For Tyson and J. S.
I write here about creativity, about finding ourselves, about expressions of self. Indeed the last post was about the time we spend in solitude, the time spent alone, in order to create. Creativity can sometimes seem a very egocentric thing, and indeed, it does require a bit of selfishness to accomplish. However, I am reminded today that the most important thing we can create are connections.
Every time we create something, be it a sketch, a painting, a dress, an afghan, a story, a song, we release a part of ourselves into the world. We are asking people to know us, to “get” us. When we hope that people “like” what we post, we ask them to acknowledge us. Even when the art is controversial, or perhaps especially so, there is a clamor for attention, for interaction. Humans are social animals. Our creativity, in whatever form it takes, allows us to engage with those around us. In some ways it is oxymoronic in that this deeply personal expression can act as a gate keeper. We can both express ourselves and hold others at bay through the medium of our art and our reaction to others’ reactions. Yet, in the long run, we want to drop those barriers and connect. Connections feed us as much as our creativity does.
Have you noticed, I’m sure you have, how much of Facebook and other social media sites are inundated with animal pictures–cats especially, but dogs too, and other species? We humans are addicted to watching dogs and cats snuggling, bears saving ducklings, puffins falling down and sliding. Why do you suppose that is?
My thought, my answer, is because animals don’t judge. As much as we need our creativity to fulfill a human part of our soul’s being, animals allow us to be. We do not need to create for them. They will cuddle up whether we’ve finished our painting or not. They will prance and wag their tails whether or not we’ve written the next chapter. They will sing, bark, mew even when we could not think of dragging out the sewing machine. Our animals are specials gifts to our creativity. They are the rechargers of our batteries. They offer us open, unconditional love in exchange for a kibbles, bits, and an honest, loving petting. And when it comes their time to go, if they can, they wait until the loving arms of their human parents can birth them into their next world. We feel the great grief of their loss, but the memory of their lives can continue to calm us. And this in turn feeds the human creativity within us.
These wonderful beings do another amazing thing. They connect us to each other. We group ourselves sometimes by species: cat people, dog people. We meet friends at the dog run. We share stories and photos of our animals with new friends. We call our friends animals by name; they do the same with ours. And when one is lost, we commiserate.
Rest in Peace Tyson. God Bless.