“A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.” -Franz Kafka
In a previous post, I wrote about the importance of finding the one thing in life that illuminates everything else. The question I posed was: Do you have an outlet that feeds electricity into everything?
It’s sad knowing that not everyone has found a true passion in life. The real tragedy, however, is that many who have will allow outside obligations, limiting beliefs, and insecurities to stop them from doing what makes them feel alive.
There’s a double edge sword to finding our passion. When we keep it close, the whole world is brighter. When we leave it behind or let it collect dust, a darkness sets in that we’d never known before.
Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Requiem For A Dream, Black Swan, Mother!) captures this sentiment perfectly in one of his journal entries from 1996, after an all-night rave on the beach in Thailand:
“The tide came in, the sun came up, everyone kept dancing; the tide went out, the sun went down, everyone kept dancing. I was miserable because I wasn’t making films.”
It’s true that as life goes on, we can’t all chase our dreams with the same fortitude as we once did. Careers, families, and the warpath of age can derail and distract from what were once master plans. Yet, I truly believe that anyone can still practice their magic, even if it’s on a small scale. Paths may change, but the power of creativity is always accessible.
And if creativity is what makes your blood pump, you’d better find a way to keep it close.
Why We Make Art
The famous playwright, David Mamet once wrote about the reasons writers write and painters paint:
“Artists don’t wonder, ‘what is it good for?’ They aren’t driven to create art, or to help people, or to make money. They are driven to lessen the burden of the unbearable disparity between their conscious and unconscious minds, and so to achieve peace.”
It’s hard to fully agree with the statement above. I believe creating either for a living or to help others is enough to spark imagination and stoke creativity. Often times, it’s by starting out with the drive to make money or help others that leads to finding the thing that will ultimately unburden a weary mind. But, one cannot deny the peace that can be found through creating, or by engaging in what is our true calling.
We’ve all felt the disparity between our conscious and unconscious minds at one time or another, yet we still often allow resistance and external pressures to trick us into thinking we can move past these feelings without the proper antidote.
There’s meditation, exercise, gratitude, and advice columns galore to help us steady our moods. But if you’re one of the lucky ones who’s found your calling, never underestimate or forsake your magic bullet. These other activities become wrinkled band-aids in comparison to the soul-soothing satisfaction of making and sharing your art with the world.
When your world goes dark and life feels hopeless, think about whether you’re keeping your passion close by. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I channeled my creativity into something?”
Ask, “Have I forsaken what makes me feel alive for outside obligations or limiting beliefs?”
Snap out of it. Get back to where you belong, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day.
Creativity Equals Freedom for a reason.