SIMPLE GESTURES

It must have been late January or early February a few years ago. I was on my way back from a morning walk on the Haul Road, a community walking path that skirts the ocean, when I ran into my good friends, Kate and Lars. We stopped for a moment to catch up, and I must have mentioned seeing a piece of driftwood along the trail that I wished I’d picked up.

A few days later I stopped by their house for a few minutes. Kate excused herself and returned with an oddly shaped gift, wrapped in red tissue paper.  “Happy Valentine’s Day,” she and Lars shouted. I recognized the driftwood before I tore off the wrapping. Lars had found the wood and dragged it back to their car. Kate wrapped it, but I never found out whose idea it had been to make it a gift. I was touched.

The driftwood now lives in my garden by my front door. I see it every time I come and go, and it always brings a smile to my face. When I went to collect my mail a few minutes ago, I noticed it, and it reminded me of a suggestion from an art teacher.

She promoted creating little works of art outside for others to find and enjoy. So on my way back from my mailbox I stopped to fashion a small heart out of rocks from the gravel that covers our dirt road. I laid it in a grassy spot that gets more paw traffic than foot traffic, but I know it’s there, and maybe someone will walk by, see it and smile.

LIFE AS A CREATIVE ACT

As I was pondering the various aspects of creativity, my mind flipped a thought around to life itself being a creative act. While I was thinking I was so smart to have come up with that idea I decided to google the thought.  Ram Dass was way ahead of me when he said, “My life is a creative act, like a painting, like a poem.” I probably read those very words years ago, and they popped up out of my memory bank when needed. Funny how that works.

But does living creatively require some end product, like a song or a drawing? What would it look like to live life creatively with no external product?  To do so I think we have to be our authentic selves and express our uniqueness in our choices from what to wear to how we spend our time and what we pay attention to.

Serendipity provided me with an email this morning from Deepak and Oprah who had this to say about living a creative life.  “This creative power of your conscious self is a new kind of creativity. It’s not limited to artistic ability or outside-the-box problem solving. It is the power of your being to recreate the unique expression of life that is you at this present moment. That is the primal creativity of Nature itself moving through you, and this is the creative power behind all success.”

With that said, I must admit I’m happiest when I’m engaged in some creative activity that often does end as a photograph or painting or new recipe. It’s what gives my life meaning; it’s a time when I can lose myself in the activity.

Perhaps my challenge is to get that same charge from living every moment creatively. What gets in my way is falling into an unconscious routine that buries my creativity.  Being fully aware and in the moment seems to be a prerequisite for any original thought or action.

The Japanese poet, Osho preceded Ram Dass and me when he wrote:

When I say to be creative

I don’t mean

You should all go

And become great painters

And great poets.

I simply mean

Let your life

Be a painting

Let your life be a poem.

To write a poem or paint, compose music or write a book can be a wonderful experience, but incorporating small creative acts into daily life can be lots of fun, too. I stumbled upon a wonderful  website where the author, Katherine Torrini, encourages tiny acts of creativity. She suggests small, fun activities that can be done by anyone in just a few minutes. Check it out.

In the meantime, Henry Miller’s advise should go a long way toward living a creative life.  “The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”