The Purpose of Creativity, Not What You Think.

The Purpose of Creativity, Not What You Think.

flame

Creativity is one thing I love to do in the kitchen. I’ll never forget the time when I was 10 years old; I reached for the flour in an overhead cupboard. My fingertips were millimeters away from the canister. One… more… bit… CRASH!

I was successful in getting the flour down, but it wasn’t in the canister… it was on my head. I stood there and sulked as my older sister laughed at me. She called me “Casper”.

Back then my dream was to become a baker. I loved baking cookies, muffins, and quick breads. Mixing simple ingredients with my signature twist was so fun. Unfortunately, its harder for me to bake these days. Not being able to eat gluten really puts a damper on the baking. But I still try and experiment with what I got. 🙂 My baking dream might have fizzled away but my need to create has not.

To truly feel alive I need to create something; whether it’s cookies, a garden, a writing piece, or simply drawing a picture on my son’s lunch bag. It is gratifying to see what my imagination can create. I feel like I did something. Know what I mean?

Why creativity is important

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Creativity isn’t just for fun. Creative thinking can solve problems, help us perform better at our jobs, help with depression, and it can help make a difference in peoples’ lives. Look at music, art, dance, and literature… what are those talents trying to do? Matthew Barnet has a great answer from his book, The Cause Within You.

He says, “Fulfilled artists do not paint or sculpt for the sake of creating more art. They do it to move people and challenge them to see the world differently. “

Want to know what’s scary?

From CreatingMinds.org they say our creativity fades away when we don’t use it. As in the Bible, it says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything…” Matthew 5:13. (NIV)

In our busy lives, it’s important to take a time-out to be creative; to take a small step in becoming the unique person we were intended to be. Not just for ourselves, but for the sake of others.

The creativity flame still has a glow in us. Let’s blow on it to feed the fire within. There is no better time than now to get our hands busy; our minds will love it, our hearts will feel good, and we may incite someone’s perspective.

By CT Copyright © 2016 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

3 Surprising Ways Depression Makes You Stronger

3 Surprising Ways Depression Makes You Stronger

Depression is a downer. It is not a fun thing to talk about; but we all, at one point in our lives, will feel it’s slippery slope. Imagine climbing out of your crevasse of depression; slipping back but catching yourself every so often. It’s an exhausting cycle and at times we just can’t see the top. But how do we climb out once and for all?

For five years+ I suffered from depression due to events in my life. To make matters worse I became frustrated during those years because depression was messing with my identity. I felt like I just existed, in fact, I think I was just existing.

Depression is a common illness that negatively affects how we feel, the way we think and how we act. It can last a couple of days, a few months, a handful of years, or a lifetime. It is a perplexing state of not knowing how to shut it off.

People don’t like to talk about depression. But people don’t talk about it enough. These days depression is swallowing up our children, yes children who are already on depression meds. It’s heartbreaking on many fronts.

How does depression happen?

There are a number of factors…too many to list, but usually, it’s when one event piles up after another. Recently we’ve heard social media being a player (or layer) in depression. Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, says, “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades…it’s largely because of Smartphones.” Social media is a false measure of our identities.

This isn’t just for iGen, it’s happening to other generations. Why? We want to be accepted yet be ourselves and for people to ‘like’ us no matter what. When this happens our values collide. Could this desire alone be the root of all depression?

But here’s something I bet you didn’t know: Depression can make you stronger.

This post isn’t about how to get through depression or manage Smartphone apps; it’s about what to do with depression when you’re climbing out of it.

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried,   but you’ve actually been planted.” – Christine Caine

Our dark days can bring strength or weakness; it’s how we see it. Do you know how I said I just existed? I’m going to feel that way. But as I look back, I noticed this period of life wasn’t to hurt me, it was to strengthen me.

Experience brings understanding. Hurt develops empathy. Renewal cultivates compassion.

When we’ve ‘been there’, we start to see the eyes of people differently. Let me reiterate, depression can make us stronger or weaker by how we use that experience in our life.

Using our troubles to help rather than hide-in produces strength. Our strength in moving forward, in doing more than existing, is having the courage to help people who are going through the same trials we’ve been through. This heals.

3 ways how depression made me stronger

Romans 12:2

1- I sought God, my Creator, the Truth

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It is then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will” -Romans 12:2.

God gave me light. This verse gave and gives me permission to step away from the world, its expectations, and false gods; and to seek the truth, to strengthen myself, and to use my experiences to test God’s will for my life. Reading a short daily devotional can help. I recommend Jesus Calling.

2- I sought someone out

This isn’t easy. People don’t talk about this stuff. So I had to be the one who pursued people who went through what I did and to talk with them about it. Talking with someone who ‘gets-it’ brings comfort. I’m here for you. Sign-up for a Jam Session and let’s chat.

I also sought out a professional who brought clarity on my issue.***

3- I sought my identity

I looked at my baby picture then I looked in the mirror. God didn’t create me to be sad. He created me to have joy.

In John 15:11 Jesus says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” He’s saying come to me, know me, and I’ll sustain you when adversity hits.

My personal values came into play. And when I defined them and put them to use, I began to see glimmers of sunshine in my days. I have a freebie on personal values here.

I dug into the Word, I helped others, I took better care of my body and managed stress with simple techniques like going for a walk or taking a hot bath with Epson salts. I explored my heart to help me see the big picture.

When Depression Visits

We will all occasionally be visited by Depression. But at least we know how to climb out a little faster and stronger than we did before. The hardest part is reaching for that next hold.

Disclaimer

*** I’d be happy to recommend a certified counselor or therapist who I trust and respect. Contact me.

By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

4 Rock-solid Reasons to Enjoy the Silence

4 Rock-solid Reasons to Enjoy the Silence

Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, all is bright.

Silent Night, the Christmas song, was composed in 1818. This now-traditional Holiday tune debuted all because of an organ…that broke. Without the help of an ill organ who knows if this song would have surfaced; oddly, silence accelerated its success.

How does silence help your success?

Recently I saw a commercial, not sure what it was selling, but it did leave me wondering what ‘peace’ really was. In the commercial, we see a couple who leaves the big city to go camping in the woods. Due to their over joyous accomplishment of setting up camp, they were obviously seeking serenity. However, when night fell and all was calm, they were restless and frustrated. Then one of them downloaded a ‘noise app’ on their phone. It played cars honking, emergency sirens blaring, and dogs barking…all was ‘calm’ and they instantly fell asleep. What is ‘your silence’? City sounds? Nature? Ocean waves? White noise?

Our ‘silent night’ is not only where our souls settle down, but it’s where peace waits and where ideas birth. Outside of bedtime, do you intentionally turn off the NOISE?

silent night snow covered mountain town with lights

4 Solid Reasons

  • Hearing from God. The most likely time God is going to talk to us is when we’re relaxed…quiet…still…and alone. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, did this all the time! Why wouldn’t we? But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16 If you haven’t gotten a daily devotional yet for this year, it’s never too late. One of my favorites is Jesus Calling.

  • Creativity. Inc. Magazine says…awesome creative work can be achieved by shutting out the outside world, whilst you insanely focus on your craft. You say you’re not creative? That’s not true! My go-to to taking my mind off things is to put my colored pencils to work. Here is a fun and soothing adult coloring book: The Psalms in Color.

  • Problem-solving. Turning off the noise slows our thoughts. We can then think through our issue without distraction. “Sleep on it” makes a lot of sense now. I absolutely LOVE my white noise machine. Our family has 4 of these. Seriously, this is amazing and has improved all of our sleep.

  • Restoration in health. Huffington Post reports, Researchers found that two hours of silence daily led to the development of new cells in the hippocampus, a key brain region associated with learning, memory, and emotion. If you can’t get complete silence, the white noise machine I mentioned above is a great alternative. It helps drown out the distracting with little noises. Again, I LOVE this thing! Click on the picture for more details.

The Power in Silent Night

In the dancing noises of our world many of us, unfortunately, will miss these life-enhancing riches. We’ll wander in the racket and wonder why our prayer hasn’t been answered, why this particular problem still lingers, why we feel like we just exist, and why our bodies hurt all the time.

Josef Mohr, author of Silent Night, pondered on what to do about his broken organ. Christmas Eve was the next day, people are expecting music! So he hiked up a hill.

It was there where he looked down at the snow-covered village where he could be in ‘his silence’. It was there where he gained the courage to create his poem into a legendary song.

The next day, Christmas Eve, he approached his organist, Franz Xaver Gruber, and within 3 hours Franz composed the melody via guitar. Silent Night has been sung ever since. Are you making an effort to be in silence every day, ‘hiking up a hill’ to get a glimpse of the big picture?

“The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence; the stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective.”

Mother Teresa

“Silence” grows, moves, and it gives. How much is ‘your silence’ worth? Recharge by spending some time in silence. You might be surprised at what you hear.

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By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

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