Living Creatively

Allissa - San Rafael
Entered on February 23, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

What inspires me to live this mysterious life is beauty. Whether it is the comfort of a close friend, or the wonder of an immense tree, I see and feel beauty. It is these brief moments of appreciation that drive me to look for beauty within my own self. I believe that this is achieved by the expression of art.

In many ways I am an insecure person. My inability to ignore that I am living in a society that looks down upon sensitivity and admires control, power and perfectionism often pushes me to my limits. Sensitivity gives me strength and makes me kind, but it also causes me to worry and feel inadequate. I descend to a dark, unsatisfying place that I have created to protect myself from the reality that I am not “good enough” unless I excel at ideals and expectations that aren’t even my own. But when I feel the caress of a lover, or glance at a sky full of billions of glowing stars, I am lifted out of this scary place and recognize the beauty that exists. I begin to understand that despite human’s tendency to be afraid, shallow, and hurtful, there is still beauty instilled in us all, and we all are connected no matter what are differences might be. At these points I can be happy because I believe I am part of world that is beautiful.

When I see a painting that speaks to me, I am reminded again of this unity among beings. I might not know who painted the painting, yet it is his or her expression of something that came from within, and for the both of us it is beautiful. When I write in my journal I write the thoughts that are consciously going through my mind. This allows me to reflect and discover an understanding so I can let go and forgive. It is the same result when I pick up a paintbrush and attempt to capture the pureness, the simplicity, and the every imperfection of a flower. If I feel satisfied with a sketch or painting it is a release. If I find a song that I enjoy, I feel content. These moments allow the walls that I have built around my heart to weaken so I can open up to feel and to be present. To actively be creative requires reflection, meditation, and the ability to let go of pain or passion that can otherwise lead to suffering. In contrast, when I am uninspired I might find myself hating life, hating myself for not understanding it, for not mastering it or for not knowing everything there is to know. To some these worries can lead to suicide; others might choose to develop obsessive tendencies or numb themselves with drugs, food or TV. But to express myself artistically requires me to live, for an hour or so, without these hurtful tendencies. I experience something real, and then I am able to admire the beauty that is in my life.

I trust in the ability to express and experience life artistically, whether it is through music, literature, design, sculpture … Art is defined to encompass all activates enjoyed for the beauty they create so this list can go on endlessly. I know if I live creatively I am choosing to live in a place outside of the darkness. Here my heart is open to love and compassion and I can accept myself in this world.