Wellbeing and development – being creative, by Aleena Miles

We see that according to many articles on-line and elsewhere that being creative is beneficial for our well being. This article is one example and claims that being creative in any one of a variety of ways has 5 main benefits:

relieves stress,
increases and renews brain function,
helps to prevent alzheimers,
improves mood,
cultivates your social life,

(Ref: https://verilymag.com/2016/01/mental-emotional-health-creativity-happiness)

I used to absolutely love painting as a hobby and sometimes I did paid commissions too. Unfortunately in recent years I felt increasingly angry with painting. It wasn’t going as I wanted it to. Nobody wanted my work, no one appreciated it. It brought no benefits. I made no money. My negativity had effectively turned my joy into an isolating prison of sadness and frustration. I was totally blocked. Little wonder that I was blocked. Over time I had increasingly associated painting, my former delight and pleasure, with a host of negative things such as a lack of appreciation, being undervalued, being isolated, being ignored, failure and even poverty!

As part of my ongoing mission of ‘life enhancement’ and ‘personal development’ I decided that I needed to unblock my creativity and to recapture that fantastic euphoric feeling I used to get. To get rid of my “painter’s block” I first asked myself why did I ever paint in the first place? My answer to that was that I wanted and still want to feel and express joy.

I remembered back when I was a child of about 6 years and how magical it was for me to get a brand new box of paints. The colours were vivid and pure, the layer of tissue paper crisp and untouched, the promise of creating lovely images was so exhilarating to me – like the thought of flying on a magic carpet. Back then I had no other demands or expectations of painting. I demanded no fees, no kudos, no reputation, no publicity, no competition with others. Life was simple and uncomplicated. I just blissfully painted and did not think, care or worry in the slightest what anyone else thought about what I produced. These kind of thoughts never even entered my head. Painting was just so simply blissful. Realising this and remembering these times made me want to chop through the weeds of self-imposed constraints and cynicism. I remembered that I very often did artwork for other people even when I was very young (like those nice next door neighbours we had). I always needed to be creative for recipients.

So I set myself a little goal – to do a free painting for a good cause. I would have a time limit. I would get some chores done first and then I would have a whole two hours (at least 2 hours per week for painting). I would not care about being paid. I would just paint for the sheer fun of doing it and the ‘bonus’ would be that it would not be just for me alone. I painted with the hope of sharing the pleasure and giving joy to others too when the painting was complete and installed. Before even buying the paint and canvas I visualised my future painting as already finished and being a ‘joy object’ to help people to feel good, hopefully even inspired. The aim of creating a mutually beneficial painting was a great motivator for me – at last I felt I had a purpose and a reason to do it. I could unblock myself and hopefully help others in the process too.

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