Friday, February 29, 2008

The Impact of Illness on Creativity

Nothing impacts the creative process like having one's internal CPU ravaged by some form of stressor. Whether one is battling a major illness, stress-induced crucible from work or family issues, or just plain exhaustion; remaining creative in crisis comes down to a few key points. You are either guided by a built-in desire to create, or you are just not that interested. Nothing wrong with either approach, but if creativity means productivity to you, then having an internal push can be a life-giving form of coping.

In my own instance, battling head and neck cancer, the treatment itself, consisting of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation can really suppress the life force. It is all the body can do to maintain a semblance of balance and cognition. The powerful chemical cocktails and invasive treatments can rob the ability to think coherently, get around and interact with the world.

Personally speaking, I find that after going through the treatments, the urge to do something creative (outside of basic survival) is a strong signal of surviving. The urge to go towards life and work on a creative project recirculates energy back in. It helps to think about other things than the treatment and somehow give thanks by being involved in life outside personal discomfort. Here are a few points that have a made a difference in the process:

1.If you can't physically get out your paints and canvas, your laptop or your guitar, meditate on the process of creating on those mediums.This is kind of like envisioning eating the pizza before you make it or order it, kind of gets the juices flowing toward your end result.

2.Don't be harsh on yourself for not putting in an extra effort. After all, you are dealing with something so stressful or life distracting that it has also stopped other activity. Just go easy and dip your toes in the pool, don't flog yourself for not diving in.

3.Be happy at the results you do come up with- you can always come back later and add to it or reshape the result if you feel the need to advance on the project.

4.Try and share what you have created with someone who may benefit from it. Hey, it shows you are thinking about more than just what is ailing you and helps to connect you to the world and to life.

Take any thoughts and encounters you have and write them in a journal for future use. When you are feeling better, you will have a nice repository of ideas that you can expand on and use to benefit the world and yourself. Cheers!

Find out more about head and neck cancer

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff AP - Definite food for thought and hot soup for the soul! Thanks for caring and sharing!



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