Getting to the heart of creativity

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By Piotr Ulmer, MSPT

Sometimes I wonder if we really appreciate the gift of creativity. It’s not just an oil painting of the Mona Lisa or the sculpting of Archangel Michael. Creativity permeates all aspects of our lives on a daily basis. We all become more or less creative while landscaping, reorganizing furniture in the office, cooking or entertaining. Some people even get creative in the ways of avoiding work.

From my own experience creating has always been such an important part of life. One example of this involves my mother. Music in all its forms has been a constant love in her life. She was a music teacher and has told me so many stories about Mozart, Beethoven and other composers. She would asked me many times what a composer thought, or tried to illustrate through composing a particular piece of music, and I was supposed to listen to the music and then come up with the answer. She would share with me all the “behind the scenes” stories of the music we were just listening to. In doing this she regularly took my mind through a creative “work out.” Then she would encourage me to sit at the “Berlina” upright piano in my six foot by nine foot bedroom and “put together some sounds” on my own. For example, I used lower keys and bass notes for illustrating a bear coming to get us and the high tones and keys to illustrate birds singing in the forest.

My mom’s love of music stayed with me through my high school, when every day straight after school, I’d come home and play simple songs and harmonies on the piano. Most of the time I didn’t even know where it all came from, and every time after about twenty to thirty minutes of this creative outlet, I’d have to use the restroom. I think my body was just unwinding from school stress and relaxing to the point of having an autonomic reaction. Perhaps it kept me from trouble, because I looked forward to coming back home to my mom’s “Berlina” piano instead of hiding out and smoking stuff behind the corner.

As an adult I think about creativity and our human ability to create life. Have you thought, meditated, prayed about or analyzed it? How come every healthy, adult human without education or particular skill is able to recreate life? Anybody who even has a hint of knowledge about the complex processes that take place during conception, growth, birth and life of a baby should agree it is all beyond our human grasp and control of organizing or even merely imitating it. Thinking about this leads me to add another dimension to the act of creativity.

You see, as important as creativity is for life there is no supercomputer nor nuclear lab nor mad scientist who is capable of starting life. We can peek into the mitochondria of a cell with an electron microscope. We are able to shuffle and manipulate genes inside the nucleus. We can even observe structures, movement and relationships of the atoms we are made of. All these are creative acts, but the mystery of creating life itself remains a mystery. Or does it? Even though we humans do the “creating,” in the way I see it, all creativity actually comes from somewhere else. In my opinion, it comes from that deep place within our heart where we feel love. For me it is God’s love. I believe that Love, that source of creativity, can be imprinted in anybody’s heart, because our ability to create is given to us on purpose. For this reason, we should not only invest in our children’s creativity, but we also should not give up on our own.

On the contrary, we should consider becoming creative in shaking our live’s stagnant areas. Accepting being complacent inhibits our multi-dimensional (emotional, mental, spiritual) growth. Why not observe the world and especially those people around us, including our family and ourselves, and find creative ways to improve. Sometimes we need to move. Sometimes we need to change jobs. Sometimes we need to finish work earlier to witness the miracle of football practice or cub scout pack meeting. Don’t let the fire die out. Use it! Let’s become creative and make our lives better and our world a better place.

 

Piotr Ulmer established CTS Physical Therapy in 2001. A native of Warsaw, Poland, he received his Master of Rehabilitation degree from that city’s Academy of Sports in 1991. He formerly served as the director of an outpatient physical therapy clinic in Clarksville, TN and as a Sports Medicine Physical Therapist in Knoxville before starting CTS Physical Therapy.

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