I haven’t written in my blog in a while partly because I’ve been lost in my own head lately. I’m supposed to be absorbing culture and having this amazing adventure discovering Bali, but right now I’m in my own mind trying to figure out… stuff. Nothing concrete, just a spasm of mental, emotional and spiritual energy that has me drained.
Mr. King on the other hand is relishing in living here. We’re a bit at odds. He wants to ‘settle down’ and redecorate our villa since it will be our home for the next year or two. He’s looking for a creative outlet and is leaning on what he knows how to do…improve stuff.
He’s good at it. And he loves it.
When we bought our home in Colorado on 3 acres, we looked at it from the road and said “It’s the ugliest house we’ve ever seen, let’s buy it”. And for the next 3 years we systematically spent loads of money to tear down walls and upgrade it to luxurious standards, complete with quartz counter tops, heated floors, and towel warmers. We spent countless hours at tile shops putting together our own designs and basking in the creative energy that fulfilled us (while it emptied our bank account). We’d finish a project and for the next week sit in the completed room and have a glass of wine marveling at the beauty and creativity. Yes, even the bathroom.
We felt fulfilled in doing that. We did all the work ourselves, using tools and our hands to shape tile and wood into pleasing, perfectly fitted kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
So Mr. King is craving being creative again. It doesn’t come easy when you consider our upbringing was more practical than creative. Creativity was a waste of time or just a side “for fun” type of experience. The lessons we learned growing up where more along the lines of “Life is Hard, just push though it” or “Hard work is the key”. We spent our childhood and adulthood being productive, learning there is a right way and a wrong way and that the end product is the goal, not reveling in the joy of simply being and creating.
I want my husband to be fulfilled creatively, I’m just not sure I want to put in the mental and financial commitment of buying different furniture, bedspreads, and paint. Right now, that doesn’t matter to me. I do love living with beautiful things around me that we have created, but I don’t want my creativity to be residing with this house.
Acknowledging a Creative Side
There is no greater gift than that of self-expression. And for us, being here, living in Ubud, creativity is off the charts. The art is fantastic and the skill level is mastery. It’s intimidating. Especially for us creative newbies.
I never acknowledged my creative side. I studied science, Biology, Medicine, and Physics, you know, stuff that could be proven and had a right answer, only to find that it is majorly faulty. It was only after graduate school (where I studied Physiology and Diabetes) that I took a job in sales and marketing and was given a handsome monthly allowance that I discovered how creatively I could spend it. I hosted theme parties for doctors offices, made them beautiful baskets, took nurses out for spa treatments and essentially used my creativity to distinguish myself, er, my company from the others. It worked. I was making more money at age 23 than most people double my age. I gained energy with the new projects and ideas that I envisioned. That was my first, obvious clue that there was more to life that doing as your told or what others want. It was my ideas and giving them expression that was key (albeit, for corporate gain).
Who are You?
Creativity is about expressing your Self, no one else. But, most people have been doing what others want for so long that they no longer know who THEY are or what THEY want to do. Thus the prolific swell of ‘find yourself’ courses, discover/reclaim your life blogs, and the live deliberately pep talks that catch your attention and dollar by selling hope that you’ll become a solid, authentic human being.
Even I have momentary gaps of wandering and wondering. This is one of them. I’m confident that, like past times, I will emerge a much stronger and confident being, but while in the midst of transformation, its enduring.
Learning Creativity from Children
Children are natural creators. They are constantly designing, constructing, creating and experimenting. They develop their own ideas, try them, test them, find different ways of doing things, look for suggestions from others and usually generate new ideas from it. It’s my job as a parent to step out of the way and let them blossom. It’s difficult at times, especially when our own agenda is at odds with theirs.
I love watching my son and daughter paint, draw and make a mess of the coffee table, floor, their bellies and faces. They can cover 6 sheets of paper with beautiful colors in no time. To encourage and inspire us, we’ve created an art wall that will be filled by all of our creations, including mine and Mr. Kings.
G’s paintings have developed from slashes of a paintbrush to bright, colorful works. He’s currently painting large ovals filled with all sorts of colors and creatures. We’ve allowed them full access to all the paints, oil pastels and paper they need to do what they want, when they want. G also has a mastery of language, albeit, sometimes his own. He constantly teaches me new ‘words’ in Indonesian, Spanish or Kriol. Surprisingly, even though they are made up words, they do have the same intonations of the parent language. He’s using his creativity and mind to develop a set of skills. He’s proud when he can remember the word for a cow in Spanish, Indonesian or Polish. It’s satisfying to watch his pleasure.
Miss I’s Art
At two years old, Miss I is a performer. She sings and dances her way into our hearts. Lately, she’s become a little louder than normal in her singing and we’re glad we don’t have walls to contain the sound. She expresses songs in various ways, like a Rock ‘n Roll version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star where she screams with a deep gusto the last word of each line. She is also role-playing with her doll. She changes the baby’s diaper, puts her to sleep, loves, kisses and even wants her to breast feed from me. In doing so, she’s using her imagination to develop life skills.
Nothing is more important than learning to think creatively – learning to come up with innovative solutions to the unexpected situations that will continually arise in our lives. Encouraging this natural creativity and love of learning and experimenting is one of the reasons we are looking into un-schooling or world schooling our children.
4 Benefits to Being Creative
- Stimulates the mind. Neural activity is enhanced and our brain creates new pathways when we are thinking differently and creatively.
- Provides an emotional outlet. Being creative allows us to express ourselves, releasing positive and negative emotions.
- Enhances the sense of self. Being creative allows us to explore different facets of our personality, uncover hidden talents and reinforce what we do know about ourselves.
- Helps maintain a positive mindset.Creativity breeds an adventurous spirit. When we ask why or why not questions, experiment and explore, we discover that we are not bound by confines. We are willing to try new things and step out of our comfort zone.
Contented, Connected and Fulfilled
The beauty of enhancing our creativity is that we can learn to look at the world in a different perspective. Being creative is not only about art or music. It’s the way we approach life and our attitude. It’s about connecting with our own inner self, others and our spiritual nature. Adults have the tendency to become too structured. As we grow older let us always remember to keep on being creative and to continually challenge ourselves to grow and become better. And that is the very reason we travel and keep adventuring around the world.
I’m confident that I’ll climb out of this epilepsy of swarming thoughts. In the meantime, I’m looking at paint swatches and painting reams of paper with my children.