Wednesday, August 13, 2008

creativity, inspiration, self-actualization and you

An unknown author recently said, "Stay young by taking inspiration from the young in spirit who remained creatively active all their lives: Goethe completing Faust at 80; Titian painting masterpieces at 98; Toscanini conducting at 85; Justice Holmes writing Supreme Court decisions at 90; Edison busy in his laboratory at 84; and Benjamin Franklin helping to frame the American Constitution at 80." In other words, it ain't over till it's over.

In 1996 when Hillary Rodham Clinton contributed to a monograph for the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, Americans for the Arts, she said, "Some of the most powerful works of art have been produced by older Americans by hands that have engaged in years of hard work, eyes that have witnessed decades of change, and hearts that have felt a lifetime of emotions. Our whole society benefits when older Americans use their talents and experiences to become involved in the arts as creators, teachers, mentors, volunteers and audiences.

Creativity studies have shown that for some, the approach of end of life and self-actualization actually stimulates creativity with increased urgency, intensity, and energy and that creativity may emerge during periods of intense loneliness and depression. Recall the lives of poet Carl Sandburg, violinist Pablo Casals, and folk painter Grandma Moses. Which stage of creativity are you in? (Ebersole & Hess, 1995)

Preparation - where time and experience foster opportunity
Frustration - expression and approach may be unclear
Incubation - ideas are taking shape
Illumination - an approach becomes clear
Elaboration - plans are developed and built upon