Creativity and Zen

I love all things creative; I always have! I remember being a child and wanting to take drawing lessons. I grew up with a mom who was creative and who taught ceramics as well as an aunt who taught ceramics, a cousin who was an artist, an uncle who was a photographer, and a grandmother that was a seamstress, and all sorts of other fiber arts. I have been doing all sorts of creative things, but only for the last 20 years or so, because I was stupid and gave up being creative when I became a teenager, or at least gave up some of the things that I loved. I continued to play my violin and march in the band in the colorguard, but as for anything artsy or handcraft wise, I gave it up!

Fast forward to my first job after college, and I started to re-learn how to knit and sew. Back then, HGTV and DIY were all about arts and crafts as well as home improvement. I loved “The Carol Duvall Show”, “Simply Quilts”, “That’s Clever”, “Craft Lab”, “Knitty Gritty”, “Gardening by the Yard”, as well as “DIY Scrapbooking”. I could spend hours watching these shows. Little did I know back then, that I found creating and creativity to be a “zenful” experience.

Sewing

Drop spindle spinning

Crocheting

Mosaic

Photography

When I started to thing about going back to school, I contemplated being a dietitian as well as an art therapist. I was dissuaded from becoming an art therapist because I was told it was hard to bill insurances (they din’t usually cover art therapy). I finally decided that a 1 year MSW program was the way to go.

I got into a program at a local state school and continued to love being creative. When I was asked how I prevent burnout, I spoke of my creative hobbies. I realized how much I loved being creative, but I still didn’t realize how “zenful” being creative was. My supervisor at my internship even realized how important being creative was to me. She told me to figure out how to bring my creativity into my social work. I spent time writing papers on creativity and social work, specifically on scrapbooking and social work.

It’s been 10 years since I have graduated from grad school and I have spent a good amount of time researching and learning about art therapy and the benefits of creativity and mindfulness on mental health. I have learned a lot, but there is still more to learn. As I said in my last post, I do want to focus on journaling, but there are so many other forms of creativity that make me feel “Zenful”. I was reminded of this today and every time I create. Today, I showed my daughter how to quill. I posted a picture on Facebook and a friend commented that I would need to teach his daughter. The thought of teaching her made me happier than I realized it would.

Quilling projects

My 8 year old daughter’s quilling project

Making journals and learning how to or what to journal is definitely one of my focuses when I finally get my own business. I want to have a studio where I teach people the benefits of being creative. I want to teach people how to create their own journals, the benefits of journaling, different prompts to help them journal, that journaling isn’t about being perfect, journaling is about getting out thoughts and feelings and putting them down on paper. With that, I don’t want to forget about the other creative endeavors that create a “zenful” feeling. I know it will take time, but I also know that if I really want this, I have to figure out how to make it happen.

Creating a smashbook for a journal/scrapbook

I will write further posts about journaling specifically, but at a later date. I will post some prompts and some pages I follow that help me get journaling ideas for me and for my clients.

Namaste,

Amy

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