Monday, March 11, 2013
I blogged a few days ago about how awesome self-imposed limits can be when it comes to creativity. So what happens when the limits aren't self-imposed? It's one thing to choose to work with 1" square pieces of paper; it's another thing entirely to be forced to work with 1" squares because it's all we've got.
The limit can be money, or time, or space, or materials. No money to buy any good brushes. Only ten minutes a day to make stuff. My "studio" is a folding table my bedroom. Can't find the shade of blue I always use.
Last year, to deal with chronic health problems, I was given some limits regarding what I could eat:
No grains - yeah, no corn, no oats.
No processed sugar and minimal natural sugars.
No legumes, no beans, no peanuts.
No oils from processed grains or grasses - canola, safflower, out.
Minimal alcohol and caffeine.
What did that leave?
Nuts and seeds.
Fruits and vegetables.
Oils from fruits and nuts (olive oil, coconut oil)
Lean, unprocessed meat.
Oh yeah. I put up a fuss. And then . . . something shifted.
It started to be fun. I was exploring books on eating Paleo, searching grain-free recipes on line, finding ways to eat more vegetables, adapting recipes, using my food processor like a madwoman, discovering new Portland restaurants with me-friendly menus . . . in short, I took on cooking and eating as a creative challenge.
Most of my creative energy last year went into learning how to cook - and eat - all over again. And yeah, my health is better now. I still have chronic challenges with fatigue, but the symptoms are way more manageable now and I've identified and cut out a lot of the things that triggered the problems in the first place. Generally, I've even been able to stick with it.
I don't share this because I'm looking for dietary solutions and health fixes (there are plenty of other folks blogging about that!).
I share this story because it proved to me that it really is possible to re-frame the limits not as excuses, but as questions, questions that lead to creative thinking. The limits - whether they're self-imposed or thrust upon us by necessity - can serve as a starting point rather than a stop sign.
Consider any of the limits that keep you from creating or making art - how might you change those limits into a question that challenges your creativity instead?
Posted by Bridget Benton at 2:00 PM