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Don’t kill the wrong thing … Let creativity live!

Creativity?… Some of my clients say that they have none, or that they don’t have a visual eye.

Yet, when I work with them and help nurture their newborn ideas, I see all kinds of creative sparks flying out of the embers; which always adds delicious ingredients to the magical pot of creativity. They just need kindling support and breath to sustain the creative spark, in order to generate a fire of an idea that resonates with them.

So, I would like to share with you a little story to highlight an aspect of this…

There is a legendary story about Gelert who is the name of a dog associated with the village of Beddgelert in Gwynedd, Northwest Wales. Beddgelert happens to be close to where I was raised as a child. As a dog lover, it is a haunting story I am familiar with.

But, with the help of an interpretation by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, this heartfelt story now takes on new and helpful meanings for me. I think it may also help you too.

Let’s see…

The story of Gelert

Gelert belonged to Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd, a gift from King John of England. In this legend, Llywelyn returns from hunting to find his baby missing, the cradle overturned, and the dog with a blood-smeared mouth. Believing the dog savages the child, Llywelyn draws his sword and kills it. After the dog’s dying yelp Llywelyn hears the cries of the baby, unharmed under the cradle, along with a dead wolf that had attacked the child and been killed by Gelert. Llywelyn is then overcome with remorse and he buries the dog with great ceremony, yet he can still hear the dying yelp. After that day Llywelyn never smiles again (ref: Wikipedia).

Creativity? Why this story?

The reason this tale is so close to my heart is that Clarissa compares this to our thoughts and beliefs about creativity.

Many of us (for a number of reasons ) harshly judge ourselves as not being creative. We kind of box ourselves into tiny spaces, saying “ I am not an artist.” “I am not a writer” and so on.

So, if we ever attempt to birth a new idea, we can be quick to label it as crap.

We can often forget that developing a craft means to be with the discomfort of being a beginner, especially when our creation does not look how we initially envisioned it.

Practice, re-shaping, and persistence allow our craft to evolve and eventually take on a form that we feel more comfortable with.

Imagine the baby in the story of Gelert, is your newborn desire to: paint, write a blogpost, define your branding etc. Imagine the wolf is your inner or outer critic and the dog is your instinctual creativity and drive…

Just imagine for a second, you birthed a delicate new idea, sparked by excitement and a drive to create something. You are protective of this desire and you want to look after it, but one day it gets destroyed by something (external or internal), so you just stop. You kill it off because it’s not quite measuring up somehow. You kill your instinctual creativity.

The result

Can you see that you are killing the wrong thing?

Your creativity has a willingness to kill your enemy because it loves you. It is rich in nourishment and is your faithful friend. It sings to the needs of your soul.

If you misjudge your instinctual nature as the enemy and are not worth keeping alive, you will kill it off. But, your creativity has your best interests at heart. It wants to help look after your new-birthed idea protect it and help shape its evolution.

In conclusion

We are ALL creative!

Your instinctual creativity deserves to live no matter what form it takes…It is your friend and will protect you. It will feed your soul and will eventually evolve into something you feel more comfortable with. You just have to allow it to live.

The next time you catch yourself shunning, destroying, or judging your new ideas…think again…What are you killing off here? 

The baby has the desire to paint, write, etc. As Clarissa states, an artist is an artist before they have created a single thing…A writer is a writer before they have written a single thing…and so on.

It’s not necessarily the product at the end that is most important; it is the internal fire and desire to create in and of itself that makes you the artist. Remember this and trust this…

So, be assured, that any creative desires you may have, are in good supportive hands here. I see you!!!

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