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I wish I’d engaged in more impassioned activities in my binge-eating days. Back then, other than work, socializing, reading and downhill skiing, I didn’t have much going on to joyfully fill my time. Since then—half a lifetime ago—I’ve become, to my surprise, a highly creative person. If I’d had or pursued more creative interests long ago, I suspect I would have turned to them rather than eating mindlessly. Then, again, maybe my creativity slowly emerged because I wasn’t stuffing myself with food. Who knows?
Whether you’re making jewelry or refinishing furniture, writing a poem or designing a garden, when creative juices are flowing, you’re fully engaged, body and mind. This is why creativity is such a powerful antidote to mindless eating: you’re in the moment and yet you’re also inexorably moving forward—on a magical, transformational journey.
Never had creativity or had it and lost it? According to Deena Bouknight in “How to be more creative,” you can nurture your creativity (Sarasota Herald Tribune, 6/20/19, p. F1). She shares research from verywellmind.com that creativity comes from wondering and curiosity, adding that creative people are playful and love fun, but also recognize that making something requires hard work. Moreover, they may have “subtle or obvious tendencies toward rebelliousness” and tend toward non-conformity.
I would add that creative people do something because they desire to do it. I teach and blog a lot about tossing out shoulds and shouldn't because they thwart creativity. So do people pleasing and approval seeking, although some creative types adore praise and applause. But that comes at the end of whatever they’re doing. Truly inspired and inventive types are often more taken by creating than by having their genius celebrated.
If you’ve ever had the thought, “what if?,” you may have the seed of creativity lying dormant within you. That’s how ideas come to life. You nurture and follow them along without censoring yourself or worrying about whether your idea is good, good enough, feasible, necessary or makes any sense. You’re not the driving force; your idea is.
A reminder that creativity is about play and being in the moment. It’s about starting rather than finishing and the process rather than the destination. Work has a distinct goal. Creativity’s goal is to express and enliven you. Facing challenges is fine because they’re integral to the process of whatever is becoming. You can’t force creativity, but you can fertilize the mental and emotional ground it grows from and be open to when it springs forth. Creativity beats mindless eating any day of the week!
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