“Why should we all use our creative power…? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.” Brenda Ueland
Soul Strong Society is an arts and health initiative which places creativity at the core of all;
What is creativity? Elizabeth Gilbert calls it ‘big magic’. Ken Robinson talks about creativity being a ‘process of having original ideas that have value’.
- A process which can be developed and taught.
- Original…not necessarily original to the world, but a new idea for ourselves.
- And value? Whose values? Does this feel right? Is this what I really mean to make, do or say?
Creativity is a process of defining our personal truth, that feeling of harmony when we say, YES, that is it, that is what I wanted to create.
The act of being creative is fundamental not just to arts, but all endeavours which stem from the human intellect. Our ability to see opportunity and new ideas depends largely on our ability to be creative. In this way, creativity is fundamentally important in all aspects of life – our work, the way we interact with others, the way we approach problems and challenges;
“You create your life, and you can recreate it, too. In times of economic downturn and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to look deep inside yourself to fathom the sort of life you really want to lead and the talents and passions that can make that possible.” – Ken Robinson
“We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way.” John Holt
Learning to tango, make a table, sing a song, bake a cake…this is all practice-based work. If we are lucky enough to experience a dance with an Aboriginal person of Australia we are in the presence of an incredibly complex and meaningful body intelligence that has been passed from one generation to the next for over 60,000 years.
Practice-based work increases embodied knowledge. In the act of riding a bike, there is no need to represent in the mind all the procedures required. The intelligence arises from one’s body. The knowing subject is the minded-body or embodied-mind.
Full-body education and the recognition of practice-based knowledge has many consequences for personal, community and environmental wellbeing;
- How we educate our children…“We are human creatures that live in bodies. It seems a simple thing to point out, but if we all exercise regularly, eat and sleep properly, our sense of vitality and achievement is naturally enhanced. If you sit kids down day after day indoors at desks, doing what often amounts to low-grade clerical work, then don’t be surprised if they fidget, don’t achieve a great deal and don’t feel very good about themselves.” Ken Robinson
- Values placed around career and worth of different professions…who decides the intellectual lawyer should be paid more than the skilled truck-driver? Have you ever tried to reverse a semi trailer?!
- Disconnecting from the body through long hours sitting indoors watching screens, has been associated with “nature deprivation”. Nature deprivation is linked with depression and the loss of empathy and altruism for people, animals and the environment.
By exploring embodied knowledge through the practice of movement and creativity we investigate and come to know our body-mind. We gain understanding of the fact that how we act with our body affects our consciousness, cognition, perception, language and social awareness. As Indian dancer, choreographer and Kalari artist Chandralekha explains, through practice-based explorations, we are ‘simply walking toward ourselves’.
“If all you had was academic ability, you wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed this morning. In fact, there wouldn’t have been a bed to get out of. No one could have made one. You could have written about the possibility of one, but not have constructed it.” Ken Robinson