I'm not using my
full creative capacity

When I was a kid, when I was first learning how to write, I used to beg my dad to show me how to write new words. I’d bring a piece of paper and ask him how to spell things like love, sister, house, etc., and run to my room with it. I was the house mailman, you see. I would write letters to everyone in my family and put them in a bag and walk around the house and ‘deliver the mail’. 

By age seven, I started to become the class keener when it came to spelling. It was one of the only subjects I was good at and I really took pride in this fact. 

The borderline obsession with writing continued through high school. It was in my grade 11 english class that my teacher said I should consider a career in journalism. 

I loved writing. In school. In cards. Poems. Stories. Writing helped me connect with people around me, but also to myself and to emotions I couldn’t express any other way. 

In college I always did really well on anything that required creative writing or presentations. I was always nominated to be the editor of group assignments and my peers often came to me to review their stuff. Maybe it’s the Virgo in me, but I am very analytical and can zero in on details. 

I’m telling you these short stories because I evidently have a lot of evidence that I’ve always been creative and live a creative life. I’ve pursued it personally and professionally. When I go too long without creating something — a piece of writing, a visual, an outfit, I feel completely off. I feel depleted and itchy. 

You see, as humans, we are creators. We are the creation and the creators. It is our natural state. What we create is specific to the person but we are all meant to be creating new things. A problem I feel a lot is that our modern life caters to consumption. We watch, listen to, read, and are bombarded by information, visual and otherwise. We are almost always in consumption mode. On a typical day, I will wake up and listen to mantras, then I listen to music or read on the way to work, in addition to viewing ads on the street and in the tube, I go to work and read emails, view videos, read news websites, I might go somewhere after work and see more things, I go home and listen to music while I cook dinner, or watch TV, or I call friends and listen to stories, and in between I’m on Instagram viewing endless amounts of photos and videos, reading captions. The switching between phone and laptop is also a mind vacuum in and of itself. 

Something needs to balance out. In yoga we call it balancing the prana (life force energy) with the apana (regulates the outward flow of prana). This yogic concept has taught me a lot about the importance of becoming aware of how much we consume — not just information — but energies. By becoming aware and taking notice of how much I take in throughout the day and how much I clear out, I started to feel more balanced. 

Lately I have fallen into the false narrative that I don’t have time to blog. To sit and write, not for work and money, but for me. For the sheer joy of it. I’ve felt so tired for the past few months, that I had forgotten to tap into the things that provide me with sustained energy and joy. It may partially be due to the fact that we are being sold an idea of where our energy should come from and what it looks like to recharge. 

It may partially be due to the fact that we are being sold an idea of where our energy should come from and what it looks like to recharge. Media tells us that we need to slow down, watch TV, take a day off and do nothing, to relax and recharge. The message is so strong that I’ve forgotten that I personally don’t get energy from watching TV, I don’t get energy from taking naps, I don’t feel better when I turn down plans or refrain from doing extra activities in the evening. The older I get, the more I learn how my particular machine works. I get energy from creating. I get it from seeing people and nurturing relationships. I get energy from moving my body. I get energy from learning new things. 

So here I am, creating. For me, writing feels good. It feels natural and free. I’ve created all my life. At this point, I have a body of work — professional and otherwise — that I’m quite proud of. And yet, when I’m in a meeting at work, or considering my career goals, I hesitate to go for what I know I truly want. 

In my head, creative work is reserved for legends. The celebrities, the creative directors, the start-up founders, the supremely gifted and talented. I focus so hard on what they have created and compare it to what I have created. But the only difference is they have been very honest about themselves being creative. They own this part of their identity and they’re shameless. They create to create, not to affirm anything. 

Nature is the ultimate creation and it teaches us how to accept our gifts and embrace what we are. Do you think nature questions it's creativity? It is the creation. 

I’m not there yet, but I have been on a journey this year to exploring my creative self. I’m becoming more and more aware of times when I turn down creative opportunities or play down my abilities. Being a small fish in a big pond, I often feel like I haven’t earned my stripes yet. And maybe I haven’t, but limiting myself isn’t going to get me those stripes very fast. 

To a certain degree, I know I’m not alone. I think our creative capacity as a human species is limitless. And inherently I know this, but I too am part of the current that is swimming upstream of our natural creativity. Part of me believes if we all put our creative minds together, we could solve many of the world’s problems. We need to release our conditioned beliefs that we are limited, that we aren’t creative, that we aren’t capable. Because I don’t think we are using our creativity to our full capacity. I know I’m not. 

But I just created something. I wrote this post instead of watching TV. And I feel alive. 

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