Creative by Nature

Everyone has creativity within them, sometimes it's just harder to find.

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I believe deeply that we all have a creativity within us in our nature. We are all creative, yet it is expressed in so many different forms--which is the beauty of creativity! In my life, I love to be creative in how I style my plants and decorate my home. As a speech-language pathologist who works with kids, I also find myself needing to be creative in my work . When I cook, sometimes I use extra dishware just because the presentation is "cuter." My husband could care less about food presentation, but he is incredibly creative in bringing people together (via games or conversation) and creating a sense of community between strangers. I love that creativity is expressed in a multitude of forms, but sometimes it makes you wonder what is creativity? Here are some quotes from artists that I admire, who shared their definitions of creativity in this video .

I've always looked at creativity as How can I create something that's new? [...]How do I say things in a way which you haven't heard?"-Jackie Hill Perry, spoken word artist

I like to see it as making the most out of the resources you have. - Sho Baraka, musician

There's an outflow, an offering, a giving of some sort. -Esteban Shedd, musician

If you are saying to yourself, "Maybe other people are creative but I really am not" I want to take a moment to challenge you (in a gentle way ^.^). Have you solved a problem in your family or in a friendship or at work? Have you cooked a meal with some sad leftovers or all that was left in your pantry? Have you ever thought about how you could make someone feel better in a moment of sadness or stress? Have you thought about how you could make the world a better place (even in the smallest way)? Are you thinking right now? Did I just trick you into being creative about thinking about creativity? I hope so. I know not everyone will think of creativity this way, and that's okay. To each their own, and I respect that. 

One more thing I want to say about creativity, maybe you haven't had the opportunity to be creative recently. Maybe your whole life your parents just wanted you to do what you were told and get a job that paid well. There are so many ways that creativity is stifled…stunted…but never completely destroyed. I believe that creativity can be cultivated and it is a worthwhile venture. Here are some questions I have asked myself that have helped me work through what it means to be creative.

What am I passionate about?

What are my strengths?

How can I use my strengths towards my passions?

How do I leverage my strengths to bring about good?

What are the fears/anxieties that creep into my mind the moment I think about doing something new or being creative?

What do I want to create? A culture? A product? A work of art? A story? A meal? A game?

Who am I creating for?

Hopefully some of these helped you think through creativity in your life. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or you can send me a message on my contact page. 

With Love and Imagination,
Amy

The Passion, The Why

My dream, my inspiration

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You may be wondering, Where did "Think Creatively" come from? You may not be. Either way, I'm stepping out to share the answer. 

For as long as I can remember, I've been a dreamer, but not always for the right reasons. In college, I wanted to start a school for students with special needs. If I examine where my heart was though, it was more about the praise that I would receive, rather than the cause itself. I wanted to find my identity in doing something great, in being "known." As much as I hate to admit it, helping people was secondary. Since then, I've grown a lot in my understanding of self worth. I know to no longer put my worth in what I do or accomplish. Rather, I must be secure in who God has made me to be. I may have moments where I forget, but that is where I try to land my mind when I lay my head down to sleep.

I graduated from my Master's program in Spring 2018 with the degree I needed to become a Speech-Language Pathologist/ Speech Therapist. (Major brownie points if you've heard of that profession!) , a new dream began. During grad school, I worked with some clients who had experienced a traumatic brain injury. Often times their injury would leave them with a diagnosis of Aphasia, where essentially the language area of your brain is damaged but the other areas remain relatively intact. A lot of the clients I saw had difficulty carrying conversations, and they benefited from slow, simple sentences. Speech was no longer as fluid, so during therapy we would try to work on more scripted language as that was easier for them.

As I worked more with this population, I would see that my clients were easily discouraged and I learned that the particular population of persons with traumatic brain injuries are more prone to isolation and depression. I mean, I can only imagine...the difficulty, the frustration, the pain that someone experiences when they are no longer able to communicate as they once did. It seemed that those emotions were further exacerbated when the person was unemployed. It's hard to blame employers because we live in a society that elevates customer service like no other, and it's not easy to provide customer service when you have difficulty with speech. This made my heart heavy. I saw a need to provide job opportunities for persons with disabilities. 

My dream to open a cafe to employ persons who have experienced traumatic brain injuries and simultaneously be used as a functional platform for speech therapy was born. I saw a need, and I also saw that I had been blessed to earn the degree required to help meet that need. What do you do when you see a need and the resources to meet that need? You go out and try your hardest to make it happen and then it happens! ... I wish it was that easy. 

Usually you start by sharing your dream with other people, or maybe you start with a raging internal battle of whether or not you should share. Once you get to the point of sharing, you bring other people into the picture, other opinions. 

This is the tipping point. This where one decides whether to keep dreaming or...to stop. 

Words are powerful, they can give life or bring death. They can lift us up, they can tear us to pieces. I experienced words in all these ways. The notable thing is this, it was the negative words that stuck the most, that stung the most. I could have 5 people tell me to follow my dream, but it only takes 1 person, who means something to you, to saying "I don't think you should try" to stifle the dream. 

I say stifle, because there was something different about my dream to open a cafe. It wasn't a dream so easily crushed. I was convicted that it wasn't about making money, or it being easy. It was about the need, and feeling called to meet that need even if it meant it was more difficult, even if it meant taking risks. 

It was the process though, of sharing, of opening my dream up to opinions, that gave me passion to cultivate a culture where we are encouraged to "think creatively." In small or big, known or unknown ways, I want to tell people to keep dreaming. Keep dreaming because that's how the world becomes a better place. 

Disclaimer: It seems to me that when people hear "dream," they think unplanned, impractical, foolish, and pie in the sky ideas. When I talk about dreaming, I am talking about ambition, having a goal, and allowing that goal to inspire you to take practical and responsible actions towards that dream.