrets, etc. need releasing. It feels so good, and in the process, all kinds of fresh ideas will spill forth.
- Take a walk in nature sans iPod or other distractions. It’s medicine for the soul and you will feel a rush of creativity if you open yourself up to it.
- Do what you love on a daily basis, if possible-but weekly, at the very least. It will inspire you.
- Spend quality time alone with yourself. This is an easy one for people like myself who actually enjoy solitude. But for many, it’s challenging. Trust me, in terms of creativity, it’s critical.
Not heeding the spring call to create can do more than leave you uninspired. It can leave you sick…literally. The body knows what the soul needs and trust me, it will let you know when there is a lack of attention to creativity. As is usually the case when I write a newsletter or blog post, I’m often writing to myself, figuring something out or reflecting on my life, and hoping that my own experiences will benefit my readers. This is certainly the case here-I have spent way too many extended periods in the figurative desert of creativity. I have ended up sick in body, mind and spirit from not nurturing the artist in me. It is such a lifeless place to be that I don’t wish it on anyone. So, I hope you will heed the spring call to create and share with the world your own precious, unique gifts.