Saturday, November 22, 2014
FROM THE DARKNESS COMES THE LIGHT OF CREATIVITY
The door is left open, nightlight is turned on yet it didn't deter the occasional a jump into the parent’s bed in the middle of the night. Have you been there? If you are a parent, of course you have. You’re also familiar with the words, “I’m afraid of the dark.” “Why be afraid of the dark?” we try to reason with the frightened toddler. But how can you reason with someone who has seen a mountain lion poke its head out of the closet or felt the monster under the bed. The noises heard from the dinosaur outside the window have the covers pulled all the way up only revealing two eyeballs searching the room.
Recently I read a quote, “Creativity, like human life itself begins in darkness.” This to me proved to be profound because, we have never been more creative than when we were little kids in the dark. There laying in our bed, the darkness of night around us, we created monsters with multiple eyes and sharp teeth. Ghosts hid in the corner and the alligators on the floor almost daring us to get out of bed. As we got older we began reasoning and what we had created had become a shirt on a hanger or a pair of shoes barely under the bed. As we got older the fear of darkness dissipated as did our creativity.
After reading that quote I began to think about the darkness and why we were so creative then. Outside of just plan paranoia, which I might add most kids don’t have, I think there are 3 reasons why were more creative in the dark. If we can reacquaint ourselves with the darkness perhaps creativity will reign once again in our minds. We have forgotten about the mountains we conquered, the robbers we caught and the sword fights we experienced. Perhaps, we can once again, be creative.
In the darkness there is quiet. When you laid there in your bed, you would hear every growl of the monsters and the click of their claws against the floor. All because the quiet drew your attention to every sound and you had no other option than figure out what it was, those monsters. There is a benefit to the stillness of the night (or morning) which permits you to hear your thoughts. If you want to get in touch with your creativity again, mark out a time where you can just be quiet. Perhaps it’s on you back deck with a cup of coffee as the birds sings. Maybe you have to wait till the kids are actually down for the night before there is a stillness for you. Whatever it is, you need to find it. Even the Bible gives value to the stillness and quietness. It’s when Elijah was finally not distracted by the noise and commotion that he heard the voice of God, in just a whisper (1 Kings 19:9-12).
The fear comes in the darkness when we lay there alone. Mom would tuck her little man into bed then leave and there he would be by himself. Sometimes even the bedtime story wouldn't work, often feeding into our thoughts as we lay there with no one around but the monsters. A lot can be said about finding some time where there are no distractions. Nothing but you and your thoughts running wherever they may. Each morning I awake before everyone else (or at least I try), grab my pen and pad then write whatever is in my head, free-writing (not typing on my computer) three pages each day. I have written jokes, articles, have had ideas for TV shows and been very creative when it’s just me. Not to mention all the ‘To Do’ and grocery lists I have created. But it’s more about capturing my thoughts, its unleashing a flow of creativity which allows me to explore areas otherwise pushed aside or not even seen due to the distractions around me.
The third reason we were more creative in the darkness was because we used our imagination. While we laid there engulfed with darkness, we saw what wasn't there. We would hear sounds and then imagined what they were. They were real to us, those monsters under the bed and dinosaurs outside the window. We just knew once we were tucked in for the night our floors turned in moats or lakes filled with kid eating alligators. But it only happened when it was dark and we saw them with our mind’s eye, our imagination. Then we got older and our imagination grew dimmer as more light of reality shown on it. We just forgot our bed was actually a ship floating in the ocean and our cap guns would protect us from any danger.
The next time the lights go out and you are blanketed with darkness don’t be afraid. Instead, use the light of creativity to open a whole new world.