Does Our Creativity Really Have To Be Special?

Does Our Creativity Really Have To Be Special?

Last spring, my husband Dan and I went to London to do an exhibit at The Tate Museum. We had another show in Bordeaux the day before at their opera house, but we were most excited about The Tate. Showing his work in the ginormous Turbine Hall has been one of Dan’s lifelong dreams.

After an early morning flight and lunch with our assistants from Portugal, we sweated our way to the Tate’s Turbine Hall.

After setting up the fans that were an integral part of the exhibit, we quickly realized that they set off a great draft that would make the fabrics fly away.

We had no idea what to do. People were arriving in 30 minutes and we were afraid we would have to shut down the whole show.

I started moving fans around in a panic, which caused even more chaos because I was placing them haphazardly…

Dan was about ready to give up.

But, at that point, his stellar assistant, Roger, who had a bit of distance that gave him perspective, stepped up and fixed the problem enough so that we could go on!

Exhausted and tired from so much stress and anxiety and so little sleep, we snuck out of the museum, left Roger who gratefully offered to cover, and went to have dinner at the Shakespeare’s Globe restaurant around the corner.

While we were having a glass of wine and eating zucchini fries, we couldn’t help but think about the way we’d thought the show at the opera house in Bordeaux couldn’t compare to the show at the Tate. But Bordeaux was so much better.

I thought to myself, that was a real lesson.

Sometimes, our dreams don’t turn out the way we hope. And sometimes, something else better comes along that teaches you something. It makes you appreciate the power of letting go… to remain open to surprises, to stay curious, and explore the uncharted.

We were tired that night at the restaurant. It was a three-day weekend of work in two different countries, with jet lag and many hours working around the clock. And, as we grabbed a romantic moment to ourselves, I was grateful for both experiences—including the highs and the lows.

My video, How To Not Be Hard On Yourself, is all about when we try to make something special whether it’s a New Year’s Eve on the town, a romantic Valentine’s dinner, or that birthday cake you’re baking.

We want the big imagined moment to be beautiful. We want it to be lovely. We want it to be outstanding.

Sometimes, it is. Sometimes it all works out the way we planned and foresaw. And, sometimes, it doesn’t. And we’re grown up enough to know that that’s how life works out—even if we feel disappointed.

When we get caught up making our creation into the most significant, special, important thing, we’re controlling it. Control takes us out of spontaneity and creative freedom. The tension itself can ruin the experience or add unnecessary stress.

May we embrace all of the good and the bad and trust creativity knows what’s best for us!