How Creativity Creates Mindfulness, Happiness, and Peace

“Mindful and creative, a child who has neither a past, nor examples to follow, nor value judgments, simply lives, speaks and plays in freedom.” ~Arnaud Desjardins No human being lives without experiencing the duality of life. Good and bad. Love and hate. Life and death. Acceptance and rejection. Success and failure. Joy and jealousy. Compassion and judgment. So why do we spend so much time trying to pretend that it’s bad to experience all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly? Even our weather men and women tell us it’s a going to be a bad day because it’s raining or snowing. I mean, come on! The earth rejoices when it rains; snow is a natural part of our eco-system. Why do we try so hard to suppress the difficult feelings and experiences in our lives? Because our brains are wired that way? Because we were traumatized? Because our parents, teachers, and God knows who else told us to? Does it really matter, as we heal, who, where, and why? I remember the first time I heard the quote “Thoughts are things.” I knew instantly that if that was true, I was in trouble because I had a lot of thoughts I wasn’t proud of and never voiced out loud. I was taught at a very young age not to “rock the boat” or be “too dramatic” and the worst, “Your mom is unhappy because of you kids.” Yikes! So, when things got bad at home or at school or at church, they got stuffed. In me. In my heart. In my gut and in my head. On the outside I looked fine. Cute, bubbly, artistic, smart. But on the inside I was scared, confused, and anxious, and did not have a clue how to interact comfortably with people. I tried really hard (unsuccessfully) to fit in. Luckily, I had the outlet of art. I drew, I painted, I sewed, I made batiks—whatever I could get my hands on in the art department at the Catholic High school I went to, or whatever my mom would let me touch at home. She was an amazing seamstress, but, with eight kids, had neither the time nor patience to teach me. Luckily I’m old enough that we had “Home Ed” in high school, so I learned to sew well enough that my mom would let me use her sewing machine. Being creative got me through high school and into college with no major consequences. I wasn’t insecure, lonely, or in need of an outlet. I didn’t drink too much, I wasn’t promiscuous, and I didn’t do drugs. Fast forward a couple decades and I can tell you that eventually, I did experience the consequences of trying to drink my thoughts and feelings away.  I stayed pretty creative as long as I could, but, as life goes, I grew up, got married, had kids, and started to work. The turning point was when I lost my family of [...]