Creativity As A Force For Good : Music, Art & Well-Being - Stereo Stickman

Creativity As A Force For Good : Music, Art & Well-Being

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Be Creative Without Concern

In a high energy and fast paced world, amidst an ever growing ocean of people and possibilities, it can seem completely unnatural and unproductive to simply stop and sit and learn to create something. In order to get ahead, to become a successful person, to have a life worth living; we must get the grades, we must develop the skills, we must seek out the jobs that pay the most, and essentially, willingly, thoughtlessly, throw ourselves into the never ending tornado of modern life.

This is not to say that any of this is inadvisable, quite the contrary; learn as much as possible, develop skills, broaden your horizons and create the best possible opportunities for yourself and your family. Absolutely there’s a method and a formula for these things. But somewhere in there, amongst the never-ending rungs on that ladder to the top, it’s more than worth your while to make time for creative pursuits. To pursue creativity, simply for the beauty of it, for what it brings out in you as a person, is invaluable. It’s irreplaceable, and it’s one of the best decisions you can make.

Challenge The Norm

There’s an unfortunate mentality in some areas that it’s a waste of time to learn to play an instrument or to learn to make art. Speaking from personal experience, we had no real option for music at school and any talk of making music was kind of laughed off. Even now, this mentality resurfaces when talking to people who were witness to the same, who now say they wish they’d have learned to do certain things (create, write, play an instrument). But it needn’t be a fixed mentality. It needn’t be a fact about you that you do not know how to do these things. It’s not the case that if you didn’t do it when you were very young, you never can. As long as there is time, there is time to create.

As a child, the surrounding family may encourage creative pursuits as an example of something (anything) that will make their little loved ones happy. This is one of the greatest things about starting a family – re-experiencing those wonderful childhood pursuits, those creatively playful times of learning and exploring and developing. But it’s over all too quickly for most people. Our surrounding society often has very different ideas, particularly as we get older. There’s no money in art, there’s no chance of making it with music, everybody wants to be an artist or wants to be this, that, and the other arbitrary thing that draws in fame and fortune.

When did creativity become about riches? So many of our famously creative ancestors and figures throughout time lived their lives with barely a penny to their names. The world is different now, certainly, but the basic, primal desire to create and build and craft things, purely because they are beautiful, and because they teach us to be calm and focused, is just the same as it ever was.

Why fill people with fear over what could go wrong, when the fact of the matter is there are far more instances of things that could go right? Let’s not dispense bad advice out of pure regret for the things we didn’t do. Let’s be a part of something that encourages people to get started, no matter how old they are or where they may be in their lives, including ourselves. It’s so incomparably fulfilling to be creative, and there are also so very many smaller communities of artists and creatives all around the world that we can become involved in and be a part of; adding to the package the health and well-being benefits of a friendly and supportive social circle.

Exercise Creative Freedom

To talk of freedom is to teeter on the edge of potentially millions of different ideas and experiences. We are all free in some ways, and yet we are all somewhat trapped in others. To choose to be creatively free is one of the only choices that is ours and ours alone.

To begin to put ideas together for the purpose of fiction – something as yet unreal, unaffected by the walls of what’s expected, something that is literally non-existent until your mind begins to make it so, is to really be free for a while; free within your mind, and your heart, and your space upon this earth. It is to throw the predictable pathways to one side and take some time to be about you. To discover yourself, your abilities, your desires. It is to work out how to make those things that have often caught your eye or your ear or your mind, and to be inspired by that, and yet to take the vague idea of those things and veer off in some unknown, untrodden direction that your subconscious mind will willingly walk you towards.

It’s important to consider the younger people of our time, who are witnessing an immense and ever growing ocean of artists right before their very eyes. Every single day, on every device they own – You-tubers, bloggers, bedroom singers, home-made celebrities. It can be quite intimidating to get started, but it can’t be said enough that to get started is the most important thing.

To be creative should be something that is free from concern, free from fear and worry over judgement or criticism. It’s an exercise in freedom entirely. It’s something for you to spend your time doing, purely for you – to find ways for you to express your inner thoughts and feelings, that are not always so easy to put into words among friends or family members. It’s to explore your existence in relation to the world around you, simply because it’s a wonderful world, and you’re a wonderful you. Nobody else will make the things that you will make, regardless of whether others deem them to be ‘good’ or not. To be good at something is somewhat irrelevant in relation to the sheer importance of teaching and exercising creative freedom.

Artistic creativity is the utmost purest form of personal expression. To create is to alter your perception, and indeed yourself. Any concern for what others will think of what you’ve made is needless, particularly in these initial stages. Make what your heart wants to make, and see where it takes you. Allow your mind to wander freely whilst directing you and your tools towards something brand new. The experience in itself is out of this world, and even if you choose never to share it with anyone else – the experience of creating it in the first place will stay with you, as will the skills you’ve been developing during the process.

Creativity and Well-Being

When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason.”Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

There is so much value in music and art when it comes to improving our well-being and our quality of life. To focus our energy on creating or designing something, which simply would not exist without us, and which has no known ending in sight – we will not know that it’s finished, until it’s finished – is a beautifully bizarre and gorgeously calming way to pass the time.

To find ourselves in a somewhat meditative state, focusing entirely on what we are doing, experimenting with these tools and these possibilities in front of us; these sounds, these colours, these flavours, these materials, these ideas – is to free ourselves from the loud and largely instructional confines of modern life. It is to escape from our routine reality for a while and be completely at one with the world. There is nothing more therapeutic than to put time and effort into creating something purely for it to exist. There is so much beauty in that, and the mind knows this, and the mind will work in harmony with the body to get you there, and this is precisely what makes these tasks so important, and so valuable, and so worth while.

Consider the effect of music or art or film on those who experience it once it’s finished. We are creatures of leisure, we pursue these activities that connect with our feelings and allow us to escape. The value of these arts is endless, it reaches far and wide, through generations and onwards – perhaps even beyond the horizon of our own lives. We seek out art forms that express the way we are feeling, and when we find them we feel so connected, so understood, so much less alone.

We are a society of worriers, of deep thinkers with complex emotional needs. Any act or activity that is known (and has been proven) to help us deal with these complexities, and which brings no harm or negativity to ourselves or those around us, should absolutely and categorically be encouraged, and embraced, and taught.

Endless Opportunities

It is indeed a fast-paced world in which we are living. There are more people than ever, we are more connected than ever, and life is, on the whole, much louder than it has ever been before. Even so, despite what is often fed out to us through mainstream media, it’s really not all doom and gloom.

The wonderful side of modern life is that everybody gets a voice; this means the good ones, as well as the bad ones. The new world is one that includes numerous individuals, groups of people, organisations and companies, whose primary concern and aim is to bring together those of us who wish to create and craft and build and learn. They act to encourage this, and to help us along the way. These are opportunities that were either none existent twenty years ago, or were close to impossible to find and be a part of. The internet has opened the door to a somewhat endless array of opportunity, as well as what can sometimes seem like an absolute ocean of impossibility. You just have to make sure you walk through the right door.

The more artists you meet, the more at ease with becoming one yourself you will be; contrary to the whole starving artist concept. The fact is, people who embark upon creative pursuits in their lives are consistently opening themselves up to so much discovery and development and inner peace. They have projects on which to focus, both inside and outside of the workplace, they always have something new that they wish to learn – there is always so much to learn – and they have belief in the power of art and creativity. They know that these things make them feel good, and that they make their lives so much more fulfilling and enjoyable. There is often a sense of peace around people who create for creativity’s sake. It’s calming to be around them, and we could all do with a little more calm in our lives.

Being Open To Opportunity, But Carving Your Own Pathway

The world is not slowing down any time soon. There is lots to be done, and indeed, there are certain paths that will get you to where you want to be much quicker than others will. Still, it’s important to make sure to take the time to just stand back and look at where your life is headed.

Look at what’s around you, and think about the possibilities. Keep yourself well, keep yourself open to opportunities, and keep yourself learning. What’s more, without a doubt, pass this sentiment on to those around you. As a society, we so often seem to be swiftly spiraling towards an inescapable state of panic and fear. So many things are out of our hands entirely. That’s not to say let’s not focus our passion and energy on good causes, it’s just to point out the importance of using up what’s left over of those passions at the end of the day. Use that energy in a way that benefits you, and this, in turn, will benefit those around you. To be creative is to expel any bad energy from our bodies and from our minds and just start over; build something new, begin again with a fresh perspective on what has passed.

Regardless of the outcome of your creative endeavours, the act of creating in itself, the journey upon which you embark, is by far the most rewarding and eye opening part of the whole experience. To compare career artists with hobby artists is irrelevant in terms of personal development and well-being, perhaps even a little pointless when the benefits to both are so vast and incomparable.

Everything We Pursue For Pleasure is Art

Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso

Among a vastly increasing population on earth, it’s easy to forget the point of art. It’s purpose is to draw feeling from people, to alter their thought process, to conjure up memories or emotions or ideas. It’s the very building blocks of happiness. All of the things we do as humans in our ‘free time’, in our leisure time, relates to or regards some form of art. Trips to the cinema, evenings out at gigs, galleries, museums, even sports; there’s no real point to sport other than as a pursuit of enjoyment, of fun, of freedom and togetherness and a united understanding (as well as a little health and fitness for good measure).

Everything we pursue purely for pleasure is technically some sort of art. There is no use for it other than to give us a reason to live and to love living. Enjoyment and pleasure and pursuit of these elements outside of our regular routine are the very essence of life. What is the point in life if we don’t feel it? If we don’t take the time to stand back and experience it, if we just briefly sense that it has passed us by once again? And then what are working towards? What are we looking for? Why do we bother?

Be Creative. Enjoy The Journey. Enjoy The Pursuit Of Art.

Whether it’s physical art; painting, sculpting, building, designing, drawing, baking, sketching, or whether it’s music or film or theatre or alternative sport, or any other of the limitless possibilities for creative pursuits – do not fall victim to the suggestion that there is no money in art, or that there is a limited chance of ‘success’. Those suggestions are put out there to prevent you from ever getting started, and it’s been mentioned before, but it’s such a significant thing to acknowledge and accept – getting started is the utmost important part.

Pursuing these wonderful art forms can bring so much joy and happiness into our lives. The very act of creating something from nothing is a stunning experience to encounter in life. One of the very best moments a person can experience in their creative journey is that very moment when what you have made appears to be, finally, somehow, finished. When you can look out at this thing that you made, and witness it as something separate from yourself; listen back to that song, stare down at that painting, watch in awe as the people in your production perform the work that exists purely because of you – that moment is something out of this world. In that moment, you have no idea what anyone else will think of it, you don’t care, and rightly so – it really doesn’t matter, in the grand scheme of things. You just know exactly how you and your mind are receiving it right now, and if you really believe that it’s finished, then right there in that moment it will be everything you had hoped and intended for it to be, and more.

Despite there being more opportunities available to us than ever these days, we still are somehow, at times, a society of anxiety-ridden depressives. We question ourselves, we doubt our abilities, we think far less of our role and our appearance and our importance than we should. Surely anything, anything in life that can counter act this pointless wave of sadness, is something that should be encouraged?

Our desire for and appreciation of art is one of the only things that is certain in this life. Be a part of it. Get out there and make things. Be creative. Learn new skills and teach others the same – how to sing, how to paint, how to design things, how to dance, how to write. Pass it on. Take time to be in the world, and do something that will make it even more beautiful than it already is.

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Additional Resources..

http://verilymag.com/2016/01/mental-emotional-health-creativity-happiness (regarding creativity and well-being)

http://personalexcellence.co/blog/average-of-5-people/ (regarding spending time around other artists)

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Musician & writer with an MA in Songwriting.

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