Where Does Creativity Come From?

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Someone recently asked me: “Where does your creativity come from?”

I thought, “Easy!”, and immediately answered that I mainly draw my inspiration from being outside in nature and experiencing the forests, lakes and wildlife near my home. But since giving it some more thought (typical 😉 ), I haven’t decided whether this is the easiest question in the world or the Mother of them all!

Right after I answered the question I was going to jump to the conclusion that creativity, in general, comes from our reunion with nature; that being outside and in touch with our natural environment is the well from which all creativity springs. But I stopped myself. I realized that this a pretty big assumption and not likely to be true. I know that there are creative people all over the globe, and many are living in very urban locations and probably spend very little time in nature, so that’s probably not it specifically.

So what is it then? Is our creativity born out of unique and individual experiences, or is there a common source for inspiration among us?

Well, I think both.

Digging a little deeper I began to question what it was, exactly, about being in the forest that awakens my creativity and what are the feelings and spirit that it invokes?

Playfulness, curiosity, adventure, a sense of wonder……lightness. I get out of my head and into my body and really sense my surroundings. No, it seems like I actually merge with my surroundings and experience myself as a part of the forest.

The earliest years of my life were spent on a small farm in Southern Ontario. My nearest neighbour was a mile away and I spent a lot of time alone, wandering the fields, playing in the barn and communing with the animals. When I was 8 years old my family moved to Muskoka, and although we lived in town I spent much of my time playing by myself in the swamp behind our house or roaming the woodlands nearby.

I’ve realized that every time I go walking in the woods – bird watching, hunting mushrooms, taking photographs or exploring new trails, I am transported back to another time in my life. Actually, it’s more like in those moments I transcend time altogether and reconnect with my child self in a brand new place, where anything is possible and the weight of the world is left behind. This is where I become playful and inspired, and that is how I feed myself creatively, every day. Then, I take that inspired energy and apply it to my life in all sorts of ways.

I propose that a common thing among creatives is our ability to access childlike states of being. There are many different sources of inspiration, but they all serve the same purpose: to awaken the creative spirit within us. Not to say we don’t share common threads, too…..like for instance, I know that many people find nature a tremendous source for inspiration, but I have to say, that pile of lego on the floor does very little to stimulate my creative mind, personally!

If we want to live creative lives, then it’s important that we find the places and activities that allow us to connect and nurture the hidden parts of ourselves. The spirit of childhood is so often left behind as we make the journey into becoming adult.

Shall we change that?

I ask you: What is it that connects you to your playful, wonderous, creative inner artist/child? Maybe take a trip to an old neighbourhood, build a fort, play with some play-doh, spend a day at the beach or an afternoon baking a cake…….whatever it is that connects you, do more of it! Maybe you are consciously accessing these places already, as a practice even, or maybe this is something you are already doing and just weren’t aware of the reasons why. The perfect places/things are out there……we just need to allow ourselves access to them.

Creativity awaits! XO

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