Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~Pablo Picasso
Picasso really hit the nail on the head when he said this. We are all born with the desire, the urge to create. But something happens between the years that our 5 year old self, who loves to color, and dance and sing and play dress-up and make mud pies, grows up to be our adult self.
What is it that changes in those years between childhood and adulthood that squashes the creativity out of us? A child’s world is full of a sense of wonder and openness. It’s fresh, new and filled with magic. But as we grow, this sense of wonder diminishes and is replaced with the cares of the world. No longer do we see dewdrops dancing on the morning grass or the stars twinkling bright in the sky. Instead we grow up to face reality, raise a family, get a job, pay a mortgage.
The first step in reclaiming your birthright of creativity is to reconnect with your inner child. Have you ever heard a very young child who is playing with paint on paper say “That’s not good.”, or “I can’t draw a straight line.” No, those words start to emerge from our mouths around age eight or so and only intensify with each passing year.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told “I’d love to make art but I can’t draw a straight line if my life depended on it.” My response “So draw a crooked line”. But seriously drawing is a learned activity, just like riding a bike or playing the guitar.
But the joy we feel when we put pen or color to paper, build a sandcastle, or cook up a batch of cookies, is not a learned activity. The joy of seeing worlds created in front of our eyes is the way we are born. I believe Spirit, as the Great Creator who knows the joy of creation, wants us to create.
To find that inner child again, we must unlearn what the world has taught us. Try some of the following activities to help facilitate that unlearning and rediscover the creative birthright you enjoyed as a child .
Enjoy and give gratitude for the small things in life. Take the time to really, I mean really, look at the night sky or a sunset or a flower. For a moment pretend you’ve never seen that rose before and experience the joy and wonder of it’s beauty.
Enroll in that fun class you’ve always wanted to take but told yourself you weren’t good enough for. Maybe you’ve always wanted to paint or learn to tap dance or enroll in clown school. Whatever you feel drawn to, just do it! Allow yourself, like a child, to be a beginner. And be sure to let go of all expectations of how good or bad you are. You are perfect as you are.
Draw a picture. Pull out the crayons or paints, and just start doodling. Don’t worry about what it is; let your imagination go wild. Pretend you are a little child the whole time you are creating the drawing. When finished, put it on the fridge just like your mom used to do when you were really a child.
Make time for play in your life. Turn off the computer and the tv, put down the broom, ignore your “to-do” list and do something just for the sake of fun. Go to the park and jump on a swing. Don’t forget to slide down the slide while you’re there. Or gather some friends together for a water balloon fight. Forget about your worries and responsibilities for that time and just be silly. The sky’s the limit. Think back to the things you loved to do as a child and recreate those experiences.
Reconnecting with your inner child is an important first step to reclaiming your birthright of creativity. I think I’m guilty of forgetting to make time for play. So… I’m off to the park to swing on that swing; it’s almost like flying.
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