Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tango at mid-life: creativity

I met an old friend at a Labour Day brunch, and she was telling me about losing her job in a month or two, part of the company's downsizing. I knew she worked in accounting, but I wondered what her real passions were. She told me that years ago she used to dance, doing ballet and ballet jazz, her creative passion.  At age 55, she didn’t think she could go back to dancing, but might look into evening classes. She’s a mother of three, now grandmother of two little ones, and had stayed home with her kids when they were younger. She sort of fell into accounting as a job because she knew how to do it, and it paid the bills. Raising three kids left her little time to explore her own passions.

When I asked her about her creative side, her face lit up, and I could see she had a longing to explore dance again.  I told her about an exercise I do in my Creative Journaling classes, called What do I love. One of the questions is, what did you used to do for fun that you don’t do anymore. The first thing that popped into my mind when I answered this question was biking. As a teenager, and even later as a married woman without kids, I used to ride my bike all over the place. I loved the sense of freedom, the wind blowing in my hair, the ability to go far and faster than walking, the parks I discovered, even the cemetery where I would bring my journal and write amongst the quiet trees and gorgeous landscaped plots.

Lise said biking was something she loves too and she was thinking of getting the bike out again. My husband just helped me over the weekend, pull the bike out of storage and pump the tires. It’s funny how when we get busy with families and work, we let these things go sometimes. Then, the kids grow up and leave home, and we begin to find time at mid-life for doing things we love again. Often, from my conversations with women, it’s the creative pursuits like drawing, water colour, dance or writing, that come to the fore. Or things we like to do just for fun, for no practical reason at all, like biking or sword fighting or swimming competitively like two of my friends in their fifties who spent their whole vacation in the pool perfecting their strokes.

What have you rediscovered that you love to do? Have you been brave and registered for something new? Have you ever considered journal writing as a pastime? The following are some quotes on creativity that I’ve been collecting, to inspire me when I’m down in the dumps and forget how taking baby steps towards being creative fulfills my soul.

The heart of all creativity is the awakening and flowering of individuality. The mystery and magic of being an individual is to live life in response to the deep call within, the call to become who we were dreamed to be...the divine blueprint of the soul. This is where true freedom awaits us. Freedom is the poise of the soul at one with life which honours and engages its creative possibility.” Beauty, John O’Donohue

“There is vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”  Martha Graham, quoted by Agnes DeMille, in Martha: The Life and work of Martha Graham

“A woman must be careful to not allow over responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she ‘should’ be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only. “ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women who run with the wolves, chapter “Clear Water, Nourishing the Creative life”

"Once you become aware of what stands in your way and become willing to release it, you signal the universe that you are ready to manifest the life you were meant to live. Chérie Carter-Scott

Are you ready to manifest the blueprint for a creative life?

Let the universe know,

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