Creative acts are my therapy

Lisa's craft table

On sharing our inner light through creation

Sunday was Father’s Day and the summer solstice. The longest day. Sun at its peak. Life in full motion. Everywhere there’s energy and growth and a feeling of optimism.

I avoided the sun’s rays. It was blistering hot, oppressive, so I stayed indoors choosing to occupy myself with creative acts. My office is a mess of craftwork. It looks like Michaels exploded inside my four tiny walls. The floor is littered with bottles of acrylic paint, varnish, various-sized art pads and sketchbooks, plastic organizers filled with plastic containers filled with thousands of tiny and not-so-tiny beads and gems, metal findings, and wire. 

That’s what I spent most of my day doing – jewelry making. It’s a passion I stumbled upon in my twenties and got semi-serious about in my thirties, when I took courses at the local technical college in beading and wire working, learning how to make proper necklaces and chainmaille designs worthy of sale. I even completed an intro silversmithing course and shaped, soldered, and succeeded in fashioning myself a silver band ring and a funky cuff bracelet. 

I’ve tended to focus on this in fits and spurts, when inspiration strikes. Like much in my life. I’m ruled by my curious, ever-changing energy, a little by boredom or the next desire, always needing something different and new to work on. When I’m engrossed I go full tilt for days. Friends and loved ones are usually the beneficiaries of my creative enterprise, receiving gifts made with love for holidays, birthdays, or just because. 

My Dad had a creative spark too. I remember the smell of sawdust, the loud sting of the circular saw. He had the basement floor in our little house a regular mess. Most items he made were quite practical: a bookshelf, some toy chests for me and my sister. I still have part of the sign he’d adorned my toy box with after engraving “Lisa’s Toys” in the wood. It’s painted red and yellow. High shine. That side of him slipped away over the years. 

He continued to enjoy cooking and “experimenting” in the kitchen (clams in the pasta sauce!). But with his descent into despair he stopped creating. Maybe it was too hard for him to access or maybe his creativity was an innocent bystander, losing ground to encroaching mental health issues. 

I have to wonder if it would have helped him, if maybe he would have found a different path if he had a creative outlet, that use of his spark, a way to keep the fire burning. I wonder because I feel the struggle too. There are many times recently where I’ve thought, what’s the point in creating? 

And yet, I’ve never not been creating, whether it’s writing or painting, knitting or stringing beads. This most recent bout of jewelry making came because I was feeling rather down and stuck, unable to “produce” in one area of my life, so I decided to do something else entirely. I turned my back on the computer screen and shifted my focus. It didn’t take long for my mood to shift too. Following that, my brain came back online with a refreshed feeling. Problems become easier to solve or at least I can envision a way out. 

That’s why I create. It helps to shift my perspective, activates different parts of my brain, and gets me out of linear thinking. When we create, it returns us to our core, our individuality, and taps into our passions, helping us to bring our inner selves outwards, whether we share our beautiful creations with others or not.

In Sunday’s free Slow Flow class for the solstice, as we moved in reverence of the sun’s light, I asked participants to reflect on their own inner light. What makes you shine bright? How do you bring your passions to life? What creations are you bringing into the world this season? 

Let’s flow slowly

Slow vinyasa class is Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Join one class or the whole series for access to recordings. Learn more

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