the middle of my reverie I saw a picture of myself as a small child.
I was three years old again, totally engrossed in drawing a picture.
I re-experienced the sense of wonder and excitement I had in applying
color to the drawing and shaping the objects exactly the way I wanted
them to be. As the child I was oblivious to my surroundings. I was
exhilarated and filled with joy. In short, I was enchanted with
what I was drawing. I wanted to be no where else doing nothing else.
understand why my feeling of joy as a small child is significant,
I need to give a bit of background. Due to circumstances beyond
her control, shortly after my birth, my mother was unable to keep
me or my brother with her. At the age of two months I was placed
in an orphanage. Though my mother kept track of and visited us occasionally,
for all intents and purposes, she did not exist in my life. This
lasted until I was six years old and my mother remarried.
scene I described above, with my joy and contentment, I was sitting
alone in the corner of the Denver orphans home with my back
to the others in the room. When I wasnt sitting alone engulfed
in creative wonder, my memories of "the home" as we called
it, were quite different. A state run institution does not allow
for any nurturing or personal involvement between the staff and
the children. The atmosphere was gray, drab and fairly depressing
most of the time. We marched single file to all our meals, to the
playground or to the rest room. I had a narrow bed amidst the neat
rows of 35 other beds in one open room. There was never any privacy.
There were chain link fences around the entire building. I remember
distinctly standing with my fingers clutching the chain links watching
other children with their mothers passing by on the sidewalk, wishing
very much that I could be like them.
point here is that though the bulk of my formative years were spent
in an environment that was very depressing, and sometimes emotionally
abusive, I always felt complete joy when engaged in any creative
act. Something in me was driven to steal away and construct things
from whatever I could find. Often I had to quietly slip away into
a closet or a corner, with a few crayons and just a few slips of
paper. These were my only instruments of creativity, as none of
the children were allowed any personal toys. Yet these were enough
to bring me profound rapture.
at age six my mother remarried. I received my first Christmas present
at the age of six. My step father, a wonderful human being, bought
me exactly what Id asked for. This was a standing chalk board
that I could sit down at and it had a large box of colored chalk.
I never came out of my room on Christmas day. I was totally engrossed
in creating colored pictures, admiring them and then erasing them,
so I could create another one. I was in heaven. That day is as fresh
in my memory today as it was then.
it was the act of creativity that maintained my sanity and allowed
me to know as a small child what joy was. There was precious little
in my world that afforded me any love or emotional nourishment.
Yet, I was graced to have a compulsive need to create, and in that
creative experience I was lifted to lofty heights.
believe that we all have the creative impulse in us. I was fortunate
enough to have mine alive and well, even though my environment didnt
foster it. That impulse is what sustained me during those early
years. Once it is allowed to surface, whether through need, as mine
did, or by desire, it will provide unending nourishment to the heart,
head and soul. It is the most natural act we have, the urge to create.
most significant way that people can encourage this creative urge
in themselves is to have some kind of hobby. Something that sparks
their interest and gives them joy as they engage it. It could be
a sport, an art, a musical instrument or even an intellectual pursuit.
The key factor is that they are fully present when they do it and
feel a sense of fulfillment and excitement in the process.
are best when they are not competitive. No one else should judge
what youve done or created. I didnt let anyone tell
me whether what I drew and created as a small child was good or
bad. I actually didnt care if they saw it. I just needed to
create it, and when it was finished I felt a sense of fulfillment
I didnt experience in any other way.
a result I have always had a hobby. I realized in today's contemplation
that my computer has become one of my hobbies, and creating this
web site is a good excuse to use the computer on a regular basis,
beyond my work place. I also get to vent one of my other hobbies,
which is a love for mystery, puzzles and just plain venturing into
the final analysis I hope that everyone can vent their creative
urge in the way that I was fortunate to do so as a child. Dont
let anyone else judge your creations, just enjoy the process. If
other people like what you create, then thats wonderful because
they may feel the joy you felt creating it. If they dont,
it doesnt really matter. Creative sanity and emotional well
being are just a crayon away. As Joseph Campbell aptly said, "Follow
your bliss." If you do, your life will unfold new horizons
and opportunities hitherto undreamed of.