You would think right now somewhere deep in Lockdown that we would all be firmly stuck at the base line of Maslow’s triangle of needs: eating, sleeping, shelter, and most importantly staying well in the midst of a pandemic. But, I have noticed something interesting that makes me think that Maslow’s triangle is too static, blocky, defined and modular. I think that reality makes it much more fluid- shifting through his triangle of needs from top to bottom in the course of a day. And, as this is written in relation to creativity, it therefore means that where we place creativity and the importance of it needs to be re-defined. Not placed somewhere at the upper echelons of his triangle but as part and parcel of each strata.
On a personal level I noticed something to be true in this daily experience of lockdown, and that is my NEED to create. To create is just part of who I am and if I don’t engage regularly in this process – for me this is singing and songwriting- then I quickly feel like a blinking grey automaton who peels potatoes, cleans up after the dog, hangs out the laundry, trolling dully through life’s menial duties…..You know all those domestic necessary bits of life.
The days when I create- in the simplest of ways- improvising a new tune/song as I chop peppers, or make a rhubarb crumble from the garden, is when my internal sun shines and I skip through my chores. Indeed creating food for my family with my hands whilst creating songs about and around life seems to be a double whammy of outflowing creativity. Creativity is therefore for me a simple necessary part of my raison d’être.
Nature endlessly creates- because it is life’s expression of beauty and difference. Each blade of grass is unique, trees have different shaped leaves, the patterns the wind blows in the sand are individual spirals of differing dancing beauty. Nature does not place creativity in a higher bracket than survival- it is part of surviving, an elegance and economy of being that allows that object to function well.
Across society there has also been a resurgence in interest in all things creative; crafting, gardening, painting, crocheting, up-cycling, making music/listening to music – these are all activities that have had a massive surge in interest. It seems that humanity simply needs to create, in differing forms, as part of living and being.
In the uncertain times ahead searching for cures for Corona virus, redesigning our economy, rethinking green technologies to help climate change are all going to require creative thought and flare. In fact, I would advocate creativity to be one of the forces that will bring about much needed change. Certain forms of creativity are not more important than others – they just serve different functions which contribute to the wellbeing of the whole. An economic model that creates societal economic growth is important but so too is the creation of music or food that makes us feel, be alive, be happy, think and be human. These things contribute to our wellbeing and wellbeing- as this virus has shown is a crucial indicator in staying healthy.
So, I would like to challenge the common held view that creativity/ the arts are lesser elements to our being and therefore given less kudos or shelf space by governments and think tanks. Creativity is part of being alive and it’s flow allows dynamic change , expression and connection.
So, I leave you with the lyrics to a song, I have been writing…(whilst chopping peppers!!), which is my take on the thinking and creative strategies humans need to emerge in full well being for all after this collective wounding of this pandemic.
We’ll Only Know By…..
Take on the shape of water
Resilience held in flow
And flow where we’re meant to go
Through Life’s manifest will.
We’ll only know by listening
To the whispers deep within
We’ll only know by watching
The patterns as they fall
And we’ll only know by loving
The deepest truth of all.
Hold our own power
Hold it deep within
A certainty gained in Silence
A quiet knowing still.
Time to innovate
A better way ahead
Life held in fairness
For the many not the few
And time for all our loving
From me to you, and you, and you.
Have a good Lockdown creative day! (Not the last line of the above lyrics!)