The Gifts for an Emerging World compilation is a powerful collection of contributors' visions of how we can, individually and collectively, bring our gifts to bear to lead and transform generations of ecological disconnection—spanning dimensions physical and non-physical—into an emerging future of intra- and inter-species harmony and collaboration for all beings on this planet, and beyond.
Credit for this amazing project goes to Jan Provoost, Jennifer Harvey Sallin and Karin Eglinton, who devoted huge chunks of their time and energy in 2020 to birthing this, and last but not least, to the many contributors who shared so deeply and intimately of their hearts and souls, hopes and dreams for our shared future with our planet, and all beings upon and within.
I read the book Play, by Stuart Brown (the same one referenced in Jennifer Harvey Sallin’s essay on Play earlier in this compilation), and this book along with several other resources and reflections let me to discover that I’d been understanding myself all wrong, and that I was living backwards as it related to my giftedness. For years, I thought I was an intellectual dominant, when really I was a somatic-sensual × creative dominant. Ah, do forgive the technical terminology here—I am a giftedness assessor after all! For those of you unfamiliar with the jargon, this means that my dominant modalities of experience and expression take place through embodied imagination. You can learn more at InterGifted's What is Giftedness? page).
And as a giftedness assessor and coach for gifted adults, I can tell you that I know for certain I am not alone in this giftedness self-misunderstanding. Because of trauma, or because of convention, we can end up minimizing, ignoring or even actively sabotaging our most natural giftedness expression—effectively shutting down our highest capacity for creative engagement and play.
Yet if we gifted people are going to contribute to helping form the emerging world into one that is friendly for our thriving, we need (and deserve) access to our highest creative capacities. So, I decided to share my story of creative reawakening with you, in all its tenderness, as a simple roadmap for how any of us—even the most disconnected of us all—can start the process of reconnecting with and reawakening our creative agency and full engagement in our developing world.
In my explorations, I had to define creativity for myself, in terms that make sense to me, my experience and process. I currently define creativity as the impulse to express and capture the experience of play in tangible form, for the pure fun and pleasure of it. In other words, creativity is the Do to the Be of play. The joyful and pleasurable impulse to capture a tangible snapshot of the joy and pleasure of play. Playing with play! Meta-play!
Here are the steps I took to start to embody that definition as a daily lived experience and reality:
Identify and work through wounding with a gifted somatic therapist.
Along the way, we uncovered many different aspects of wounding that were locking up and blocking my innate ability to tap into my natural wellsprings of resources. Over time, we worked through them one by one and I was supported to re- integrate each one in a loving compassionate way.
As this happened, more and more intrinsic flow naturally opened up in my system that allowed for spontaneous healing to occur on multiple other levels and dimensions without my direct intervention. And slowly, I began to feel different. Freer. Lighter. I had more space for curiosity of a different kind. Sensual curiosity. Imaginative curiosity. Play didn’t seem like such a painful thing anymore. I started to feel the impulse to, metaphorically, bounce like a happy baby goat, and follow that impulse I did!
Follow the impulse. Titrate the impulse.
I started by first spending days, sometimes weeks, just feeling and acknowledging the experience of impulse, but not acting on it yet. I started a new journal practice, where I would talk about the impulse, and discuss my experience of it to myself, exploring it and letting it gently settle into my body. Over time, the impulses started to come together organically and harmonically into a clear signal of inspiration. I suddenly knew what I wanted to do, how to start, and what tools I needed.
I made a gift of an iPad to myself as a start, to honour this new phase of my journey. That was the first and strongest impulse to come through, to equip myself with the right tools, that best suit my needs, to take myself to the next level of this process. Then I followed the harmonic impulse some more to equip myself with the apps I needed. Journalling and sketching apps soon filled my iPad’s screen and I started to explore the use of each one, bit by bit, every day. I started a new digital handwritten journal and continued my journal practice there, from my previous digital text journal app. I played with the different brush types, sizes and colours and soon I had a colourful digital journal filled with all manner of daily scribblings.
Today, I often spend time just flipping through previous entries, simply because it is such a joy and entertaining for me to look at now. This has added yet another layer of benefit, because now that I have a reason to look through my journals for the pure joy and pleasure of it, I have been unintentionally going through past insights over and over and in doing so, they have been cementing themselves in my body and mind in a way that I was never able to derive the benefit from my journals before. Bonus!
I’d always loved handwritten scripts, from any culture, in any language. I loved looking at them, I loved watching people do them and I fully confess to having watched countless calligraphy time lapses on Instagram! I love to hand write, which is a mildly amusing thing to admit, seeing as I am such a digital girl at heart! Yet there is something about the tactile connection between medium, tool, thought and self that always feels so soothing and clarifying. In particular, I adore cursive handwriting. It is so beautiful on the eye. I always wanted to write like that but I never gave myself the permission, time and space to explore practicing cursive handwriting. Not to mention I was not supported in my inclination in childhood or young adulthood at all, as investing time and effort in handwriting was judged as a completely pointless pursuit!
Now that I had my iPad, I began downloading different cursive handwriting practice and drill sheets for Procreate and away I went! I soon discovered that I am particular about the look and feel of the handwriting style I wanted to cultivate. After diving through several different scripts, I finally settled on learning Spencerian and Copperplate, which is technically a calligraphic script, to develop my own personal cursive style from. It’s been just under a month and I’m pretty happy with what I have so far!
In the process of allowing myself to deep dive into the possibility of cultivating beautiful cursive handwriting, I also finally opened myself up to the big, wide world of calligraphy, instead of just remaining a shadow admirer from a distance. I spend most mornings now just doing a couple of calligraphy practice and drill sheets on my iPad, just for the fun and pleasure of it. I don’t even have the objective or passion to become a calligrapher per se. I love the feeling of moving tool across surface, specifically Apple Pencil across iPad screen, feeling my hand relax into and the arm muscles strengthen to support the flow of digital ink and script. It is very meditative.
I had a complex relationship with drawing because on the rare occasions in my childhood and young adulthood that I had produced drawings and shared those with people, I was stunned by the often sudden and unexpected criticism, humiliation, even undertones of envy, and I responded reflexively with shame and recoiling deeper into myself.
Recently, I felt the impulse arise, so I followed it. However, I felt immediately overwhelmed, so I titrated the process tenderly. I allowed myself to simply carry my iPad everywhere without the pressure or the need to draw. I let myself play with the zillion brush options in Procreate without the obligation to create anything “arty”. I scribbled tiny doodles in black and white. If I felt overwhelmed at drawing something, I simply took a photograph instead, and took it home to trace. I was soon downloading random images from Pexels to trace and color in because it felt so good and fun to do so to play with the use of line and colour without the expectation of “a good work”.
Creativity grows with you.
I used to write poems copiously as a child. I stopped some time in my late teens for reasons I cannot recall and I hadn’t written a poem since. Last week, I was having a conversation with a few close friends and the conversation turned to poetry and there was an invitation to share poems together. Admittedly, behind the privacy of my computer screen, I froze for a second. I felt completely inadequate.
Then the spirit of the creativity practice that I’d been engaging with for the past few weeks and months filled my being with the sense of nourishing and playful curiosity, and I opened an empty text draft and with eyes gentle and relaxed, read the poem that someone had already shared. The first line gripped my attention and I typed it out. I immediately heard a second line pop up in my body and head, almost as if it were dictated. Without questioning it, I typed it out too. Before I knew it, a poem had fallen out of me, or fallen into me as it were. Thus began hours of riotous poetic fun between myself and my dear friends, as deep, hilarious, intimate and insanely on point verses flew between continents and time zones deep into the night (for me).
Creativity is like a skill, yet I hesitate to use the word “practice”, as that adds an air of solemnity and effort that couldn’t be further from the spirit of what I am describing and have experienced.
There is no goal to creativity. Or if there is, it is solely to experience the fun and pleasure of taking an intangible experience of fun and pleasure and capturing it into a tangible experience or format. In play and creativity, we allow ourselves to not know. We allow ourselves to be complete beginners and we completely indulge in the delight—even silliness!—of being a beginner again, with completely open-ended new worlds and possibilities to explore and build, just because we want to.
The more we “do” it, yet not from a space of “doing” but rather from a state of “being”, we get better at “doing” the physical “do” aspects of creativity from a “be” space of flow. And that flow then also flows into other dimensions and domains of our life and experience.
I have observed the benefits of my creative experience flow into many different areas of my personal and professional life, contributing to areas as simple as housework and gardening, to tasks as involved as writing and coaching, as well as health and relationships.
Creativity was and still is, for me, a journey of profound self- care and self-love. It is being the infinitely patient and encouraging parent and mentor, as well as playful and enthusiastic peer and friend, for myself that I never had. Most importantly, it has reopened my ability to connect, interact and co-create with the many dimensions of my being, and that of the multiple other dimensions of Earth, human and non-human, seen and unseen, and I am discovering and exploring more every day.